I Need Advice: 5 Ethical Decisions For Your 18 Year Old Self6 min read
This #TableTalkThursday event was held on the 14th of May 2020 and was co-hosted by Money Life Mentor.
Becoming 18 years old is an exciting time for any teenager. You are just beginning to enter the adult world and explore the freedoms of being independent from your parents. But, you might not always make the best decisions. Maybe it comes from your parents avoiding money advice topics, or because your priorities are focused on the present instead of the future.
So, we asked our community what advice they wish they had been told when they were 18-years-old. But, no matter your age, this advice can still apply to you. You can change your habits today by acknowledging your past mistakes and vowing to do better in the future.
Common advice words throughout the community was to start saving immediately.
Advice #1: Learn To Save Now!
Learn how to save now! Save a portion of each paycheck, even if it’s only a few dollars.@dailymoneydiary
One helpful way to save money is to put a certain amount in a savings account at regular intervals. If you save $5/week, at the end of the year, you would have accumulated $260. Another option is to save a percentage of any money you receive. If you save 10% of your paycheck, after 10 months, you would have 1 month of income saved as an emergency fund.
Pay your savings account first, if possible. Good advice is to save after you have paid for your needs. There are several ways to store your saved money to help grow your savings. A great first step is a high yield savings account. Each month, you will earn a little bit in interest and it gets added to your account. The more you save, the more you earn.
Advice #2: Put Your Money In High Yield Instruments
Save all of the money that I got for allowance and put it into a cd back then when it was paying 6%…@15and30
The best savings advice for you may change over time. You might want to lock your money into a CD when the yield is high, but only as long as you are sure you will not need the money for the time you keep it in a CD. There’s also retirement accounts, such as IRAs and 401Ks. The earlier your start putting money into your retirement accounts, the more the money will earn you in the long run. Then, there is the ever intimidating stock market.
Advice #3: Invest Your Money DIY Style
Learn about investing DIY style now, and talk to others about it.@wellbeancoaching
If you’ve never put money into the stock market because you are afraid of losing it all or believe you need to have lots of money to put into it, there are several ways to learn how the stock market works with small sums. Practicing with a tiny amount of money will help you become comfortable with the stock market and allow you to make mistakes that won’t hurt you terribly.
Knowing about the different forms of investing, saving, and letting your money grow on compounding interest. The earlier your start putting money in, the more benefits you will receive later. Now that’s great advice!
Advice #4: Track Spending and Save Your Paycheck
Save a % of each paycheck! Open up a TFSA earlier (Canadian version of Roth IRA), stop buying so much makeup!! Apply for more scholarships and TRACK SPENDING!!@budgetbitchpodcast
@budgetbitchpodcast great advice! 🔥 And everyone had their own version of buying makeup 😂 for me it was probably name brand clothing that I didn’t need or end up getting much use out of. Any money myths you used to believe or that stand out to you?@moneylifementor
Do you know where you spend your money each month? Do you know how much it costs you for the essentials? Chances are you will find something you didn’t realize you spent so much money on. It could be makeup, eating at restaurants, your favorite hobby, clothes, or perhaps a vice you just can’t shake. One method to determine if the cost is worth it for you is to ask how many hours you worked to afford this expense. Each person is going to prioritize their expenses differently. But, will this be something in the future you will regret purchasing, wishing you had the money instead?
Our priorities change, so analyzing your expenses regularly will help you determine if you are getting enough benefit out of what you are spending your money on, and allow you to cut back earlier. Has it been months since you’ve been to the gym, or read the magazine that you have a subscription for? We all have something we wish we hadn’t purchased as much of. The past can’t be changed, but you can change how you spend in the future.
Advice #5: Make Your Money Move at 18
@moneylifementor, at 18 I didn’t think I could invest, start a business or take any major money decisions. I thought that was something you could do when you were “older’. My entire focus was on finishing university and getting a job. Looking back, I realized I missed out on a lot of things. While getting an education was important, learning does not not only happen in the classroom. -moneyredefined@moneyredefined
@moneyredefined Yes absolutely, I think a lot of teens/early 20s think they are ‘too young’ to make money moves. And agree that the most of my learning has happened outside the classroom… Internships, buying a property, dealing with tenants, etc.@moneylifementor
You might think you have such a long time that you do not need to save or worry about retirement or the stock market, but life goes quickly. Putting off financial literacy for “when you are older” might mean years go by. It’s not intentional, but you might get so wrapped up in your day to day life that you realize one day you never took those steps. On your 28th birthday, you could look back and see that despite being an adult for a decade, your nest egg for the future hasn’t grown.
At 18, you don’t feel like you are truly an adult, just a child masquerading as one. That feeling is normal. And there isn’t a day where you way up and feel like you are a true adult and that now you can do adult things. Today is the best day to start learning and doing the adult finance options you never thought you could.
There are always ways we can improve our finances and there will always be things we regret we had or had not done in the past. Accepting that we cannot change the past, but can improve the future is a great approach in life. It’s okay to be scared to take a step into something new. You might find it isn’t as complicated as you or others made it seem.
So, if you are 18-years-old, don’t be afraid to ask older adults these questions. Their experience and wisdom can help you with your future. You’ll want to ask numerous adults this question, as they might not have all the right answers that work for you. Your goals, finances, and comfort level are unique to you. What worked for your parents may not work for you. But, taking control and being willing to learn is one of the best steps you can take to improve your financial future.
If you enjoyed this discussion, be sure to join in every #TableTalkThursday at 9-10am PST on our Instagram to share your thoughts and experiences with others.