The 20 Best Financial Lessons I Learned in My 20s

As a financial planner who started my own business before I was 30, I've learned a ton of money lessons. These are my favorites -- so far.

This month marks the last month of my 20s. As I embark on my 30s, I'm looking forward to the many lessons, experiences and adventures that lie ahead, but I'm simultaneously prompted to take pause and reflect on all that I've learned in my 20s. As a financial planner who started my own business before the age of 30, I've experienced many money lessons over the past 10 years (and I have no doubt that many more are in store). Below are the top 20 financial lessons I'm taking away from my 20s (in no particular order):

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As a part of the middle class I feel a need to he honest here. A big part of the trouble has been our general inability to make smart, long term financial decisions… 401k included. Too many of my friends have no plan for retirement, and no clue how to manage their own retirements. They save nothing, have no return on capital, and are completely financially illiterate. I took it upon myself to change this, and the effect has been pretty astounding over just 1 year. The best changes I made to save were:

1. Starting a small business that did not take much startup capital. It doesn't make a lot yet, but we are already capital positive and hopefully it will supplement my savings and maybe income during retirement.

2.I put the maximum amount amount in my 401k that my employer will match. For me this is 5% for a 4% match. Experts recommend that you save at least 15% of your income every month. I am not sure that I am all the way there yet but I am getting closer.

3.A lot of my expenses, I discovered, were transportation costs. I cut back on driving, got myself a bus/metro pass, lowered my insurance rates to almost nothing (just $25/month with Insurance Panda), and I now only spend $25/month to fill up at the tank too by taking advantage of apps like Waze and Gasbuddy.

4. I cut way back on eating out. I can save over $100 a week most weeks, and I have been eating healthier and losing weight to top it off. I save the difference with automatic weekly withdrawals from my checking account.

If we in the middle class focus on saving more and spending less, we will have money to invest and the disparity won't be so large. Especially because the rich won't be feasting upon our wasteful spending habits.

May 21 2014 at 7:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Steve Jobs and I were born a year apart. On paper the technology I own makes me worth, well, more than Steve Jobs. Sure, your finances are important, ( yes be careful with your money), but don't get distracted by them. There's a much bigger picture. Thankfully there's an instruction manual called the Holly Bible. It gives you wisdom from God. Read and follow it and you'll be happy and healthy and live a good solid long life.

May 21 2014 at 5:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I learned late in the 1950s to invest in the stock market and I can tell you I never dreamed I could accumulate the amount of wealth I ended up with, a word to the wise is sufficient, don't let fear deter your quest for financial success, invest, invest, invest.

May 21 2014 at 4:31 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I only needed one lesson, get out of the military because dying for $243.00 per month, and $54.00 combat pay was a joke.

May 21 2014 at 2:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sam54ct's comment

At that pay rate it must have been during the Vietnam War. I enlisted in '68, received a commission in '76, retired in '88, spent a year doing various jobs till I latched on to a decent one. Worked there for 10 years and retired for good in '99 at age 51. In the early '90's finally admitted to myself the reason I had been living from paycheck to paycheck for 18+ years. After the divorce my bank account started going up and is still going up to this day.

May 22 2014 at 12:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply