Money

Letter to My Younger Self

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2006 doesn’t seem like it was thirteen years ago. I can remember parts of that year vividly. I was a third-year student at SSU. Man, I was literally having the time of my life. Thirteen years later I think about the good times that I was having and can’t help but wonder if I had too much fun. I realize that I didn’t though. My financial was situation was great at 22. I was working at The Lady & Son’s Restaurant and selling mixtapes on the side. The crazy thing is that my money problems started after college. I was never that broke college student. If I could go back in time, there are a few things that I’d tell my 22-year-old self to prepare him for life after college. In this post, I will share a letter to my younger self.

Save More Money

I’ve said this once, and I will say it again. I wish I would have saved more money back then. To be honest, I had a little bit of money saved, but it could have been so much more. I had a messed up way of looking at money. Since I had a job and a side hustle I figured that I would just save later and that I’d be alright.  I was an idiot lol. The crazy thing is that I was all right doing that from 22-24, but once I graduated I needed more money because I had bills and student loan debt that now needed to be paid. If I would have been on my game at 22, I know things would have been different.

If you are a still in college or in your twenties, make sure that you are saving money. Time is flying. I’m glad that I save money (not enough, but that will change once the debt is paid off) now. I want you to do the same thing. If you don’t have an account or want to start a new one, I suggest checking out the Capital One 360. I have an account with them. Money is auto deposited in that account once a month. For more info, check out Capital One 360 here.

Think About Your Future

Next up on this letter to my younger self features financial advice to my younger self is thinking about my future. I’ll be the first to say that I didn’t focus enough on what I wanted to do when I was in college. I knew that I wanted to work in sports or do something with Marketing (hence why I have a marketing degree). Now, I realize that I was too broad. I should have taken some time to really think about it. At 22, I didn’t give a damn. I was enjoying college and was like “I figure this out later.” Over the years I realized that I like working with students at universities. I didn’t get my first job at a college until 2011, which was three years after I graduated from college. If I was on game, I could have done that by November of 2008. I would have had a steady salary and probably less debt too, but who knows.

Student Loans Will Have to Be Paid Back

Of course, I knew that the student loans had would have to be paid back, but at 22 I didn’t care. I thought I had all the time in the world. I figured that once I graduated from college, I would be able to get a good high paying job and knock them out in a year or two. Little did I know that I would graduate from college in 2 years straight into a damn recession. The economy was horrible in 2008. I’ve discussed here before how I struggled the first couple of years after graduation. In hindsight, I would have applied myself more in my studies so that I could have regained my Hope Scholarship. By having the Hope scholarship again, I would have had less student loan debt.

The good thing is that the student loans are finally going down. A couple of years ago, I paid off my Wachovia student loan. Next up is my Nelnet and Earnest. Originally my Earnest loan was through Sallie Mae. I refinanced that loan with the company, Earnest last year. I was able to get a lower interest rate and a smaller payment. If you are interested in refinancing your student loans, click the Earnest tab below.

Pay Credit Card Each Month

This next thing on this letter to my younger self has to do with credit cards. I didn’t go splurging with my credit card back in the day. I used it to book trips occasionally and at the bar every once in a while. That eventually added up though. I should have used the money that I was making at my part-time job to pay the credit card off each month. There was no reason for me not to do that. I guess it was a lack of knowledge.

Get Serious About Side Hustling

I think I made my first eBay sale in 2008 or 2009. There’s no reason that I could not have done that in 2006. I know for a fact that if I had been selling on eBay back then my life would probably be different now. I would have failed and learned things much earlier than I did. My debt would probably be much lower than it is. I can’t dwell on the past though.

I’m sure there are other things that I would tell my 22-year-old self. I know there are a couple of things, but they aren’t financially related, so I’m just going to keep them to myself. You’ll have to read about them in the memoir. I’m seriously thankful for the growth and maturity that I’ve achieved in my late 20’s and 30’s. Things happen the way they happened for a reason. They helped me become the person that I am today. For that I’m proud. I want to make sure that people learned from my mistakes so that they can take things to the next level sooner than later.  Even though it wasn’t in letter form, I hope you enjoyed this letter to my younger self.

What is one thing that you would include to a letter to your younger self?




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19 Comments

  1. I made so much money in school it was ridiculous. You think I used one red cent to pay those loans? No! hahahah (but not funny.) A time machine would be nice right about now, lol.

    1. A time machine would change my entire life right now, for the better!

  2. Oh, my gosh, thank you for bringing up the recession. I would have graduated around the same time had I stayed a traditional student, and that was no joke. Probably the biggest reason not taking out student loans was my best move, despite it potentially stunting my income, though I didn’t know at the time. Back then we thought things were going to stay good forever… especially if we were young, I think!

  3. I would tell my 22-year old self that every time you hand over money for drinks, frivolous shoes, too many clothes…) you are handing over your freedom.

  4. I got my first credit card when I was 21 or 22. Although I didn’t go super crazy because it only had a 800$ limit, I still didn’t need anything that I used the card for. Therefore, I’d tell my 22-year old self to distinguish between needs and wants.

  5. Jen Pattison says:

    I think I would grab my 22-year-old self by the shoulders and shake her hard! I spent too much on stupid things, borrowed too much, saved nothing… Well done for becoming financially smart whilst you’re still young, it took me 25 years. Can I borrow that time machine when you’re all done with it? 😉

  6. Those are some important lessons. I’m not exactly sure what I would have told my 22-year-old self, but I would have told my 18-year-old self to decide what I really wanted to do before attending college. I took courses I liked and majored in history and philosophy with the intention of becoming a teacher. Only at the time there were no teaching jobs available and I ended up sidetracked into a retail management career. I think those who know what they want to do before they pursue higher education are much more successful.

    1. I would also change some things about my college courses as well.

    2. I agree. I should have had a back-up plan to the back-up plan!

  7. Erin @ Stay at Home Yogi says:

    I wish I could go back in time and shake my 22 year old self, lol! 🙂 I agree with everything you’ve said here – I didn’t save at all when I was young and I’m especially kicking myself for that now!

    1. I’m kicking myself for past mistakes as well. You live and you learn though.

  8. Open an IRA, 22 year old Mel! Spend some money on stocks! But I wasn’t actually making too many bad financial decisions at 22.

  9. I second you on understanding debt, saving more, etc., but I think the biggest thing I would tell myself is to chill out when it comes to my 9-5. I was nervous and worried my first probably five years of working. I wanted to do a good job and I couldn’t fathom the thought of getting laid off. In reality I could have relaxed a bit more, been more vocal, and focused on developing skills that would help me years down the road, like public speaking.

    1. I feel you about chilling out at the job. I was actually nervous at the new job trying to be perfect the first 2 months. I’ve sense relaxed and focused on doing what I can.

  10. These are the exact same things I’d like to advise my younger self! I’m amazed by the tips you mentioned here, Jason. When I was in college, I had a challenging time repaying the student loans but I was able to get through it. I can’t emphasize how important saving money is and we should start doing it as early as possible. Thanks for sharing. Cheers!

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