Financial advice for my former self

This year, our office welcomed a 24-year-old professional into our tight-knit group. Aside from making everyone else in the office feel really, really old, it's been fun and exciting learning what the younger generation is into these days. Let's face it — her life is much more exciting than mine. On weekend evenings when I can be found bathing my kids, making meal plans, and doing laundry, she is usually out on the town. While I spend my free time writing and slaving away at our housework, she is planning fun outings or visiting friends from college. She can stay out until 5:00 a.m. and sleep in until noon if she wants to, and she often does. Hearing her recount all of the fun things she's been doing makes me miss the days when I didn't have so much responsibility.

My new co-worker is also extremely frugal. She makes practical choices and typically buys all of her business clothes second-hand. A thrifty shopper, she frequently uses coupons and doesn't try to impress others with material possessions. In fact, she carries a purse that she bought at the Dollar Store for something like $8. I had no idea that the Dollar Store sold purses and that is exactly what I find impressive; she always finds new and interesting ways to save without sacrificing style or function. To top it off, she is allocating all of her extra money toward repayment of her student loans. I love hearing updates and cheering her on as she aggressively kills off her debt. If only I could've been more like her at her age, I would've been much better off.

Projecting my insecurities

Despite her obvious competency, I still have to stop myself from giving her unsolicited advice. It's not that I think she needs it. On the contrary, I know that she's making great decisions compared to many of her peers. But despite her ability to manage her finances quite well, I want to prevent her from making all of the tragic mistakes that I once made. I can't help but project onto her wishes for my former self when I was 24 years old. If only I had someone around to smack some sense into me, maybe it would't have taken me nearly as long to get my financial act together. There are so many things I should've done differently.

Can you imagine what it would be like to start adulthood over with a clean slate? Since my friend is so financially aware for her age, she has the opportunity to avoid many of the pitfalls and traps that young people entering the job market often fall into. Unfortunately, my twenty-something former self is a perfect example of “what not do do.” There is a plethora of advice I desperately needed in my 20's, and watching her make all of the right decisions has forced me to come to term with my own mistakes. This got me thinking, “What would I tell your former self, if I had the chance?”

Start saving for retirement immediately. Due to the magic of compound interest, it's beneficial for young people to start saving for retirement as soon as possible. I wish I would've started saving immediately so that I wouldn't have to work so hard now to catch up.

Avoid debt like the plague. It's tempting to buy designer clothes or a fancy car when you first start out. When I was her age, I definitely tried to impress others with material possessions I couldn't afford. In my early twenties, I ran up my credit cards too many times to count. Unfortunately, I punished myself this way many times before I matured enough to stop. I wish I would've lived within my means and spared myself the enormous burden of debt in the first place.

You don't need a new car. When I was 23, I financed a $25,000 car that I definitely couldn't afford. While getting a new car proved to be fun and exciting, the payment that came with it became a huge burden. I wish I would've forgone the new car and kept the one I already had.

Live cheaply while you can. Saving as much money as possible before getting married or having children is an ideal way to start off adulthood. Creating your own safety net provides stability and creates peace of mind. I wish I would've lived cheaply while I had the chance. Now that I have a family, I have to work that much harder to save.

Your friends are probably broke. I remember seeing what my friends owned in my early twenties and being really confused. Did they really have that much more money than I did? The reality is that easily available credit makes it nearly effortless to enjoy a lifestyle you can't afford. Now that I'm older and wiser, I realize that the majority of people I know are making payments on most of their stuff. Knowing that fact in my twenties would've explained a lot!

It's stressful knowing that I wasted so many years before getting serious about saving and investing. On the other hand, always looking backward can be counterproductive. Each day presents a new opportunity to make better choices, and I'm proud to be on the path to financial freedom. It's certainly better late than never. And, who knows? If I would've made better choices, my life might be completely different. The thought of a different life is terrifying, and I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to learn so many things firsthand. I'm glad for each lesson, even if I had to learn them the hard way.

