Lately I’ve been listening to “You Learn” by Alanis Morissette: “You live, you learn. You love, you learn. You cry, you learn. You lose, you learn.”
I think there’s something pretty comforting in knowing that even the biggest mistakes I’m inevitably going to make will turn me into who I’ll be at thirty. In my twenties a few lessons have so far been achieved.
- Come clean about money
It’s easy to say, “Let’s go out. I’ll put it on my card.” It’s hard to muster up the courage to say, “I can’t go out to eat because my ATM is almost out.” But here’s the thing: It’s not right to spend money you don’t have to perpetuate a lie about who you are.
- Give yourself as much as you give of yourself.
Before you spend on anyone else, you need to put away money every single month, until you have an eight-month emergency fund. You need to pay off any debt you have. You need to pay your bills on time. You need to start saving for retirement. Yes, that’s a lot of stuff to check off a list, but it’s important for your financial—and emotional—well-being
- Live below your means but above your needs
If you own a car, and the car works fine, but you want to buy a new car simply because you have the means to do so, don’t! Keep the wheels you have for now. So many young men and women think that if they have any money, they should spend it. And I’ve realized that this is often because they are angry at money.They spend money, thinking, This will make
me feel better. But it won’t unless they’ve saved for it—unless the money is there. Trust me, there’s no better feeling than the pride you’ll experience when you see your bank account growing every month and every year.
- Be your own financial advisor
Here is what every young man and woman needs to understand: Nobody is going to care about your money more than you do. Your financial success directly affects the quality of your life. Not my life, not your financial advisor’s life, not your banker’s life, but your life.