The 5 Biggest Money Mistakes to Make in your 20’s

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The 5 Biggest Money Mistakes to Make in your 20’s

 

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It is common in your 20’s to have peers in different stages in their lives: Some are out partying and living it up on social media, while others are continuing their education and starting a family.

It almost feels like you’re caught in the middle of responsibility and “Yolo-ing” (if that’s even still a thing). One thing that I have learned the hard way is that being young and dumb is expensive.

And while you can always recover from making expensive mistakes when you’re young, there are some that I have made that proved to be more serious than I thought at the time.


Not building a savings plan or emergency fund.

Young adulthood comes with a multitude of changes at a pretty fast rate. You’re starting to pay student loans, buying houses, getting married, traveling, and so much more.

Who wouldn’t agree that most of these things can be pretty pricey lifetime investments? Paying as the checks come in is the fastest way to watch the old bank account reach zero.

My favorite rule of thumb is to save up to 6 months of living expenses, just in case life happens and you lose a job, or have a medical need.

Not taking credit seriously.

Credit. Score. Is. Everything. (Sorry Dave Ramsey).

So why don’t we learn more about credit in high school or college? The truth is, it’s not necessarily imperative that you learn about credit as part of a curriculum to be a financial success. It’s about making the right choices with the transactions that we make, and being able to pay them back.

The big mistake that I made was being care-free in regards to my credit. I didn’t even know what my score was until it was time to rent my first apartment (whoops), And my credit dropped when I didn’t take initiative to get in front of a student loan that went into default.

That brought my score from the mid 700’s to 574! The year and a half that it took for me to repair my credit was soul crushing, but i deserved it.

The takeaway? Be proactive and responsible now, so that you aren’t suffering later. The instant gratification of the debt is not worth the reward of having to deal with any messes later.

Not investing in the stock market earlier.

I cannot stress this enough. The stock market is a money makers playground, and BIGGEST “hidden” secret. If i had known these simple steps  to start up an individual investment account when I was 18, I would be a millionaire right now! It hurts to dwell on the past, but please just get educated on the market, and investing in general fast, so that you can make your money work for you.

I’ve noticed that people are either really engrossed in the market, absolutely skeptic of it, or just do not care to take part. For the ones who are afraid or too lazy (for lack of a better word), This is most likely fueled by misinformation that you have unlimited time, or misinformation from other skeptics.

The price of avoiding the stock market is enumerate, because the average young adult has a little extra time on their side. Waiting to invest is making a sacrifice. You will be sacrificing buying opportunities, dividends, and compound interest. When I placed my measly $500 into the market, it was a big rush! And the number of dollars in my account multiplied way faster than it would have in any standard bank account.

Not keeping your finances to yourself.

To me, this has a double meaning:

  • Clueing people into how much money you have or make, the frequency of your payments, your credit accounts and passwords (you would be surprised at the amount of people who do this…).

This puts you in danger of becoming a victim of fraud, and plays into the second meaning of “not keeping your finances to yourself”

  • Over sharing your money. Giving people access to your assets. This looks like being the person to buy lunch for everyone just because you’ve saved a little extra, or playing into the club scene where you could be roped into paying for rounds of shots. Paycheck. Suicide.

This also looks like letting people borrow money without question.

No one should feel 100% comfortable taking money from you

If you establish this as a pattern, eventually this will show people that your money is their right.

Learn to say NO, and if they cannot understand this, then run Forest!

Not living within your means.

This is classic. Adults living in the rat race can often become competitive, and want to keep up with their peers from college, or even their families. Don’t fall for this trap. Keeping up with the joneses will have you spending money that you just don’t have to show off that new car, motorcycle, or boat (Please don’t buy a boat…).

At the end of the day, it really isn’t worth the feeling of living paycheck to paycheck, or racking up debt. Live for yourself! Your pockets will thank you.

Conclusion

These are the 5 biggest mistakes that I made in my 20’s so far (Haha), and they hurt! I hope that exposing my own mistakes will help you see the path that you are currently on, and if it’s looking similar, please take this as a sign to turn around and start again. This isn’t the way to do it.

What are some common (and expensive) mistakes that you have made in your lifetime? How did you navigate those mistakes? Thanks for reading!

 – Bo.

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