When I reflect on my life, there are moments that make me really happy and proud, and there are some that make me cringe. There is time I wasted and there is time well spent. There are things I wish I had done and things I regret doing. I’m going to share some of the moments with you that had profound impact on me.
First, I didn’t complete college. From the vantage point of my early 20’s, I didn’t appreciate the opportunity it would afford me in my later 20’s, 30’s, 40’s. It never occurred to me that I would be the first cut from a job opportunity because I didn’t have a degree, that my resume would get “filed” and I’d never get the interview. While, I’ve been able to obtain employment, and I’ve had some fabulous jobs, it may have been easier if I had completed my degree.
Second, I smoked. Please don’t ever, ever do that. I know it’s not fashionable now like it once was. But still, please don’t ever do it. It is an expensive habit that threatens your health and the health of those you love. It’s stinky. It creates wealth for people you’ll never meet, who don’t love you and won’t care if you get sick.
Third, I carried credit card debt. If you can’t pay for it in full, you can’t afford it. Rather than buy now and pay it off in two or three months, save for two or three months then buy. You get what you want without driving debt. The credit card companies would love for you to carry debt; that creates wealth for them. And they are unforgiving if you are ever in a bind.
Fourth, I didn’t take advantage of the time I had at an early age to move my life forward. I didn’t start really working until my mid 30’s. If I had started in earnest in my 20’s as you have now, some of the storms life threw at me would have been easier to navigate.
I share this with you because I want so much for you. I love seeing the woman you are becoming. I’m so proud of you! You’ve completed college, you have a great job making great money and you don’t smoke! You are privileged to have a strong start to create and stake the future you want for yourself.
I know that the future seems far off in the distance, but I promise you that in the blink of an eye, you’ll be walking down the aisle, buying your first home, celebrating your first child.
Living with financial discipline now, saving and investing, will only make your future brighter.