We all have areas of our lives where we wish we knew then what we know now.
We can use the information we have learned over the years to better ourselves and reach our financial goals. The point is to celebrate how far we have come on our financial journey, not slam our past selves for not knowing.
We are going to explore 10 things I wish I knew about money a decade ago. I created a video on Youtube when I was 35 years old. I was 25 years old ten years prior. A young adult is in a critical time in their life. It is a time when you are going to make some big decisions that could affect your financial future for the rest of your life.
I wish I could go back to my past self and teach her how to manage money, because I probably would be better off financially today. Since time travel isn’t available to me, I’m giving you a chance to learn what I’ve learned over the past decade so that you can make wise financial choices.
A budget is needed.
I didn’t pay attention to budgeting at the age of 25. I was excited when I first heard of it, but then I stopped using it. I wish I would have stuck with it at the beginning.
Living off one income is getting used to.
My husband was working on a graduate degree. We were married and living in Michigan, away from family. I was the primary earner and he got a small stipend. We lived in a small apartment and had one income. Our rent was $565.
When my husband got a job, we had two incomes to use. We inflated our lifestyles to reflect our incomes. We had two car payments and ended up moving to a high cost of living. I wish we would have continued living as though we had only one income.
Student loans are not your friend.
Someone who earned three different degrees. Student loan debt accrued over $100,000.I know that student loans are not a good friend. I need them to achieve my career path, they are not the devil. I would do it again.
I didn’t do my homework on those loans and took whatever I could get. I might have found better loans with lower interest rates if I had done my homework. I wish I would have been more careful with my student loans.
To buy happiness or not to buy happiness.
Have you heard of the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses”? It means that you are buying items that you don’t need or want to keep up with your peers.
It is a hamster wheel that will ultimately cheat you out of a worry-free financial future. Buying happiness is the same as buying happiness.
I would try to make myself feel better with retail therapy, whenever I was bored, depressed, or unhappy with my circumstances.
I spent my hard-earned money on items that ended up in the closet. I wish I would have gone for retail therapy and found another entertainment source that increases my happiness and does not cost money.
To automate your savings means choosing to save a certain amount of money every single day. It is easy to designate a certain amount from your checking account to your savings account with online banking. Spending reach to accumulate and grow your wealth when the savings are kept out of sight.
A whole year can go by if you don’t automate your savings. At the end of the year, you will be wondering where your hard-earned money went.
I wish I had automated my savings a long time ago because I feel like I have nothing to show for my hard work.
Start saving for retirement now.
It is important to start saving for retirement early when you have a job that matches your 401(k) or a 403(b) You don’t want to leave money sitting on a table.
If you have high-interest credit card debt and are being hounded for money, I would not recommend you to start saving. It is more important to get them paid off before anything else.
Even if it is just a few dollars, you can put money into your retirement account and it will grow without you lifting a finger.
You will be able to see how compound interest benefits you in a decade. I hope you start saving now because I wish I had started saving for retirement when I was younger.
Eat at home.
I wish I could tell my younger self that she needed to eat at home.
You should stop going through the drive-through, buying lunch at work every day, and eating at restaurants two to three times a week.
Just stop it! You can save money by packing your lunch.
Don’t buy a car without a down payment.
Buying a car without a down payment is one of the worst financial decisions I have ever made. I justified my purchase of a $25,000 car by saying that it was a used car.
I ended up with a $500 car payment after buying a $25,000 car without any money down.
I would have been better off saving up some cash for a down payment on a small car, rather than buying one that is too big.
I wish I would have saved enough money to have a decent down payment on the car, so I wouldn’t have to pay such a large amount of money.
Purchase a home with a 15 year mortgage.
It would be amazing to pay for a house out of pocket, but for most of us, that isn’t going to happen. You will need a mortgage, and it is your advantage to have a 15-year mortgage.
You will save thousands of dollars in interest if you have a 15-year mortgage.
The interest payment is the most important part of the mortgage, and it will be more expensive for you to pay it off in the first few years.
I wish I had known to take a 15-year mortgage when I was 25.
Financial literacy is the focus of this article.
I was introduced to Dave Ramey. We did pre-marital counseling before we got married.
The book gave great information, but we didn’t stick to it. I would love to go back ten years and tell my 25-year-old self to read that book again, learn it, and save myself some angst!
It is amazing how much we can learn about ourselves in 10 years. We should celebrate how far we have come and look forward to what we will learn in the next decade.
We can share our experiences with the younger generation.
I challenge you to do it! If you could go back in time and talk to yourself about money, what would you tell your younger self? Let us know in the comments.
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