In your 20s you will probably look around once a week and wonder “why the hell are me and my friends so broke?” The reality is that we have been conditioned by society to believe we will leave college with a four year degree and from there it will be smooth sailing and that we can be anything we set our minds to.
So when we’re faced with the harsh reality of adulthood like paying for our own cellphone bills, rent, groceries, car payments, etc., it can feel like we will never be financially comfortable, and it can take a serious toll on our self-worth and drive. We figure “this is how it will always be, so why bother?” as we eat ramen noodles out of a mug for the fifth night in a row. If you currently find yourself in your 20s and you’re broke, please know that you’re not alone and that you’re currently gaining skills that will set you up for a better life.
1. You’re paying your dues.
When you’re in your early 20s, no one is willing to give you a full adult salary because they want you to prove your worth to the company. As harsh as it sounds, people in their 20s have a tendency to be flighty when it comes to employment. As long as you’re working hard and putting your time into the company you choose to work for, you’ll notice that as the raises come in and you move up the ladder your wallet hurts less and less by the end of the month.
2. You’re learning the art of hustling.
Being broke in your 20s lights a fire under your ass like only the thought “can I pay my car insurance this month?” can. The reality is, even though we’ve been raised to expect an 8-hour work day, it doesn’t always pay the bills. Sometimes we have to explore a side-hustle in order to make ends meet or pick up odd-jobs along the way to make sure you’re meeting your deadlines. You’re gaining an amazing amount of work-ethic even when you’re frustrated as hell about not being able to go out all the time.
3. You’re learning to live without.
When you’re broke and not spending your student loan money on Yankee Candles (yes, I have done this) you begin to realize what’s the most important to you, and what things you actually don’t need in your life. Two years out of college I’ve realized that I don’t need to eat out for every meal, despite my desire to. It’s also taught me what I absolutely can’t live without and has forced me to create a budget.
4. You’re learning to push yourself beyond your comfort zone.
I had previously mentioned a “side-hustle” in case your regular 9-5 isn’t cutting it because they’re paying you peanuts. Since we’re all in our prime, it’s totally possible to buckle down and hit the pavement hard. It may mean working every night until 10pm handing out lattes to grumpy business men, but now is the time you have to push yourself and see just what you’re capable of.
5. You’re spending money on making connections.
A large amount of my friends complain that the reason they’re so broke is because they’re always hitting up happy hours with potential business connections.
If you’re spending your money going out and meeting new people, keep in mind that your network is growing and this is absolutely crucial when it comes to expanding in whatever career field you’ve chosen. Sure, it may suck now to be broke, but 5 years down the line when your connections are able to help you out, it will seem like a decent effort.
6. You aren’t settled yet.
It’s okay to be broke in your early 20s because at the end of the day we’re still trying to figure things out! You might be broke because you’ve bounced around from city to city, seeing which one works the best for you. At this age we’re still figuring out how to balance a budget and still enjoy our youth.
If you’re broke and punishing yourself for it, keep in mind that this is exactly what your early 20s are all about. Struggling through life in a way that will eventually build you up into the responsible, financially-stable adult you were always meant to be. Hang in there, you’re not alone.