The fact is, my co-worker is a smart and sophisticated young lady. She gets to start her adult life with a clean slate, but not everyone has that opportunity. Still, all is not lost. One thing I've learned is that it's never too late to get your financial life in order. After all, mistakes are only insurmountable if you insist on repeating them. I've made my share, and I've moved on. And I know that at this moment, I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

What would you tell your former self, if you had the chance?

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Kate
Kate

Sometimes I wonder if there isn’t as a new money rule that should be printed somewhere… “At every point of your working life, you will be paying out approx. 40% of salary for something important.” 20s: paying back student loans. 30s: kids. 40s and 50s: trying to catch up on retirement. 60s and over: health care. And each generation keeps swearing that their lives would have been easier had they done it before, although it really seems like things roll downhill on that point. For example, the math makes it clear that you could get away with a smaller percentage… Read more »

Ramblin' Ma'am
Ramblin' Ma'am

“20s: paying back student loans.
30s: kids.
40s and 50s: trying to catch up on retirement.
60s and over: health care.”

This is why I don’t want kids. Well, one of the reasons, anyway.

Carla
Carla

Same here. As much as I love kids, I know my life would be more miserable (financially) if I were to have them. Just letting the clock run out at this point now…

Michael
Michael

Genuine question – do people honesty pay 40% of their income on student loans? That is astonishing coming from the UK (the figure is around 2% for me).

Ed S
Ed S

Minimum payments allowed probably don’t make up 40% of your income. Be careful because this is a twenty-five year loan! A student loan can be a heavy albatross if you stretch the payments out. You want the standard ten year option if possible, which increases the payments a lot, especially if you borrowed north of $100,000, and you didn’t get the sub 4% rates that are out now.
edit – To answer the question, the 40% number is probably a person trying to kill the debt much faster than the ten year stretch.

Kate
Kate

I would it depends on a lot of factors, but it’s not crazy either. The first is that with the high amount of student loan people are taking on right now for an undergraduate (and in some cases, graduate degree), the total amount of loans is very high. The second is that (in case you hadn’t noticed) the economy is still rather terrible at the moment, and has been hitting young graduates particularly hard. I believe the number I read last week for the USA is 26% unemployment for young people within 5 years of graduation. That number doesn’t count… Read more »

Mom of five
Mom of five

We don’t need to accept it. We can break the cycle early on by not taking out student loans. That way, the financial 20’s can be about accumulating wealth. That changes everything. In all likelihood kids won’t be that big a financial hit if you set yourself up in your 20’s. And there shouldn’t be any reason not to have been contributing to retirement all along.

Jenn
Jenn

Bingo! Student loans are not a necessity of life. Check out the book ‘Debt Free U’ – it’s a great read.

As a fellow mom of 5 myself, my goal is to get them through college without student loans. It’s scary (Because my oldest will start this year), and heck – we could fail, but I think most folks assume that’s the only way to go. Just like folks think that buying a car new is the only way to go.

M
M

I’d take my 20-something self and say, “Remember that long-term relationship you left brokenhearted, to start your dream job? That job was the best, had a cadillac DB pension and generous benefits. It set you up for retirement. Thank you for looking out for your future self. And that old boyfriend? BZZZZZZZZZZ!”
Girl’s gotta take care of herself:)

Laura
Laura

As a 23-year-old, posts like this are especially interesting to me. 🙂 Fortunately, I’m already doing everything on your list!

