Younger Self. Yeah. Don't I look like I was living the YOLO life?

Younger Self. Yeah. Don’t I look like I was living the YOLO life?

The other day a friend and I were talking about the mistakes of our past and we jokingly said that hindsight is clearer than 20/20; hindsight is Lasik Vision. The beauty of time is it allows you to reflect on your past decisions, and if you are fortunate and open to change, you grow from them.

My Fab Finance is a direct result of my growth. Over the past years I’ve worked to improve my financial situation and with this process has come a better understanding of my previous habits and how they contributed to my financial woes. If I could turn back the hands of time I would tell my younger self:

Aim to be timeless, not trendy. During high school and college I spent so much energy and money trying to keep up with the latest brands. My youth was filled with countless designer brands that are now obsolete. Trends will always go out of style but timeless items like a DVF wrap dress, or a Coach duffle bag, will continue to serve you throughout adulthood.

Borrowing money is not a solid debt repayment plan. I didn’t’ have a stable job or income during my first year in college which means I had no realistic way to pay my debts back. I was continuing to spend frivolously and my only repayment plan consisted of asking for money from relatives, which would always go towards floating my lifestyle rather than the creditors I owed. Sooner or later you run out of people to borrow from and thats when the debt tidal waves begin to rush in.

Don’t rush, you have a lifetime to pay bills. After sophomore year of college I was convinced that I was an adult. I moved off campus and to Miami Florida, and started paying rent and utilities. Knowing what I know now I would have continued to allow my tuition to cover room and board. Paying rent on a monthly basis was a burden that required a steady job, which distracted from my ability to fully enjoy and embrace the college experience.

This debt you are ignoring will take 5-7 years minimum to disappear. If I looked at debt that way I think I would have handled things differently rather than telling myself it was over when the debt collectors stopped calling. While my debt wasn’t ruining my life, it was holding me back. I recall looking at my credit report for the first time as a real adult. It was like walking into a room and all of my bad decisions were all hanging out. It took a few years to untangle the mess I had created for myself.

$50 is not a real savings account. I had such a poor relationship with money in those days. I felt that having $50 in savings was decent and I would usually take that bit of money out for “emergencies” like a group dinner or a sale at Journey’s. I really came to understand the real meaning of a savings account as my responsibilities grew while the country experienced an economic recession. I was laid off 3 times in two years and learned the importance of having a real financial reserve the hard way.

Although I made several more financial  (And health) mistakes other than those I’ve touched on here, I have also learned not to be too hard on yourself. There is not a single person on this earth that has it all together. While I focus on money and teaching women how to be responsible with their money, I am an even bigger advocate of life and living.

Life is a journey and that means you take it with the ups and downs with grace, including the deficits and the surpluses.

What are a few lessons you learned along the way?

30 Year old Me

30 Year old Me

tonya

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Created by nationally recognized millennial money expert Tonya Rapley, My Fab Finance is a leading financial education and lifestyle blog for millennials who want to become financially free and do more of what they love.