COMMENT:

Did you know that 20-somethings are the richest generation? That's "richest in time", says Brooke Roberts, chief executive of Sharesies.

Think of it this way. A 25-year-old saving $20 a week in a growth fund with average returns of 6 per cent compounded could have more than $173,000 saved by retirement - compared to just over $40,000 if the same person started the same savings age 45

That's a different narrative to the cup-half-empty one that you sometimes hear from some 20-somethings who think saving is "impossible" or not worth it.

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For those who need anything from a kick start to a financial personality transplant, try these tips to transform a life of hand to mouth to one with financial choices:

Ask how you can do it, not why you can't

If you look for ways to make ends meet or strategies to save you will find them, providing you're truly honest with yourself.

Learn more about money

Kendall Flutey, co-founder of Banqer, which offers financial literacy tools for young people, recommends auditing your social accounts then add in sprinkling of financial advice. "I follow Dave Ramsay, and other #debtfree accounts," says Flutey. Scott Pape's The Barefoot Investor and the related Facebook group are well worth following.

Look for unproductive spending

That could be anything from $6 greetings cards to meals out because you can't be bothered cooking.

Blair Vernon, managing director at AMP, says most 20-somethings have absolutely no idea where their money is going. "One of the greatest challenges people in their 20s face is, the moment they have some capacity to earn, they spend immediately without thinking about whether it's a valuable purchase or not."

Online shopping and services such as layby exacerbate the problem, delivering instant gratification, and suspending the reality of the purchase, says Vernon.

Don't try to impress others

"It's super easy to think you need to have new clothes, new gadgets, and everything else you see others with on social media," says Flutey. "You don't. That's the fastest trap to keeping you financially stagnant."

Have a plan

By having a plan you know what the bigger picture looks like, says Flutey. "If you don't have one, of course you'll be spending all your cash today. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. Get a firm idea of tomorrow so you can stop sabotaging yourself today."

Don't give up before you start

Don't say to yourself: "There's no hope" or "it's too hard", says Roberts. Get started. Save something every week and invest those small savings as soon as you can. KiwiSaver is one option. You can also invest in funds with the likes of Sharesies or InvestNow for $1 to $50 a month. It's not a huge amount and with reinvested dividends the money will begin to compound quickly.

Get excited about saving

"I know it sounds weird, but when I got to that position [being excited about saving] it really changed my mind set for the better," says Flutey. Game yourself into saving more, even if it's just by having a change jar at home to throw coins in every night. Or increase the amount you save by $1 every week.

Vernon says there's a simple, but powerful concept. "Getting your spending under control and having a buffer in your budget as a safety net will mean you can avoid going into debt when the unexpected happens."