There is no way to predict the future. Many people learn from past mistakes to make decisions in the present in order to try and prepare for the future, but many young people don’t have the benefit of experience to learn from when they are starting to earn an income. Because of this, they can make some big and small mistakes or missteps that can lead to some serious financial issues down the road.

In a recent article in Forbes, the author identifies a few ways that young people can try to avoid or minimize the risks of serious debt problems later in life.

Some of these tips include:

  • Starting and contributing regularly to a savings account, even if it only involves a very small percentage of a paycheck.
  • Build a separate fund for emergency purposes
  • Take credit card payments and spending very seriously and look for cards with opportunities to invest in your future
  • Fight the urge to spend it all right away
  • Create a budget and stick with it

Unfortunately, the reality is that even people who do all these “right” things and try to build good financial habits can end up in trouble. The current economy and employment situation makes it extremely difficult to earn a livable wage and saving or building emergency funds can be all but impossible, especially for people who are also expected to repay huge amounts of student loans.

Further, all the planning in the world may still not be enough if a person’s life takes a difficult turn at some point. Losing a job, getting divorced, having children, needing medical treatment and other huge life events can destroy a person’s financial health and well-being.

Of course it can be wise to make responsible financial decisions, and starting sooner, rather than later, can be best. However, there is no guarantee that money issues will never arise. If and when they do, it can be wise for people to tackle their debt in the same manner that they may have used to build their finances: be thorough, know the options available and establish the priorities.

Further, whether you are just starting off and want to avoid mistakes or you have gotten into some trouble, getting help can be a considerable source of guidance and support.

Source: Forbes, “Don’t Make These Money Mistakes, Millennials,” Alexandra Talty, May 28, 2015