Recently I was talking to a colleague in her 20s and we started to talk about interests. I started to bring up my interests in financial independence, investing, and going on my podcast and audiobook binges related to those subjects.
Throughout this conversation I realized that her financial mentality is exactly the same as it was for me when I was in my 20s. The biggest differences are she did not have the massive amount of student loan debt and she had the luxury of living with her parents right out of school.
Hindsight is 20/20 right? Looking back I remember telling myself that I was young in my 20s and I could think about saving and investing later. What blew my mind is that my colleague literally told me that. It was hard to believe someone actually saying that because it almost validated what I thought back in my 20s.
I am not a financial advisor so the money advice I shared was meant to be simple. I at least hope that my insistence made her think twice about her current financial mindset.
4 simple money advice I shared with my (younger) colleague
Don’t wait to save, start now
- Pretty simple rule, but this is not as obvious as it may seem. The concept of saving was certainly not obvious to me in my 20s. I always heard about paying yourself first. It took a decade out of school before I took this seriously. Now in my mid 30s, this concept of saving is common sense.
- It does not matter if you are living with a roommate, living with your parents, or in your 60s, I do not believe in any kind of excuse about age or wages. In the case of my colleague, her excuse was “I am only in my 20s, I can always start later”. Being able to live with your parents should also be considered a blessing for a variety of reasons. You are more likely to save a ton on rent, groceries, and time (assuming home cooked meals). Take advantage of this time to also put away money so you can enjoy it later.
Contribute to your company 401k or retirement account
- There are numerous pre and post tax benefits by contributing to a retirement account. If you are lucky enough to work for a company that offers a company match 401k up to a certain percentage, then you must contribute to your company 401k up to your company match at a minimum.
Reconsider buying something just because it’s on sale
- I heard this over and over again during my conversation with my colleague. If your favorite Louis Vuitton handbag or Prada shoes has a rare sale for 10% off, you are still spending money. I think Dave Ramsey said it best when he defined maturity as being able to delay gratification by thinking about the long term impact.
Focus on paying off debts
- The example I gave to my colleague was about two different types of debt. The first was about student loans because I had massive amounts to pay back and the second was credit card debt. If you have any kind of debt, one of the most important financial goals is to focus on paying off debt. I learned the hard way by defaulting on my loans and doing other money moron financial mistakes. My colleague lives with her parents so this is an absolute no brainer. You are accumulating so much by default because you are most likely saving on rent, groceries, and most likely time. Having a credit card is not a big deal as long as you are responsible. You need to pay off your credit card every statement and you will be in good shape.