What I’d Tell My 25-Year-Old Self About Money
The answers might surprise you.
When we’re young, we don’t want to hear it. When we’re older, we can’t wait to give it. Advice, that is. Speaking of which, one of our favorite questions to ask friends, clients and our own team of Lenox financial advisors is, “what would you tell your 25-year-old self about money.” Below are recent responses. Some you might expect. Some might surprise you.
I would tell my younger self...
“Start saving earlier. I wish someone had told me to do so. Nobody really talked about it. And, we didn’t have SEPS, IRAs or 401(k) plans when I was 25.”
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, if you don’t know about the compounding of money (aka the time/value of money) learn about it and put it to your advantage sooner rather than later. Starting in your late 20s to routinely stick away even a small percentage of your monthly income will amount to a significant amount of money when you’re ready to retire.
“Don’t rely on the government to fund your retirement.”
For years, the federal government has warned that the Social Security trust fund will run out of money by year 2034 or thereabouts, meaning that annual benefits will not be available to future generations or not in the amounts people are expecting to receive. Workers currently ages 37 to 55, might have the most to lose while lawmakers try to figure out how to handle the insolvency of the Social Security program. Today’s millennials will face the same uncertainty unless policy changes are put into effect that will improve the picture by the time they plan to retire. To be safe, do not count on Social Security when planning for retirement.
“Maximize your 401(k) contributions.”
If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, enroll in it! Many employers offer matches if you contribute to it – this is FREE MONEY, take it. When you consider the power of free money and compounding returns at age 25, it will cost you substantially less to save now for retirement, vs if you wait until you’re older.
“Make sure you are financially self-sufficient at every age, separate from your spouse.”
One thing you realize as you get older is that life can change in a matter of seconds. Illness, an accident, divorce, loss of your job, a family hardship –– any or all of these events can alter life in ways we never imagine when we’re young, healthy, and things are going well. However, when life gets turned upside down for whatever the reason, it is all the more important to understand your personal finances, know where important documents are located, have a relationship with a trusted financial advisor you can call for guidance and, above all else, be prepared to take financial charge of your future.
“Make yourself a priority. Don’t wait until you’re old to enjoy life or to do things for yourself.”
This person followed with, “On the other hand, don’t be stupid either... don’t blow your income or waste money.” It gets back to your finances –– like life –– being a constant balance between being responsible and enjoying the moment at hand... having fun without having regrets... being both pragmatic and playful. While no one guarantees us tomorrow, we also may live to be 100. Best we plan for both scenarios.
“Don’t spend your life trying to keep up with anyone else.”
It can be mighty tempting in our 20s to crave our friend’s awesome car, or to spend our last dollar traveling the world like our co-worker, or to buy more house than we need or can afford because the neighborhood we covet is the place to be. Warning! A habit of trying to “keep up with the Jones” can be financially devastating. Envy is not only unattractive; it can be expensive. Better to be yourself, live life by your own rules, and within your means.
“Take care of your health. Money doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have good health.”
Make decisions in your 20s that will help to ensure your healthiest life for decades to come. No one is suggesting you need to be perfect, but a healthy lifestyle –– not smoking, moderate drinking, regular exercise, a healthy diet, a curious mind, strong values, time with family and friends –– will pay off time and again in your personal life, career advancement and financial life.
“Don’t worry so much about money.”
We heard this idea expressed in a number of ways. “No need to obsess and fret constantly –– everything will work out okay.” “Life is going to unfold as it will. As long as you’re doing your best, you’re doing all you can.” “You don’t need to get everything you want right away; you have your whole life to save up for things.”
Have some advice you’d tell your 25-year-old self? We’d love to hear what you have to say. Send us your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post them in a future blog.
At Lenox, we enjoy and work closely with Millennials, single or married, to help guide them in every aspect of their financial life –– from setting financial priorities, to eliminating debt, establishing budgets, career planning and coaching, funding education, retirement planning, and working through financial hurdles –– the entire realm of wealth creation, wealth building, and wealth management. In every instance, we start with you, not your portfolio to help you FUND A LIFE YOU LOVE™.
If you’re ready to discuss financial, business, career and life planning that will allow you to Fund a Life You Love®, we’d love to tell you more. Let’s talk. It’s your tomorrow. Call us for a complimentary 1-hour review. Call 513.618.7080 or visit www.lenoxwealth.com to Fund a Life You Love.
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This blog is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to its investment advisory/management services. This is not intended to be personalized investment advice. Please contact a Lenox adviser if you would like additional information.