The following is a guest post from Martin of Studenomics, where he’s totally focused on creating financial freedom by 30!
I’ve been writing about personal finance for five years now. I’ve explored every topic from big wins to frugality to real estate. There are times where I discuss more advanced topics. Then sometimes I run into a friend and they want to hear about getting started.
I know that most of you are past the stage of getting started so we won’t discuss the basics. Instead we will refresh on the big wins.
The one thing that we’re all delusional about is that we all think we are so unique. We are when it comes to individuality, but we’re not so unique when it comes to life decisions. We all get married, buy a place, and settle down.
Today I wanted to open up a discussion on the big wins and thinking outside of the box.
What are the biggest wins that you need to tackle?
I know, I know. Anyone that’s single and giving advice here is a total hypocrite. I’m single and nowhere remotely close to being married. The biggest commitment I made in the last year was to my pro wrestling gym.
According to Dr. Phil:
“60 percent of marriages for couples between the ages of 20 and 25 end in divorce. 50 percent of all marriages in which the brides are 25 or older result in a failed marriage.”
What does this all mean? It just means that life doesn’t always go exactly as planned. Nobody gets married expecting to get divorced. Nobody wants to be in a failed marriage. Things happen.
Key takeaway: What I’m trying to say is that you don’t have to get married if you’re not feeling it.
It doesn’t matter what age you’re at or what your parents pressure you to do. You don’t have to do anything! Stay single if you want. Wait to get to know your partner. Turning 30 doesn’t automatically mean that you must get married. I’ve seen friends get married just because they feel pressure from family. That’s the worst reason to get married, spend thousands of dollars on a wedding, and make a lifelong commitment.
Buying A Home:
“I need to buy a place.”
I get this all of the time from friends. But why? Why do you need to buy a place? There usually isn’t a good response. They just feel that renting is throwing money away and now that they’re working, they need to buy a place.
That’s not how it works! Check out my post on the next vacation time principle. This will help you figure out if you’re really ready to buy a place.
Key point: You don’t have to buy if you’re not ready or if you don’t know where you want to live.
There’s hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake here! Don’t do anything until you’re 100% certain. You must have your income, savings, job, and lifestyle in place first.
Switching Careers/Making More Money:
This is huge. According to this article most graduates are in for a reality check.
“There is a misbalance between what students are expecting to earn as the starting salary versus what the employers are willing to pay as the starting salary.” — Kim Miller
We all expect to be making huge money in our late-20s/early-30s. This doesn’t always work out and we end up in debt because we can’t afford all of the things that we crave so badly.
Key thought: What are you doing to improve your income?
Find a way to make more money. This can be through freelancing, working towards a raise, upgrading your skills, or switching jobs. The ball is in your court my friend.
What’s your lifestyle like? Is it affordable?
I’ve seen many friends go broke due to unrealistic lifestyles. We all want to have a nice car, expensive clothing, and to be eating out every single day. However, is it always possible? Sadly, the answer is no. You have to work to create the lifestyle that you crave. You can’t just look at others and expect to have the same.
Key summary: Try to live a lifestyle that’s sustainable in the long run and makes sense.
If you’re not living your dream lifestyle right now, you can easily turn this around with some planning. This dream lifestyle also depends on your situation.
What do you want out of life? What’s your ideal schedule?
Work towards creating this. Don’t just expect it to come to you.
Those are the four biggest wins that you need to have in mind as you’re trying to save money and get ahead in life. You don’t have to focus on all four at once. Just try to keep them in mind and reflect on them once in a while.