As I say bye-bye to my twenties, I cannot express how grateful I am for having saved my money for a time when I truly needed it, which happens to be right now. I spent my twenties working my ass off in jobs that gave me zero sense of fulfillment. I worked in retail, got into modeling in college and ended up working nights as a bottle service waitress basically stealing money from drunken NYC club-goers for six years.
None of these jobs gave my life meaning, nor did they help me grow as a person, but the high pay kept me addicted. I had no real directions in my life, but giving all of my energy to these jobs was soon to expire.
The difference between me and other workers like myself was that I knew that I would need the money down the road, in my twenties. I envisioned having a full bank account for when I finally got all of the bullsh*t partying and messing around out of my system and was ready to discover what I really wanted to do with my life.
With that being said, here are three reasons why your twenties are the most important time to save money.
1. You can do things that require little money and still have a great time.
When you’re young, hostels are adventurous and fun, dive bars are a great place to meet people, and wearing things from the Salvation Army that make you look homeless means you’re actually pretty trendy. As you get older, not so much. When you’re young, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on vacations and sources of entertainment because you’re able to find adventure on a budget, and most of your friends are also broke, anyway.
As you get older, your taste generally becomes more refined, and you (hopefully) require more than some low-end vodka and Redbull to have a good time. Take advantage of your youth and the less high maintenance opportunities out there.
2. You probably won’t discover what you really want to do with your life until your 30s, and you’ll need money for that.
I know many Gen-Yers have been robbed by U.S. college tuition rates, making it nearly impossible to save any money. I was lucky to have gone to school in Canada, where it’s subsidized and more affordable. BUT you still graduated school and got a job, and maybe you even immediately found a career that you’re passionate about. Most of us confused Gen-Yers aren’t so lucky, and this is my message to you: while you’re in your twenties, working a job that you’re not excited to wake up and go to every morning, make sure you’re saving your money.
I decided to walk away from all that I’ve known for the past ten years. I’m walking away from amazing money and a “comfortable” life to pursue what has become my passion, and that is to become a life coach. I am so utterly grateful that I had the sense to save my money while I figured things out in my twenties, so that I would have the resources I now need in order to go back to school and focus all of my energy on this new endeavor, which I’m more than excited about.
3. You won’t need to suffer through debt or rely on anyone else for the things you’ll need in your 30s.
Without my savings account, I’m sure I would still be clinging to dead-end jobs and an unfulfilling life, out of fear of being able to survive a career change. Let me stress that this should never stop you from pursuing your dreams, but it definitely makes the decision and transition easier when you know you’re not going to come home to an eviction notice.
Even if you have a job you love, your thirties bring a time when you’re looking to buy a home, having to pay for a wedding and maybe even having to pay for kids. These are all important aspects of life, which your savings will help to fund without having to pay high interest if you have debt.
What’s even better is that you don’t need to rely on anyone else to help you - not your parents, not the bank, not your boyfriend who may always hold it above your head or make you feel like you have to stay with his shady ass. The security of independence is priceless. Especially as a woman, knowing that you can do things on your own is extremely liberating and empowering.
So enjoy your twenties! Meet some mysterious Latin guy in a the common room of the hostel you’re staying at, let loose at that bar with all the bras hanging from the ceiling (just don’t add to the collection), and spend a little money when it means affording amazing experiences. My only warning is to not be reckless. Sure, you only live once, which is even more of a reason to set yourself up for a really great life.
Photo courtesy Tumblr