Matt Becker
Matt Becker

I think we all have things we wish we had done earlier, but like you said all we can do is learn and move forward. I’ll certainly struggle with how much financial direction to give my kids, just like you with this co-worker. On the one hand I want to provide good advice and help them avoid serious mistakes. On the other hand, people learn by doing and by making those mistakes. I think that giving people an opportunity and supportive environment in which to learn from an early age is crucial. Personally, if I could go back, I probably… Read more »

Jon
Jon

My mistakes with money tended to be more specific. Future me is shouting, “Don’t go into business with that flake!” “Don’t buy that used Cadillac from your co-worker!” “Don’t quit that job to go to work for the friend with great expectations!” “Just deal with the lack of space in your first house – it will be just fine again once the kids are off to college”

Tina in NJ
Tina in NJ

I have a 20-year-old and he doesn’t want to hear it. He thinks he’s going to make six figures right out of school. We (parents) have made it clear that we will not support his lifestyle inflation and he seems to be managing ok so far. I figure we do the needs and he does the wants, at least until graduation.

Kingston
Kingston

I’ve got one of those kids, too. Horribly frustrating for a frugal parent!

Karen
Karen

I’m 26 and I still look back on my early 20s with anger. “Why didn’t you start the IRA sooner? You didn’t bother with the employer match at that job! You are doomed because you didn’t start saving at age 14!” It can be hard not to beat yourself up. As other commenters noted, I too have a loved one in their 20s who won’t listen. My sister is 21 and I try to give her some advice, not preaching (at least I don’t think i’m preaching), and she just laughs at me for being “money-obsessed” and “a cheapskate.” She’s… Read more »

Jane
Jane

Karen, based on your tone in your comment, it is likely you are preaching. The bitterness of your comment about having the “last laugh” implies that you might not be achieving the proper tone with your younger sister. From experience, I know it is hard and sometimes almost impossible with our closest relatives. My older sister who is nearing 40, also has her problems with money. As someone who is frugal, I just can’t get behind a person who is unemployed, broke, on food stamps, and still has an iPhone for herself and her 12 year old daughter. I know… Read more »

Mom of five
Mom of five

I really think you need to lighten up. I didn’t start saving for retirement until I was 26 or 27 and in retrospect I wouldn’t change a thing. I had to pay back lots of student loans. It was only once my loans became manageable (mostly through pay raises) that I began to contribute to my 401k. My loans took such a big chunk of my pay that my choice in those days was get a second job or don’t contribute to retirement. I’m glad I never took that second job. It ended up fine and I was able to… Read more »

John S @ Frugal Rules
John S @ Frugal Rules

It always does my heart good to see those younger than me make those solid decisions that I just completely failed on. While all on your list are great, I would talk to my younger self about #1 & #2 primarily. I made completely idiotic decisions when I was younger and being bale to go back and change that would be great.

My Financial Independence Journey
My Financial Independence Journey

If I had any great financial advice for my former self it would be about how to invest properly. I would also tell myself to track all my expenses.

Clara
Clara

I would tell my young self to really, really take care of my health. While I never was one to abuse things and my health is quite good now at 50, little things start to creep in that I could have prevented by investing in myself in the way that I do now: personal trainer, regular massage, meditation and yoga classes, really high quality food. Those things would have given back to me in ways that just owning things never could or will.

Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies
Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies

Oh completely agree! I wish I could go back and tell my 12-year-old self. Don’t quit gymnastics! Don’t be afraid to try out for soccer or cross country! I didn’t get into health and fitness until I was about 20, and didn’t really make it a high priority until I was 25. (30 now.) While I’m enjoying every minute of it now, I wish I would have made fitness and taking care of myself a priority when I was young rather than waiting so long.

SLCCOM
SLCCOM

That 12-year-old, continuing with gymnastics could well have ended up having a hip replacement in her 20s, or seriously injuring herself.

There is no point to this exercise. You can never know how things would have worked out, especially health wise.

SLCCOM
SLCCOM

Buy a good disability policy and life insurance policy as soon as you get your first job. Keep raising the value as you earn more. You may not be able to get one later. And while job insurance benefits are great, it is after you are canned that you will be hit by the bus.

