My Money at 20

by Lindy on November 17, 2010

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I’ve come to realize that several of the twenty-something finance bloggers have their collective shiz together are really put together.

Here I am, a proud member of the dirty thirties, and these cats have way more cash than I do.

So I started thinking about the money from my twenties, and where it all went.  I was actually a pretty good little saver back then.  Here’s the breakdown.

1. Post-college travel to find myself = $6500.

Right after college, I took a temporary job, lived at home with my parents, and managed to save the above amount of money in six short months (no Starbucks for me).

With this money I backpacked around Europe with three of my dearest friends for three months.  And upon returning home I embarked on a Great American Road Trip with another friend for one month more.  And yes, I’m pretty sure I did find myself, at least in part.

A twenty-something me sporting the road trip babushka somewhere in North Dakota

2. Education for second career = $7000

After traveling, I took a job as a secretary for an advertising agency.  I quickly learned that A.) I loved the design world, and B.) I hated being a secretary.  And I’d already decided that my bachelor’s degree (social work) was a no-user (I found that out while traveling).  So back to school for me it was.  This time – interior design.

3. Moving across the country = $4500

Shortly after graduating from design school, A-Rob and I tied the knot and moved 2000 miles away from home (more on that story here, in case you missed it).  $4500 was our bill from the moving company.

4. Going to grad school in an expensive city = $????

All I know is, I’m sure we would have a lot more in the bank if we’d stayed home and worked.

5.  Moving back across the country = $4700

A little inflation when we moved back home, and this time with more stuff in the form of baby gear.

6. Buying a house right when we moved back, which happened to be at the peak of the market = $????

When we moved away from Phoenix, houses could be had in the $120K to $150K range.  A few of our friends even made some nice equity in just a few years and were able to trade up.  When we moved back, home prices had doubled.  And that’s when we bought.  More on that another time.

So that about covers my/our major twenties expenses.  Excluding the question marks, If I’d chosen to not travel, not switch careers, and not move across country (twice), we’d have at least $22,700 in the bank.  It’s kind of funny to think about it all in one sum like that.

But would we have given up any of these things if we could do it again?  Nah.

And kudos to the 20-somethings rocking their financials while still living out their dream lives.  You all are my heroes.

PS: This post was inspired by Me in Million’s October Net Worth update.

How did you spend your 20’s monies? (Don’t you love that alliteration?)

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  • Still in my 20s, but I didn’t get my act together until 23. It was a hard and bumpy road towards turning my actions into habits, and now it just seems so simple and reasonable that it’s ridiculous. I feel like I’m still making a mistake because I’ve made so many!

    • Lindy

      The important thing is learning from those mistakes and not making them again. I read your blog so I can say I think you’re doing A-okay.

  • They aren’t over, but my twenties haven’t been nearly as exciting as yours. Maybe it’s not too late to find myself. I hope I’m in Europe.

    • Lindy

      Well…you probably have more money in the bank than we do :).
      PS: “Finding myself” was also a little bit of “I don’t want to grow up and get a real job yet so I’m just going to travel.”

  • So I guess I’m in my ‘funky forties’!
    In my twenties I did not save but I didn’t have any debt or spend much. When I turned 27 I got my first credit card (for emergencies) with a $500 credit limit. I paid it off as soon as there was a balance. It was my ‘dirty thirties’ I went consumer credit crazy.
    Fifteen years ago I traveled all over the country in my $150 Dodge Omni by myself with no cell phone or credit card. Who knew that would be considered reckless in 2010!

    • Lindy

      That IS reckless. Too funny that we somehow all survived in the world before there were cell phones. When we traveled, we still used pay phones to call home.

  • In our early 20s we were living on beans and rice and beans. So we had our acts together, for graduate students, but I’m happy that we’re not in that situation anymore. Once we had a nice amount saved up, we loosened up, which was nice. Once we had real jobs and had settled, we loosened up even more, which is also nice.

  • That post-college trip must have been fantastic. I took a 3-week trip to Europe in my late 20’s, staying in hotels @$150/night. We “shouldn’t” have taken the trip, since the total cost of the trip was a big chunk of my net worth at the time.

    Did that make sense from a financial point of view? Not at all. No way.

    Do I regret anything about it? Actually, no. Not at all. No way.

    I actually look at as some of the most fun I have ever had. This coming from someone who’s all about maximizing the income-minus-expense gap, in order to increase savings. Sometimes you have to seize the moment in life, even for exploring like that.

    • Lindy

      Yes, it was pretty groovy. We were more on the $35/day budget though. I’m sure our $10/night hostels were not as quaint! Sometimes you just have to do the things that don’t make financial sense…especially when you’re young and can claim you didn’t know any better. ;-)

  • In my late 30s and FINALLY trying to get my act together. Better later than never, right? Inspiring post, BTW! I want to write something like this over the holidays. I really enjoyed reading it!

  • Sorry… I’m so behind in commenting on blogs! I’m glad that my post inspired you, but I’m inspired by your twentites! I’d love to backpack in Europe, buy a house, travel across the county… The truth is, I’m scared. Having all of that money is awesome, but not if you’re afraid to spend it. Food for thought? And potential blog fodder?

    • Lindy

      That is food for thought. It goes to show that we all have our own weird things, don’t we? PS: I hope I inspired you to spend a little in the same way you inspire me to save a little.

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