I’m doing NaNoWriMo again this year, and on the forums, there are age group message boards – for the 20-somethings, 30-somethings, 40-somethings, etc. I don’t frequent the 20’s forum because it’s often filled with very young college kids who I feel very distant from, but I popped in and there was a thread asking if anyone was 29. I’m 3 months from that mark, so I checked it out. It was fun to see everyone talking about how college seemed so long ago, and someone started talking about what they would tell their 20-year-old self.
That got me to thinking. What would you tell your ten-years-younger self? There are a whole lot of things I would tell myself during my freshman year of college, and of course, not all of them would relate to money. One of them would probably be “Hey, go talk to those loud girls on the other end of the hallway, because they’re going to be your best friends. Don’t wait til May to be their friend. Do it now. Oh, and ditch the boyfriend now. Trust me.”
But in terms of finances, I was pretty smart ten years ago. Well, I wasn’t dumb at least. I had a credit card, but I always paid it off. That was the smart part. The less smart part was that I wasn’t really saving money. I had a small on-campus job all through college, and for the most part, I spent what I made. That was my fun money. I had a savings account that my parents had set up for me as a child, where I put half of all my birthday and Christmas money, so I thought I was set. I certainly didn’t have any thoughts about retirement. I should have been saving, even just a tenth of what I earned. I would have ended up with a small cushion to get me started when I graduated. It wouldn’t have been much, but something is better than nothing.
What about you? What would you tell your ten-years-younger self? I was in college. Maybe you were in your first job, or well seated in your third job. Maybe you were in your 40’s and maybe you were 10. But what do you wish you knew ten years ago?