My new friend over at SkinnyDip.ca (great blog name – no there’s no naked pictures there ;)) has a guest post series called “Things I’d tell my 20 year old self” where she gets people to, you know, tell things to their past younger selves.
Now usually it’s about life or love or career, or pretty much anything in the world *outside* of money, haha, so I thought I’d steal the idea and run with it on the financial twist. And just like they do with their before/after pictures from their 20s, you’ll see mine above too! Pretty drastic comparison, eh? Luckily though I can still have both ;)
So what would I tell MY self if I traveled back in time 10+ years ago? Well at 20 I wouldn’t have told myself anything having to do with money, haha… that was the last thing on my mind. If it wasn’t about partying or traveling or girls, I wasn’t interested. So there was no convincing me otherwise even IF I were myself going back to convince, errr, myself?
At 23 though it was a whole different story. I had just started my first “proper” job out of the dozens I’ve tried before, and I was finally getting tired of eating frozen burritos and not having a car. So to that version of me, I would have advised the following:
- Start contributing to your 401(k), dummy! Listen to your dad every month when he asks you if you’ve opted into your employer’s plan yet – he’s not calling it free money for nothing! (It would take me almost 2 years to finally do it…)
- Stop xfering money from checking to savings, and then back to your checking again. Have you ever heard of a budget??? ;)
- Don’t feel bad for spending money hanging out with friends and partying. These are the years to do it and have fun! Yeah it sucks you’re almost living paycheck to paycheck, but it’ll only last a year or two until you get that promotion and then get another and another and another. In 10+ years you’ll be working so hard that you’ll miss hanging out with all those guys :(
- It’s okay you’re renting! You don’t need to grow up fast like all your friends and settle down yet – you don’t even LIKE home ownership! It’s not for everyone, regardless of what they’re saying. So just chill out and stop trying to catch up with the “more mature” ones. Your time will come when you buy at the peak of the market and then punch yourself in the face for it, believe me ;)
- Stop shopping when you’re bored. In about 5 years you’ll give it up for Lent and your habit will be changed forever. Go start a new hobby instead! I hear blogging will be popular…
In case you couldn’t tell, I was pretty oblivious to stuff back then. At least when it came to money… I wasn’t ever in hardcore debt or anything, but I certainly wasn’t watching it like a hawk as I am now. Or even tracking it for that matter. And a part of me kinda misses that blissful ignorance! Life’s a lot simpler when you don’t think about your future ;)
Good times, good times…
What would you tell your 20 year old self?
PS: If you’re reading this right now and you’re 20 or younger, YOU ARE A FINANCIAL ROCK STAR!!
PPS: You also MAKE ME FEEL OLD!! :)