Short arms long pockets
Short arms long pockets

I’m fortunate that my 23year-old college grad seems to be doing all the right things – including graduating debt-free. I’m glad she seems to be learning from my mistakes- and I let her know that I have made mistakes and what the consequences have been. In particular,like many here, I wish I had begun saving for retirement earlier. I also wish I hadn’t listened to the relative who assured us that he had everything set up to pay for the kids college and then turned out not to have been telling the truth. Had I known I would have started… Read more »

Alison Wiley
Alison Wiley

Great question. More than anything else, I would tell my younger self to choose more wisely in love and marriage. (An unwise marriage choice I made at 31 had financial ramifications that went on for many years.) I did learn better, and am now both happily married, and very solvent, due to both of our good jobs and good habits. I like being able to write from the perspective of having been both poor, and “rich”. Things can really turn around, but it can take a really long time — which is why I appreciate the philosophy of Get Rich… Read more »

Mike@WeOnlyDoThisOnce

Being honest with yourself about finances certainly took me a long time, as you point out in the fourth bullet.

Michelle at Making Sense of Cents
Michelle at Making Sense of Cents

I would tell myself to not SPEND SO MUCH MONEY ON FOOD. We’d probably have tens of thousands more dollars in our bank account if we would have ate in instead.

Tyrone Biggums
Tyrone Biggums

In most of those situations, there was probably a reason you ate out all those times. Either you were home late from work, craving a cuisine you don’t know how to cook, celebrating a big event, etc. It’s easy to say now that you shouldn’t have eaten out at all, but in reality that’s not realistic.

Jake
Jake

I like reading articles like these. Being that I’m still only 24, I’m trying to learn as much as possible about what other people would’ve done when they were my age. Hopefully this will help me avoid many of the troubles that others go through.

Joey@thegreengazelle

I think I would remind myself to borrow things when I need them (lawn mower, hammer, sewing machine, blender, paint rollers) rather than forking over the money to own them. It would save money and space, two things I don’t have much of even now.

Phoebe@allyouneedisenough

Dear 22 year old Phoebe: 1. Learn to love yourself. Instead of spending gobs of money trying to change your appearance with things like hair dye, learn to be really happy with who you are and in your own skin. 2. Get healthy. Rather than spending $114 a month an a fancy gym, actually become a person who enjoys regular exercise. You’ll save money on clothes that you buy at the last minute because you don’t like how you look in anything, you’ll save on health bills and food, and you’ll be much happier. 3. Don’t worry about being in… Read more »

M
M

Aw, very sweet! Did you know there is a small songbird called a Phoebe? Cute little thing and I have one singing its heart out right outside my window as I type this.

Phoebe@allyouneedisenough

I didn’t know that! And funny enough, I quite like to sing.

SavvyFinancialLatina
SavvyFinancialLatina

I’m 23 and I already have advice for my younger self. Eat out less, don’t take money from your parents during college, rent a cheaper apartment first year out of school.

lmoot
lmoot

I’m 29, so still in my 20’s technically. I have to think about this because it was in my early 20’s that I hit the personal finance pavement running. I was very lucky that my family paid a majority of my school fees so I didn’t have any student loans. At 25 I still had the car I drove in highschool (which was paid for in cash from a part-time job and help from family)and just bought my first house, a fixer-upper. I never really had the financial low to learn from. My family is naturally frugal and it seemed… Read more »

Jane
Jane

While I don’t necessarily regret all the international travel I did in my 20s, I do wish I had more of that money in my bank account now. Of course, that means I got rid of my traveling bug early when I was still willing to stay in hostels and eat dirt cheap food. Maybe if I hadn’t done that, now I would feel the itch to travel and spend even more money. Who knows. I think that’s the problem with hindsight discussions about oneself. Sometimes it takes hard experiences and foolish spending to learn. I have less regrets about… Read more »

butterbean13
butterbean13

Jane, I wish I could click “like” 20 times, because your response really resonated with me. I too have regrets about wasting my mental energies with anxieties and worrying about lack of relationships, both with friends and romantically. My 20’s could have been a lot more fun without the angst and inner drama. But the good part of getting past those sad years is realizing how good things are now, and how many good relationships I appreciate now. BTW I am in my fifties, never married, and I am perfectly fine with that. It’s a good thing my 20 year… Read more »

Jane
Jane

Thanks for your response, butterbean. And glad to know it struck a positive chord with you.

