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.
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?