Surviving the Terrible Twos: Money is a Big Deal

Money is a Big Deal

Creative Commons – Sean McMenemy

 

Here we are at week 3 and the final installment of Samantha and my 20s series, with the icky subject of Finances! I have loved discussing the awkward parts of  20s life with you all, so thank you for reading. Each week it has made me dig deep, think and look at my own life with a new eye.

Make sure you read Sam’s newest post HERE. Getting to know this girl better has been a privilege; she is funny, God fearing and true. I love that the internet has connected a Texan and Londoner to create this series. Two perspectives from two girls stumbling through their twenties. It’s been fun and I’m sad it’s over.

Week 1 – Careers
Week 2 – Dating 

Money is a big deal. You don’t realise it until you lose your wallet or debit card, and the simple things like buying your lunch become a problem. And if you’re like me, even though it’s a little out of your control, you still feel embarrassed or sheepish asking for someone to help you out until you can get some cash.

Which I think represents an awkward attitude that we have about money. I’m not sure what it’s like in other places, but in Britain it’s a fact that everyone has money and it’s no one’s business how much. The pay gap between rich and poor is a gaping chasm, even inside the walls of one office building, but no one talks about it. It’s a hush-hush subject and we’re all meant to keep up appearances, when often the reality is that a large amount of us are buried in debt.

My story is that I went from working full time at 18 without a financial care in the world and that being okay. To now at 23 with minimal savings and a permanent case of wanderlust, and it not being okay anymore. I used to think buying a house was for grown ups and I needn’t worry about such things for another ten years. I unconsciously put it in the “husband box” because responsibility comes with marriage, right? Then recently I had a brain wave; houses are expensive and I might not have a husband as soon as planned. Which means I would have to start saving a hefty amount each month now to buy a house by the time I am 30. Uh, which means, I need to be responsible now.

Holy heck, when did that happen? When did I become an adult with responsibilities? Cue the 20s financial dilemma; the crossover from child to adult. Juggling the life I want now and the life I want in the future is a real catch-22. (#firstworldprobs)

I once heard Brian Houston say that he would rather see a person’s bank account than their resume when he is considering employing them, because your finances say a lot more about your character than your resume does. Ouch. That means my character is impulsive, indulgent and careless (among other, more positive attributes obviously).

Think for a moment – what does your bank account say about you? 

I encourage you to review your bank statements and what you spend your money on. For me, that’s dinners with friends, clothes, holidays, hobbies and charity, among others. Some of those are important but some of them could definitely be cut back. What’s on your list? Those things right there are your current priorities.

Then write down your financial dreams, or dreams that have a price tag. Want to travel Europe? Set up your own business? Put them all down. On my list is travel, a house and a secure upbringing for my future children. I’m sure that list will evolve and develop with time, but those are my future priorities right now.

What matches up on your two lists? My advice is to start now in marrying the two up, because pretty soon your now will become your future. It happens in a flash and you don’t want to still be prioritising those lavish dinners in 10 years time, instead of cooking in your own home. Make space for the future you want in your current spending priority list. Invest and save, while enjoying the season you’re in.

I’m starting to realise that having your finances in order has nothing to do with age. There are certainly different seasons for being extravagant and others for thriftiness, and age comes into that. But in the scheme of your life, it’s just another discipline that points right back to who you are and who you’re becoming. So let’s talk about it and glead advice from each other, because money is a big deal and our attitude to it in our twenties can determine the rest of our lives.

Please don’t leave without sharing one thing about your current priorities and future financial dreams. What’s on your lists?

Comments

  1. Jo says:

    Great advice Micaela!

    I had the same awakening too – when a friend of ours told me she had a wedding account and a house account, AH! But it’s all relative, as you say…
    There are things to take into consideration when I think about my savings:
    1) I have been studying so I have a student loan.
    2) I live at home
    3) I don’t have hardly any responsibilities

    So right now for me it is totally the perfect time to save (and I have been)! But as you said, for others in their 20′s their list could be:

    1) Have a student loan
    2) Be preparing for first child
    3) Have a house and therefore be paying off a mortgage!

    Totally different set of priorities, eh!

    Phil’s parents have always said “Save for a house” and a few years ago I rolled my eyes…. but now I kind of get it!

    Great post lovely! xxxx

  2. Rebecka says:

    Ah, money… It is not an easy subject. For me, the hardest part is balancing being responsible with not worrying about tomorrow. I have not figured out how yet, but this was really good advice! I’m going to have to think about it because I’m not entirely sure what’s on my “future list”.

    I’ve really enjoyed this series, by the way!

  3. A lot to think about for someone a decade ahead of you! But an interesting subject. I gues you also have to think about what you value, I would add to the discussion that the travel you have done and the friends you have made and shared experiences are far richer than the happiness any house can give you. From the perspective of someone who didnt do the big OE and still didnt get married until 30, I think you do what you gotta do when you need to. In reality, when we decide we want to save, then we do and we do so with more gusto. Thats noy to say that starting to put a bit away regularly isnt a good idea, but dont forgo some of the awesomeness of your life now just to do that. Life is for living. Houses, and posessions will sort themselves out when we really need them to. So inconclusion do a bit of both, live life and save a bit!

    P.s. Love the blog :-)

    • theundergroundmicaela says:

      I cannot love this comment enough… It offers so much wisdom and insight that I hadn’t considered properly. You’re right, I have had some great experiences and they really add to the quality of my life. Even if I don’t have a house or a big savings account. Thanks Sharps!

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