I’m still pretty young (35) and look forward to the ongoing wisdom and perspective that growing older can bring, if I let it. 🙂

John
John

Interestingly enough I was going to say exactly the opposite..
While I traveled outside the US over a dozen times in my 20s, I wish that I did it twice as much.

Yes I was frugal and put plenty into, paying off debt, savings, investment, homeownership.. etc

Now I’m married with a young son and while we still travel, its now that much more difficult than it was.

Jane
Jane

John – I think it has to do with my motivations for traveling in my twenties. In many ways I was searching for something, somewhere that I was never going to find. I think it was pure wanderlust stemming from a lot of unhappiness with who I was and where I came from. I’m sure that informs my opinion about how the money was spent. I could certainly see how someone else would have the opposite reaction.

Beth
Beth

I’m parking my agreement right here. There were a few years where DH and I could have packed up and gong on a great trip somewhere, but now we can’t because we have kids, dogs and a house. All three take so much time, energy and money that we don’t really have any resources left for a trip overseas or even just to one of the coasts.

cathleen
cathleen

My dad used to tell me as a kid “You wouldn’t care what people thought of you if you knew how seldom they did” 🙂

ris
ris

As a 20-something who has spent years completely paying off student loan debt and pouring money into retirement while my friends had expensive weddings and bought big houses and new cars, this post makes me feel really good about my choices. It’s easy to look at what others have without realizing that they might be living on credit or mortgaged to the hilt. I’ve had people tell me things like “I just couldn’t live in an apartment anymore” or “I just couldn’t buy clothes from a thrift store” and I think “You probably could if you really needed to….”

Denise
Denise

That’s a wonderful post, thank you.

I am 47 and frugal, although I certainly wasn’t in my 20’s.

I would tell my former self to eat out less by packing lunches for work. Also, buy the used car that still has a warranty for significantly less then what I paid on the new car for.

I would advise my former self to shop for necessities and stop the impulse buying.

Finally, I would advise myself to invest consistently every month into a index mutual fund – investing before, not after paying the bills.

Denise

Budget and the Beach
Budget and the Beach

I’m always so envious of people who can have great style and do it so cheaply! I think all my advice would be exactly the same. It’s so hard to be future focused at that age..or if you are it’s sometimes on the wrong things (I want a big house, fancy car, white picket fence, etc), and let’s face it at 24 you think you have all the time in the world. But that time flies. Man I would love to shake some sense into my 24-year-old self!

Esther
Esther

I really enjoyed this post and it confirmed to me why i chose to be a GRS reader. I am 33 now and unemployed yet I sill manage very well. I’ve always been financially conscious. My parents had always taught us the value of saving. Yet out of 4 children, I think I might be the only one who really learned those values. I will tell my 20 year old self. 1.Pay off those 16k student loan and take just one vacation a year. 2 You should have contributed the Max to your 401k from day 1. 3. You should… Read more »

Ellen K.
Ellen K.

Weddings! Specifically, spending on other people’s weddings. I would encourage my younger self and my friends’ younger selves to push against the “wedding industrial complex.” Although my parents generously paid for my own wedding, I was a bridesmaid three times in the 18 months before I got married and bought a house. That was a lot of money on bridesmaid dresses, gifts for numerous wedding-related occasions, and travel/hotel. Ten years later, I’m still friends with only one of those women.

