The time between your 20s and 30s is probably the one with most adventure. Vast majority focuses on their careers and degrees, but there are certain things you should focus to achieve true financial freedom and independence in future. Maybe you have done pretty well in managing money, or maybe you have no idea how to, because you have just started to make money. Today, I’m going to list out 3 important financial goals you should achieve before 30.
1. Build Your Own Wall
Money makes money; and the money that makes money, makes more money.Benjanim Franklin
I remember when I started working at a very early age, all I had in my mind was to buy a new latest Nokia N73 phone. The cost of buying that phone was probably 10 or 20 times my monthly salary. However, I still wanted it for some silly reason.
Finally when I accumulated enough money to buy it, I found it very difficult to spend it in one go. I couldn’t imagine myself buying a depreciating asset with months of salary. Even though I had no idea what a real asset or depreciating asset could be at that time. I still knew I could use this money somewhere more sensibly.
After several years, I’m glad I didn’t buy that expensive phone. Had I purchased that phone, the value would have become zero till now. However, that was not the only good thing, it also helped me get a kick start to build my own capital. Although I spent some amount of it, but I somehow managed to invest the remaining in places where it could grow.
However, not many gets the luxury to save with patience and convert it into a capital with their own hard work. I have seen many people who hardly have any cash in their bank accounts. Forget about building a capital. If you’re among the group who don’t have enough savings to keep aside then you probably need to work hard. Or you need to upskill yourself to leverage your time and earn more, to increase your income.
For the remaining who are salaried and can easily save, faces another problem. Where to invest? Our Indian culture definitely teaches us to save money but it never teaches us to invest wisely. As soon as we save a significant amount, it is either spent on unwanted luxuries or on depreciating assets whose value drops to 0 in few years.
Today, that small amount that I invested has grown to a much larger corpus (my wall) with the help of compounding effect and it keeps on growing at a much faster pace. Seeing that amount growing steadily gives immense satisfaction and when I look back, that younger me took the best decision of life. A small fund created to buy a phone is now my wealth with few more zeros added to it.
2. Education; an enlightening experience
My poor dad often said investing is “risky“. But my rich dad said being financially uneducated is risky!Robert Kiyosaki
Can you explain what a Mutual Fund or Stock Market is, to your parents or someone elder than you? Or any concept which is new to someone who is double your age? Well we can, but the amount of time they’ll take to understand the concept will be much higher.
Think about technologies like a mobile phone. Why do old people resist using new technology like the latest phones and computer so much? The answer is, the older you become, your capacity to absorb new information reduces drastically.
In fact, in a study, it was concluded that new information-processing speed is highest in a human during their 20s. So if you’re in 20s, this is the best time to learn how a Mutual Fund works or how to file for a tax yourself. How compounding works or what’s the effect of inflation in long term. Anything that you’re curious about now, explore it and master it.
Few years down the line, these concepts will look more like technical terms. The more you ignore, the more dangerous it will be. You have the internet and so the access to all the books for free. Remember, the older you become, more dependent you’ll be on others if you don’t learn it now.
To make it simple, information-processing speed becomes considerably slow during our 40s and keeps on reducing thereafter. However, the best part is that it doesn’t mean you become dumb. The same study also indicated that old people are able to rely on their real knowledge, experience and expertise. Hence the power of compounding works in knowledge too. 🙂
3. Budgeting; too boring?
Many people are often turned off by the simple term budget. They associate it with limitations and a lot of hassle and headaches. They may feel like they are too poor to budget or have other budgeting excuses. However, little do we know, it is a trait of wealthy people. Corporations do corporate budgeting, government does government budgeting, then why don’t you?
How does the story of a common middle class person look like? Something like this: They receive their salary at the beginning of the month, 30%-50% of it goes to their landlord for rent or for home loan EMI, 20% of it goes to the local grocery store, 30% goes to random bars, luxuries, and ecommerce sites and the remaining 20% is eaten up by their desires.
By the end of the month, they are left with little to no money and waiting for the next payday. Sometimes they even stretch their spending limits though a credit card/loan or by borrowing.
This is the worst way of managing money. It simply indicates that your banker, landlord, local shop owners and ecommerce sites here are the real winners. They are attracting you to buy things you don’t need or can’t afford and you’re falling into that trap just because it’s on discount or he/she too have it so I should have it too.
Moreover, banks take the money from us automatically in the form of EMI. The real meaning of EMI is “Equated Monthly Installments” but 95% of the people think the full form of EMI is “Easy Monthly Installments”. Why? it’s because the banks make it look easy when you go to buy but ask anyone who actually pays EMI whether it’s actually Easy.
The problem again
“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.”Will Rogers
We need to understand the fact that banks are not our friends. They are in our society to do business and make money. Banks are “For-profit institution” and government supports them for two reasons. 1. They give revenue to government in the form of tax. 2. They help in increasing the spending power of common people which eventually helps in increased GDP.
However, increased spending has no direct relation to our income. Banks are giving us the power to spend more and stretch our spending, however our productivity and income remains unchanged. The earlier we understand this concept, the better.
Hence, if you want to be a winner in the game of money, follow this golden rule: “Pay Yourself First and Do It Automatically. If you stay away from it, that means you want to stay away from financial freedom and happiness.
I was shocked when I did my budgeting for the very first time and realized the amount of money I spent on silly things. Try making payments for all your expenses from a single source like UPI or Paytm for a month sincerely then go back and do the math after a month. You’ll definitely be surprised how fast money flows outward.
Unless and until you don’t do a strict budgeting and stick to it, you’ll have a hard time getting your finances in order. If you don’t do it now, how can you expect to become a master of it later?
Countless self-made millionaires have told me that the journey to wealth is much more satisfying than the destination. When they look back over their history of building wealth, they recall constantly setting economic goals and the great happiness gained from achieving them.Thomas J Stanley, the person who did PhD in researching wealthy people’s lifestyle wrote in his book The Millionaire Next Door.
Start saving small portion of your income regularly by paying yourself first. For ex. if you deduct even 5% of your salary every month for investment, you’ll hardly notice any impact of it. Then steadily keep increasing it. The amount you’ll accumulate over time will be enormous. Keep yourself educated about the important topics that matters, read books, blogs like this. Finally, start creating a budget by spending some time every month or quarter to control what you have before it becomes history.