Home » 5 Things I Would Tell 25 Year Old Me About Money Habits

5 Things I Would Tell 25 Year Old Me About Money Habits

Our mindset can do a number on your pocket. The trick is to start building the habits and stay consistent.

Photo by Microsoft 365 on Unsplash

I never considered myself someone to be careless with money, heavily reliant on credit cards or a member of the “charge it up and figure it out later” squad. But I am guilty of not making decisions from an abundance mindset. 

In my 20s I knew about budgeting, having an emergency fund and the concept of investing. I just didn’t think it was something I had the capacity to focus on given I needed a roof over my head, food in my stomach and what was left over had to pay Uncle Sam. My limiting belief was that I wasn’t smart enough to entertain anything beyond making sure my bills were paid.

I saw a meme on Instagram the other day that said “You meet your 18 year old self, you’re allowed 3 words, what would you say?” Immediately what came to mind was “Bitcoin. Sell 2021”. Now I giggle as I write this but seriously, I began to ask myself: 

what would I tell my younger self to debunk some of the beliefs I had about money at the time? 

 And this is what I came up with (obviously more than 3 words) but who am I kidding, my younger self would want all the deets.

1. Life happens, be prepared — Have an emergency fund

It was hard to wrap my head around having a savings account when I first started working almost a decade ago but looking back it was never about the amount but the consistency. 

 Get a high yield savings account(HYSA) and start saving each month, even if it’s $5. Just start. It’s amazing how things compound overtime. Life can come at us fast and expecting the unexpected is one of the few guarantees we have. Do your nervous system a favor and plan the best you can.

2. Investing is not for rich people


I always thought investing was just for wealthy people. Because who else could afford Amazon stock when it was selling at $2500 a piece? But thank God investing has become more accessible over the years. We can now buy fractional shares and not have to pay someone a hefty commission to do it for us. 

Open a brokerage account and again even if it’s $5, just start. Take an interest in learning about stocks, index funds, ETFs etc. We’re building the habits and training ourselves to be consistent. 

Also, I would tell me to never invest what you wouldn’t be comfortable losing. The bills still have to be paid and life still needs to be lived. So make sure you’re not gambling your entire savings away. Investing is just one option to make your money make you more money. And that’s how I think it should be treated, as one option.

3. Pay yourself first


One of the first things I learned about budgeting was to plan for every $1 I get or it’ll find something to do.

I’ve found some people get very anxious about budgeting. The idea of sitting down and looking at their finances sends their nervous system into overdrive. But as painful as it is to analyze where your money is going, it does get easier over time.

The anxiety is in the unknown. If you make a plan and assign each $1 a job, budgeting get’s easier. You might even have fun with it.

 Pay yourself first, automate.

“The one way to create lasting financial change that will help you build real wealth over time is to make your financial plan automatic”

David Bach, The Automatic Millionaire.

When that check comes in monthly, send some money to your savings, investing accounts etc. Automating means you don’t have to think about it every month which means you won’t see it and find some other use for it.

4. Non-negotiable “luxuries” — Don’t put everything off until tomorrow


Okay. Let’s talk about this concept that we should live a frugal miserable existence today in order to live a rich life tomorrow. Problem is tomorrow is not guaranteed. So while I’m all for planning and saving for a rainy day, I also believe in treating yourself in the present. If coffee is your thing plan for the Starbucks, Dunkin’ or boutique coffee spot in your routine. You love to travel? Make plans to see the world. Are you a self care girlie? Carve out some spa time. I’m all for the non-negotiable “luxuries”, it gives us something to look forward to.

Now I’m not saying to go wild. We may not be able to get that coffee x3 a day or jet off to Europe 5x a year but we don’t have to put life off until ‘things are perfect”. We should be able to enjoy things once in a while. Because perfection doesn’t exist and we’ll never be 100% satisfied.

5. Your Income is not limited to the 9 to 5. Mix things up


I don’t know about you but growing up, I always thought there was one path. Go to school, pick a career, get a job, grow in job, work hard, make money, get promoted and make more money. Then rinse and repeat until I retire with my $1B funded 401K(one could dream). 

But what I’ve learned is that there is more than one way to do things. Also the individuals whose lifestyle I’ve admired, always seem to have their hands in multiple streams of income. So could it be that this one path mindset is just designed to keep us stuck and on the hamster wheel until we die? I think so.

Now hear me please, I’m not saying a 9 to 5 job doesn’t have its benefits. But I’d also tell myself to look into supplementing that income.

 My beliefs about money is a journey and will continue to evolve over time. So above all else I would tell younger me to take things a day at a time, seek knowledge and help, learn as much as you can and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

When our approach comes from an abundance mindset, we start to build habits that compound over time. It may not be the get rich quick scheme and does require a whole lot of patience, but there’s nothing like a strong foundation.

“The foundation stone of wealth accumulation is defense, and the defense should be anchored by budgeting and planning.”

Thomas J. Stanley Ph.D, William D. Danko Ph.D. — The Millionaire Next Door

What would you share with your younger self about your money beliefs and habits?

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Also quick disclaimer:
I am not a financial expert and the information I’ve shared in this article is not intended as financial advice but for informational purposes only. Please do your due diligence and seek professional financial advice before implementing any advice, information, or suggestions. Thank you.

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