Rail
Rail

Get out of a dead end job. Being young and dumb and believing that if you just kept working hard and doing whatever you could for the employer that someday you would be rewarded. I was almost 28 before I made more than 23k a year. And that was Jan. 98. In 94 I lived on 13k taxable. No, I never took any Govt welfare(some unemployment) and Its not fun to live poor. I was saving on the order of 10 bucks a paycheck because that was all their was. I know what its like to be in a dead… Read more »

Sara
Sara

I’m 29 and just about to open my first Roth IRA. The fact that I didn’t realize how important retirement was until perhaps, two months ago KILLS ME. What I would have given for my parents to tell me how important it was when I was in college and have opened one at 20! I also had credit card debt from ages 22-26 that is all paid off now. I regret that as well, but I do think it strengthened and scared me enough to fully understand the consequences of debt and not go down that road again. With retirement,… Read more »

jim
jim

Sara, Please stop beating yourself up for not starting retirement savings as early as you’d have liked to. Spouse and I didn’t start saving for retirement (other than a very nominal amount) until we were in our mid-30’s. We weren’t finished with grad school until 28 and had tons of student loans and a kid. We’re now about 10 years from retirement and we’re going to retire with plenty. We were able to put both our kids thru college debt-free, gave them fantastic childhoods and took great vacations every year. We’ve traveled abroad (as have our kids) and we’ll have… Read more »

Tracy (the Other One)
Tracy (the Other One)

No point in spending a lot of energy regretting! The fact that you feel the urgency now means that you will likely make it a main focus for the next 30 years, and you will probably do better than you think. I’m 42 and my husband is 51. We were not spendthrifts, but we also didn’t take the urgency of saving seriously during our college years. My husband comes a from dirt poverty and had never had money, nor known anyone who had, and he never really expected to do anything other than live check to check. I came from… Read more »

Mike
Mike

32 year old me would love to tell to 27 year old me to hold off a bit on buying my first home (purchased in 2007)! Luckily 27 year old me had still learned by that point to live within his means, so I am still happy in my home and plugging away to get it paid off early.

Kyle @ Debt Free Diaries
Kyle @ Debt Free Diaries

If I were to talk to my former self, I wouldn’t have a ton to say…maybe remind myself to stick to my principles I developed in middle and high school when it comes to debt and savings. I probably would have encouraged myself to look into investing in some type of passive income sooner as well, even if I was still in high school!

I don’t have much to say, not because I’m perfect but because I’m still rather young! I’m only 22 and I’m already getting my act together. Maybe I’ll have more to say in 10 years, haha.

Mike
Mike

32 year old me would love to tell 27 year old me that 2007 is not a good time to buy a home! Luckily 27 year old me already knew enough to live within his means so I’m still in my home and happily plugging away to pay it off early. I think everyone on here with advice for their younger selves should be proud. Having that advice to give hopefully means that we have learned something along the way. Just because we didn’t know it in our 20s doesn’t mean we didn’t learn enough to apply the knowledge the… Read more »

Debt Blag
Debt Blag

Oh my… So many things about so many topics. And so many just when it comes to finance. I could fill this space ten times over, but I’ll just mention the emergency fund. I had to learn that lesson the hard way.

Ely
Ely

meh. I don’t much see the point in telling your younger self anything. In the first place you probably wouldn’t listen; in the second, you wouldn’t be who you are now if you hadn’t done what you did then.

I wish I’d been more relaxed in college and less incautious in my early twenties. But if I hadn’t gone through both those spaces, how would I have found my happy medium? You can’t get where you are without being where you’ve been.

The Norwegian Girl
The Norwegian Girl

yikes.. what wouldn´t I tell? hm.. I´ll guess, learn how to budget and save ASAP!

Anna
Anna

I would SAVE my money instead of using a lot of credit cards like they were extra income…they are like future income already spent but they’re not income! I’d also tell (yell not just tell!) to my younger self DON”T COSIGN A LOAN FOR THAT GUY – HE’S A LOSER AND YOU’LL PAY THE LOAN!!!!!!

