Tips for the 20s

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Choose your bank with care; charges and service levels vary hugely.

Stick with your current bank out of a misplaced sense of loyalty; has it earned your custom?

Arrange a cheap overdraft or loan to repay outstanding debts.

Use most credit cards or store cards for borrowing; the cost can be horrendous.

Build up an emergency fund (rainy day money).

Blow it immediately on non-essentials.

Shop around for the best savings account rate.

Assume that account will always have the best rate.

Think about insuring your income against illness, particularly if you are self-employed.

Buy the policy because it's cheaper to buy now than when you're older.

Get adequate life insurance if you've got dependants.

Succumb to a life insurance salesman's patter if you're single.

Use tax breaks where appropriate.

Assume you'll be poverty-stricken in retirement if you don't start saving now.

Consider opting out of the state earnings related pension scheme (Serps).

Opt out if you're earning less than pounds 10,000. In any event, don't opt out without getting advice.

Get independent advice.

Assume that advice will always be in your best interest; a sale normally earns commission.