Attention 18-34 year olds: this post is for you. If you’re lazy when it comes to money, regardless of your age, this post is also for you.
Today we’re talking FINANCES, which in my experience is never been a fun thing to think about or talk about. At least, until recently. A few months ago we began taking a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course through our church. While I won’t go so far as to say I’m having fun taking the class, I will say it’s been an extremely helpful tool as we try to make smart decisions about our financial future.
The truth is, if you’re part of Gen Y (aka The Millennial Generation), you’re climbing an uphill battle when it comes to finances.
According to this recent Atlantic article, Gen Y is the “unluckiest generation” because we we’ve come into the working world during a terrible recession. On top of that, many of us were encouraged to take out massive school debts, or “good debt”, because we’d surely get incredible jobs upon graduation.
For a lot of Gen Y adults, finding incredible (high paying) jobs has been hard. Until Anna arrived I worked in several different marketing positions. Guys, I worked my butt off to move up the ranks. I stayed late. I learned a ton. I got great annual reviews and became a manager with a sweet corner office with windows. I did not, however, receive any substantial raises. If you look at my degree, the hours I worked, and the field, I should have been making a lot more income than I did. I’m not telling you this to complain or gain sympathy but rather to prove a point. The Atlantic article is right: it’s been a tough six years in the job market.
Of course our generation has many things going for us, the largest being TIME. Our parents’ generation is nearing retirement. Many Baby Boomers are stressed about their finances because they don’t have many working years to earn back what they’ve lost during the recession. We, on the other hand, can start making smart decisions NOW.
“If you do the things you need to do when you need to do them, then someday you can do the things you want to do wthen you want to do them.” -Zig Ziglar
The biggest goals for Jonathan and I at this point in our life are: paying off law school debts, saving for retirement and our children’s college funds, and (eventually, maybe) figuring out how to buy another home. (We have no plans to leave our current house–I love it and it works for us–but as we add children to our family we could outgrow the space.)
Until taking the Dave Ramsey course I hadn’t given much thought to retirement or college saving. Now I’m realizing how much these goals need to be a priority, not an after thought. If we make good decisions now we’ll be secure when we’re older PLUS we’ll be able to bless other people by giving money away to those who are truly in need. How fun would that be?
Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” -John Wesley
I think the most difficult part about taking a Dave Ramsey course is realizing that in order to become financially secure, it means delaying gratification. When I was a child my dad used to always ask: “Is that new (shirt, toy, purse) a need or a want?” When I truly ask myself this question, I usually realize most of the items I think I need are actually wants. One of the reasons I hate budgeting is that during this period of my life I need to make some tough and disciplined choices.
“One definition of maturity is learning to delay pleasure. Children do what feels good; adults devise a plan and follow it.” – Dave Ramsey
Other topics Dave covers that might be particularly helpful for some of you:
Having a $1,000 beginner emergency fund
Paying off all debts
Saving 3-6 months of expenses for larger emergencies
Buying the right kind of insurance
Knowing when to buy a house (and when not to!)
So here’s my point: if you’re reading this post and you’re not making disciplined and smart decisions with your money…please sign up for this course. Especially if you have massive school debt or credit card debt. Especially if you’re trying to decide whether to buy a house. Especially if you have children and haven’t bought life insurance. Don’t wait until you’re 30 or 40. Take interest and action now.
I think Jonathan and I have made a lot of good choices with our money in the last few years–he’s really good about reading, researching and budgeting–but we could have been even more disciplined in application. Our generation can’t afford to be lazy when it comes to finances.
With that I should also admit that in our relationship I’ve always been the one to drag my feet about sticking to a budget. I actually convinced Jonathan to take this course because I knew it’d be the only way I might break bad habits. My sweet husband gave up his spring softball league to attend with me, and I think our marriage and future will be stronger because of the sacrifice. Thanks, my love.