Carla
Carla

1. Never take a job without health insurance or never go without health insurance, even if I have to pay out of pocket for 90s days. I paid dearly because I got sick without insurance.

2. Don’t listen to anyone, including and especially your parents who may try to talk you out of perusing higher education.

3. While at a new job, especially early in your career, keep your head down and your powder dry.

4. Don’t get married before you’re 30.0

celyg
celyg

1. Save NOW. Save any amount, no matter how small. Make it automatic. 2. Find a mentor. Someone you admire or who seems to know what they’re doing when it comes to career, money, life. Meet with this person regularly and listen. 3. When it comes to work, no matter what you’re doing, know what the end game is. Don’t take a job and stay with it because you don’t know what else to do. What are you learning? Where will this lead you? Why is it useful to you? You don’t have to take a job for the money,… Read more »

Sara
Sara

1. Don’t worry that there’s some grand life plan to follow and that if you miss a step (buy a house too late, not set up an IRA when you’re 18, graduate with student loans) you’re going to be instantly and irrevokably doomed to a life of eating cat food in a homeless shelter.
Life is considerably more flexible than people who give advice make it sound.

2. Don’t be afraid to negotiate your salary and ask for more money. You are worth more than that.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

You can tell my 20-something self that too, please! Sometimes I think I’ve done things backwards and my career path has lots of twists and turns, but things all worked out. I wish I had stressed less and taken more time to enjoy it all.

And I second the point about negotiating the salary!

nicoleandmaggie
nicoleandmaggie

Great minds think alike, eh? I enjoyed retire by 40’s post on this topic recently. 🙂 http://retireby40.org/2013/05/advice-for-23-year-old-self/

Holly@ClubThrifty

That’s crazy that it was published yesterday! We must’ve been on the same wavelength or something!!! =)

Jarim
Jarim

I think you nailed this post! What really hit home is the “your friends are probably broke”. Im L.A., we carry the opposite of this mentality almost biologically. Many people I know (and knew in college) spend so much time and energy chasing after people who most likely have less assets than they do! But you’d never know because of their outward appearance. Everyday in L.A. we pull up next to range rovers and sell ourself on the notion that damn..life must be nice to have that! Everyday we drive past big houses and you think damn if only I… Read more »

Kendal @HassleFreeSaver
Kendal @HassleFreeSaver

Great post, Holly. I especially like this line: “After all, mistakes are only insurmountable if you insist on repeating them.” Looking back, I would tell my former self to slow down and not try to jump so quickly from one big life event to the next. I don’t regret the practical decisions I made but I do wish I’d given myself an opportunity to explore and have fun. I’m not saying I should have spent money frivolously and done whatever I wanted, but a little adventure would’ve been nice.

Alexis
Alexis

Maybe it’s because I’m someone just turned 25, but your post came off as quite condescending to me. I paid my way through university, paid off all loans, have 3x my annual spending in retirement, and own two houses (one fully rented out and one partially). Yes, I’ve made mistakes: I dated a deadbeat for over a year, and I bought and financed a new car (which I’ve since sold, and CRIED when I sold it). I now drive a reliable beater and am more than happy with it, after installing a bluetooth audio thing. But my point is that… Read more »

D
D

Great read! Cant wait to move from one column (age) to another with the 40 percent doled out to…

Robert Jacobs
Robert Jacobs

Stay away from those car loans and leases! I would tell my young self to avoid this at all costs, don’t throw your money down the toilet.

Evangeline
Evangeline

At 47, I wish I could get 27 year old Evangeline to pay attention to her father’s advice: Dimes make dollars. Save what you can as often as you can for as long as you can. You will never regret it.

Ross Sales
Ross Sales

Great post! I love the way you write! I especially admire your positive attitude towards lessons learned and your bright outlook for the future. Keep up the great work! =)

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