Financial Advice For My 20 Year Old Self

If you could go back in time what would you tell yourself? I’d have a long, long list. It would include things like…

  1. That guy you think is so special is actually not special at all. You will find one that is much, much better. Just give it time and be patient.
  2. Today’s concerns won’t be the same as tomorrow’s. You think that’s a big deal now, but in the future you won’t even remember why you were concerned about it.

I’d also provide myself with a few financial tidbits including…

  1. When you’re young you won’t mind having roommates. So find a big group house and pay as little in rent as possible for the first year or two out of college.
  2. Drive that old, rusted out station wagon for as long as possible and when you do buy a new car find one with a great resale value.
  3. Work really hard as soon as you graduate from college. You won’t feel guilty about working, since you don’t have kids or a husband yet and you can learn an amazing amount of things if you set your mind to it. Those hours will pay off kindly with big raises and bonuses. Odds are your starting salary will be low so putting in extra time now will really boost your overall pay quickly.
  4. Interview. Interview. Interview. Always know what your skills are and how much you can get paid in the open market. Even if you are happy in your job take the time to look elsewhere. It’s important to know how much you are worth and what other opportunities are out there.
  5. Think wisely about how to spend the money you make. Save up for the things that are important. If you want to travel cut back on clothing and dinners out with friends. Your life passes quickly and it’s important to set your short and long term goals and revisit them often. Some things are easier to accomplish when you are young and have fewer responsibilities, so think hard about this list.

What about you? If you could go back in time what would you tell yourself about money and/or life? This post is part of Women’s Money Week 2012. For more posts see the Money in Your Life Roundup.

6 thoughts on “Financial Advice For My 20 Year Old Self”

  1. My conversation with my twenty year old self would be the same. Except #4, I actually did that a lt in my 20’s even when I didn’t need the job. It helped me practice my interviewing skills. The guys talk is definitely true!

  2. I’m in my mid 20’s and I probably don’t have authority over your wise words, but I’m not gonna give up on my three year old relationship – I don’t see how he’s not special =)

    Also, a retiree that came back from her world vacation made me promise her to travel everywhere I want to after I graduated – while I’m still young and able, childless and husbandless. What do you think about that?


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