One of the primary motivators of stepping into the world of work is the promise of financial reward. When we dream about the type of work we will do one day, we can’t help thinking about the money we will earn and what we will be able to make happen in our lives.
Just like getting into a new relationship, we can never really plan how things will work out. So once we start earning a salary, we are faced with responding to a new aspect of life: adulthood. This is the point were we begin to take on new levels of responsibility and have to make new financial choices for the first time based on a new level of power.
With great freedom, comes great responsibility. And most of us didn’t have the right financial guidance and role modelling to start out with a positive and grounded financial outlook. I’ve made massive mistakes in my 20s the financial hole just keep getting deeper and deeper until eventually I had to face reality in my early 30s and do the hard work of shifting my sabotaging financial habits.
In this video, I outline the three keys I wish I knew in my 20s that would have hopefully helped me shift my negative behaviour sooner.
1. Know what your heart is crying out for: where our heart is, our money follows. Think about what you’ve spent your money on over the past three months – you will no doubt notice patterns that indicate that what you think you’re spending your money on is not what you’re really spending your money on.
2. Know what your values are: we can so easily fall into a societal narrative of what we’re “supposed” to do and have. Something as simple as getting your first car is laden with unknowns, like how much the car will actually cost with the interest added, additional charges that are in the fine print, the actual costs of maintenance that is often not taken into account, etc
You will need to determine what is valuable to you in order to make decisions that are right for you. Buying a car that is affordable, investing as soon as you start earning your first salary – those are the things that will help to secure a strong foundation that your older self will thank you for.
3. Be ok with others not being ok with your choices: Our 20s are are a time of figuring things out, of carving out our identity, of finding our place in the world. The process is different for everyone but at some point, we need to lives our lives on our own terms and not be subject to the opinions of others.
A little debt today could end up being a heavy burden tomorrow. Use your 20s to build your future, not take away from it.
Work week reflection question: Is my current financial habits building a solid future? Am I controlling my money or is my money controlling me?