Because I am in my 20s, its completely normal that I give life hacks/ tips to my fellow 20 somethings but if you are in your teens or above 20 and feel like this advice can apply to your experience, then please feel free to use any of these to resolve issues you can relate to this post.
I am going to tell you about creating financial stability in your 20s not becoming rich; maybe, Mark Zuckerberg’s page may assist you with that. We assume a lot of responsibilities in our 20s, this is the stage of our lives when we set ourselves up for the future. In my personal opinion, if you don’t learn how to make, spend and save money at this stage then theres no hope.
I personally struggled with financial discipline for a long time, until I made the decision to change my attitude towards money and this is what Ive learned so far.
1. KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GETTING IT WRONG
Is it buying unnecessary things? Is it spending on things you don’t need? Once you pin point what your triggers are or your weaknesses, the easier it will be to set up this financial diet you are about to embark on. You can not fix a problem if you don’t know what the problem is.
Knowing where you stumble will assist you the most in setting up your financial goals.
2. KNOW THE WHY AND HOW?
You need to establish a purpose of your financial diet. Ask yourself why you want to save, is it long term? short term? or a lifetime of saving. Education, a house or financial independence. I can not say a car because that isn’t an investment; unless you use that car to run a business that generates you an income, as soon as you drive out the dealership that car will depreciate in value.
Once you know why you want to save, from here it will be easier to establish how. By researching and educating yourself on options available to you from any financial provider of your choice.
I know that some people are too intimidated to walk into banks and ask questions about investing because they feel that its only reserved to certain types of income. This is not true. Banks will always be happy to welcome your money into their use. Go to the nearest bank and you’ll be assisted with options.
3. GO ON A FINANCIAL DIET
” Watch what you eat”? well, “watch what you spend”. I did it, I had every excuse in the book, I would walk through the mall after work and have an encouraging reason why I should buy something I don’t need. Shoes, Bags, Hair extensions, eating out everyday (been there done that) and one day I asked myself to just stop! I slowly learned ways to cut out my bad spending habits, I avoid the mall unless I really need it.
With a financial diet you will slowly notice what your bad habits are and you will slowly cut them out. Plan your social outings, shopping or any expense. Audit your expenses monthly to see what you’re spending your money on, keep receipts or track your bank account, take notes of what you didn’t need. trust me you’ll remember on your next shopping list.
Once you’ve made a big step forward, for all the things you cut out or almost bought take that money and put it in your savings because it means instead of being ready to spend it, you’re ready to save it.
This money Diary I purchased from Mr Price home ( approx R 70) has really helped me on my financial diet. Its so easy to use and plan with.
4. MONEY IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
I must admit that this one is probably the hardest thing you will tackle during these changes. Its sensitive.
We need to understand that the way to treat money is something we learned in our childhood. Either by observation, education or exposure. You’ll hear women say things like ” I am a shopper just like my mom” its not something thats passed on genetically, these are just habits we picked up along the way! So yes you’re making excuses.
In a culture like ours and I mean African/ Black culture, many adults don’t give financial advice. Teaching you to budget or about investments. All we are told is either ” you need to work hard and support your family” as a man or ” you must marry a rich man so you can be stable and help your family” to girls. Our society has already set the financial responsibilities to a man and dependence to a woman. And this attitude has somewhat created a chaos (story for another day) I am just glad things have slowly changed. Now its about changing mentalities of family members, partners, friends and children.
Black tax is real. Its not a myth.
You were raised in a home where all the best was wanted for you, and it is a duty for someone to provide for a child. The surprise here is that there is an unspoken arrangement with this child that they “must” one day take care of you. Its not asked of you. Its expected.
I have many friends whom under the pressure of their family have fallen into deep debt and financial troubles. This happened because you are over come by guilt at the thought of saying NO. You think after all that was done for me I MUST help. So you go and get a loan you can not afford; to buy a TV, a car or a house for a relative.
Let me tell you today, there is nothing in this world like giving from your heart. When you give from your heart you don’t feel like you are left without.
You have a responsibility to yourself first and foremost. You getting in debt will not help you or them. Accumulating a vast debt at a young age will leave you broke and unable to manage your finances.
You need to devise a plan on discussing what you can and can not do regardless of all the history that ties you together. People who love you want to see you grow and succeed not broke while they live well from your hard earned money.
It does happen that you have friends who believe you’re strapped with cash.
To some extent its our fault, the yes man in us won’t let us grow. We also build an image that says that we are okay and most often we avoid talking about money issues in our friendships.
So some friends will borrow money from you and maybe not give back, or give back after you’ve exhausted your fuel and energy running after them. This will cause issues in a friendship because the other party will feel like you have and don’t want to share thus being selfish and unworthy of their friendship.
we are all working hard to make it out here, the least you can do is appreciate when I can give you and understand when I can’t.
The best way is to seat down with your friend and tell them why you feel this is unfair and why you’ve made the decision not to assist them financially anymore. This way you will be clear and you will resolve any issues not previously discussed.
A little story, when I first met my partner I was going through that spending stage and here I was involved with a very thrifty man. I must admit that he very much helped me with realising that I had an unhealthy way of spending money, all thanks to him I am on my way to being thrifty myself.
The point of upbringing comes at play here. This is probably the most difficult thing to tackle in a relationship but it must be done. Because you both don’t spend money the same way. From the moment you get serious get down to discussing money, set boundaries so that there is no misunderstanding.
Approach this with care to avoid anyone being hurt. Especially if you plan on getting married, learn how your partner spend money and make suggestions on making a few changes to some bad habits, get help from a financial adviser if you have to.
The more you educate yourself about money, the better you will be at using it, saving it and talking about it. Head to your nearest bank and enquire about options that are suitable to you.
Just remember that you will pass this education on to your kids, so that our mentality towards money changes.
Until my next blog