Your 20s are full of firsts: first full time job, first time handling your finances or fiancés, it is really a time for exploration and experimentation. But while adulting comes with all this independence, it’s important to get your finances in order in your 20s to set up a good foundation.
The saying goes that: money makes the world go round. We think about money a lot, we don’t talk about it nearly as much, even when it might be helpful.
As we arrive to the end of another month, there is a certain reprieve that another cash injection is arriving as I coast on my last dime. One thing I have learned in my 20s is that despite many of my peers now having jobs and earning money, we never get a crash course on financial literacy, or have enough honest discussions about how to handle money now that we are “grown-ups”. We are happy to spend this money when we get it, but I, for one, haven’t shared the fact that many bank transactions remain foreign to me despite having a bank account for close to a decade now.
There are many questions I have such as; am I getting paid enough, should I be negotiating for more, how do I make a budget and stick to it, what investment options are available to me and how do I go about that? Also is it weird we might be earning more money than our parents did at our age, when they had families to support on top of it?
Personally my working life in my 20s has been an exemplar of the gig economy, which often means that I’m not getting paid enough, and never get paid on time. You pull side hustles to get more income, but can’t seemingly count on it, like the cash you come across inside your jacket’s pocket: it’s great in the moment, but it definitely could have been more helpful earlier as you counted the coins for your next bus fare.
This brings me back to the point that when you are in your 20s with your first job, maybe there should be a crash course in negotiating income, and getting paid on time the same way we get trainings for other skills.
We’re in a fast paced digital world, and moving with the times there’s more incentive to go cashless. We pay with a card or keep our money on such platforms a mobile money. While this has greatly increased circulation of money in the economy, what nobody tells you in your 20s is that it gets harder to stick to your budget when you’re using your card instead of paying with cash. Our psyche is happy to be reckless with money on a card than when you pay with paper. Ergo the wiser choice is to sometimes leave the card at home on purpose.
Earning money in your 20s is also a humbling experience because it forces you to take in stock the class divide that exists in society. Money that you spend on a want is money someone else spends on necessities that are inescapable.
To realise the privilege of being broke versus poor is the ultimate adulting lesson you can encounter in your 20s. Making it rain in your 20s is hard, and that’s all the more reason to get your finances in check and learn about saving and investing early on.