I was in my 20's during a very prosperous time in this country. I had no problem finding work, and since I didn't have children, I worked two jobs until the time I was 25. I also was able to put a large down-payment on my first townhouse back in 2001.
My biggest regret from this time period is that I didn't do any saving and investing for my future. Since I was young, and rainy days were few and far between, I completely lived in the moment and enjoyed purchasing thing after thing, with the justification that I had plenty of future ahead of me to save for, but I was entitled to enjoy myself since I was working so hard.
Had I just saved my money from my second jobs those five years, and invested the money in a simple money market account, I would have netted over $50,000. A nice chunk of change for whatever rainy days may come. Years later, with hindsight and maturity on my side, I would rather have the security of that nest egg sitting in a bank somewhere than the memory of the stuff like phones, designer jeans, rolling car leases over to drive a sweet ride every two years, eating in restaurants every night and all of the other things I squandered that money on.
These days there's a whole different perspective on money that does come with that maturity and hindsight. I'm in my mid-thirties now with three children, and rainy days come fast and furious sometimes. I just paid off my car loan, and I have no intention of buying a new car for some time. That kind of thing isn't as important to me as taking that $400 payment I'll have free every month and dividing it into the kid's college funds and having that nest egg in the bank. I shop sales, and coupon with the best of them, as well as keeping the purchasing of 'things' in perspective. My phone is a first generation smart-phone, and sure you want the flashy new thing on the market, but it doesn't everything I need it to do, and the money it would cost to upgrade goes to soccer fees and dance tuition. No longer is the lure of, "ooh pretty," what it once was.
So to the young people out there living in the moment and having fun with their money, I say go for it, but for every dollar you spend living in the now, put one in the bank for later. Life changes pretty quickly, and you don't want to start the next phase of your life with any regrets.
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- Banking & Budgeting