Looking back over the last ten years there were many things I did right and a lot of things I did wrong! These are the six most important things that I’ve learned about money in my twenties.
Money is a Tool – Nothing More, Nothing Less
The most important thing I’ve learned over the past ten years is that money is simply a tool. It’s nothing more it’s nothing less.
Having money isn’t what makes you happy. However, managing your money in a way that aligns with your personal goals can bring true happiness. On the flipside mismanaging your money and living paycheck to paycheck can make you miserable.
Keeping Up with Joneses is a Trap
Spending money to impress other people and feeling the need to keep up is one huge money trap and only leads to irresponsible spending and stress.
If you scroll through your Facebook feed you can easily see how this can be a problem. You need to nip this in the bud and concentrate on what will make you truly happy. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.
Consumer Debt Isn’t Worth It
While this is similar to the “keeping up with the Joneses” I wanted to reiterate just how stressful taking out consumer debt really is.
Having payments for stuff that you once thought you needed, but no longer care about, will bring so much stress to your life. Avoid consumer debt like the plague.
Investing Is Easier Than You Think
It is so important to get started investing at a young age but most people avoid it thinking that it’s too complicated. The truth is investing is only as complicated as you want it to be.
In the day and age we live in saving and investing for retirement really only takes a couple of clicks. There’s no reason not to invest – even if you can only start with $20 a month.
You Need Solid Financial Goals
Without solid financial goals you won’t be able to really optimize your finances.
When you have nothing that you are working toward it doesn’t really matter what you do with your money. I can look back over the last ten years and see that the times I didn’t have concrete financial goals were the times where I poorly managed my money.
Make sure you have goal that matter to you!
There’s Always Something to Be Learned
When it comes to money there’s always something to be learned and continuing education is important! It’s funny though, financial lessons can come from the places you least expect.
So while continuing to learn how to better manage your money is crucial that doesn’t mean you have to dish out big bucks for fancy seminars or programs. Just be aware of the financial lessons all around you.
Those are my main financial takeaways from twenties. Hopefully I can report to you in another ten years and let you know the lessons the next decade brings!
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.