Things I Would Have Done Differently with Money in My Early 20’s

by Jason Butler on January 13, 2016 · 4 comments

Money in 20sI’m not sure about you, but my early 20’s were a heck of a time. I was in college until I was 24. I was having the time of my life or so I thought. I will be the 1st to say that I made quite a few mistakes, especially with my money. Looking back, I know that there were some things that I could have done differently. Continue reading to find out the 5 things that I would have done differently with money in my early 20’s.

Nightlife spending

I never was one to spend a crazy amount of money on clothes or jewelry. My big problem was spending money on nightlife activities. I used to go out nearly every weekend at one point in my early 20’s. I’m glad I stopped doing that. There were plenty of times when I spent money that I could have used for something else instead of drinks or entry into a club. There were also several times where I purchased rounds of drinks for my friends and me with my credit card. Looking back, I realized that I wasted too much money. There was no reason for me to spend that money.

Save More

My saving patterns in my early 20’s were all over the place. One minute I’d have a decent amount saved and then the next moment it would be gone. I made decent money working part time as a college student, but I didn’t take the time to focus on saving. If I would have saved more I would have been more prepared for a couple situations that I dealt with in my mid-twenties.

Paid more attention in class

The third thing that I would have done is paid more attention in certain classes such as accounting and economics. When I took those classes I wasn’t focused and to be honest, I was a bit immature. I was happy to pass both of those classes with C’s. Looking back, I missed out on learning some valuable information in the classes.

Pay on student loans

In college, I didn’t take the maximum amount of student loans out. A few times I didn’t even need to take out the loans, but I did it anyway to get a small refund. I worked a part time job and had a couple of side hustles during this time. I should have applied some of my earnings from those gigs to my student loan balance. I didn’t do that, though, I basically ignored them. That should not have happened. If I would have paid just a little bit back then my debt would be lower than it is today.

Got serious about money

The final thing that I would have done differently in my early 20’s is that I would have gotten serious about understanding money. I figured that I would always have it and be able to make a quick buck so I never took it as serious as I should have. As I stated earlier, I didn’t save enough and that came back to haunt me in my latter twenties. I also didn’t think about how I would consistently make money after college until I had already graduated. After being out of school nearly 8 years, I can say that things are finally on the right track.

Is there anything that you would have done differently with your money in your 20’s?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 SavvyFinancialLatina January 13, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Most people in their early 20s are not money conscious. I was always very frugal, but I wish I had known so many things then that I know now. My advice to an 18 year old. Don’t go into debt, or if you really need to for school, then try to minimize as much as possible. Don’t buy a car, use public transportation, a bike, anything. Cars are expensive to maintain. As soon as you get a full time job: max out 401K and IRA. You never get a chance again to max out those annual limits. Pay off debt. Buy appreciating assets. Save, save, save.

2 James January 16, 2016 at 2:13 am

Thank goodness I’m aware of all this stuff now. I started getting serious when I was in my teens and it has served me EXTREMELY well. When I was in college, I saw tons of people spend $50-100 every single weekend on clubs and alcohol. When I asked them how much money they made, it wouldn’t be much more than what they drank. That’s just ridiculous to me. Even in Napoleon Hill’s book, “Law of Success”, he talks about how much money people spend on alcohol. So $50 per week x 52 weeks = $2600. Compound that over a lifetime and you’ve literally pissed away hundreds of thousands, if not millions.

3 kg January 17, 2016 at 12:25 pm

Going to college wasn’t really emphasized by my family so when I got out of high school I just continued working. I found out that you need more skills to get better pay so went part-time to technical college while working loading trucks for UPS. Lived very frugally, especially by today’s standards. Graduated from technical college, got married, and started a job with more opportunity that paid for me to go to school as long as I took work related classes and got good grades while working 45-55 hours per week. After about 10 years got my BS and got promoted. Always participated in 401k plan but had no clue what I was doing. Lost 2 years worth of wages twice. Anyway I wish I would have learned about modern portfolio theory (but maybe it wasn’t around then), the stock market and the various methods of investing in it when I was in high school instead of my 50s. Also I wished I would have started buying rental homes in my 30’s instead of late 40s. I could have bought a rental every 2-3 years with my salary but it would have been hard to manage while working full time. Right now I continue to build our rental business so we can work in that after my husband retires from his physically demanding machining job. I can see the wear and tear on his body. Hopefully he can retire in his early 60s, however there is at least one guy still working there who is 70.

4 Investment Hunting January 17, 2016 at 7:19 pm

I would have invested 50% of my income from 20-40 years of age. I’d be retired now.

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