Financial Advice I Would Give to My Younger Self


There are a lot of reasons why time travel would be great. See the dinosaurs. Hang out with famous historical figures. Look into the future. But, if you’re anything like us, you’ve probably spent more time thinking about the what if’s and what could have been’s. If only I could go back in time and tell myself, “Don’t buy that overpriced jacket!” or “Don’t open that credit card!”

Unfortunately, we can’t change the past… but we can learn from our experiences, and the experience of others. So we decided to ask our Peak Guides:

What’s one piece of advice you would give to your younger self, when you were first learning how to manage your money?

Here’s what they had to say...

Ashley Copeland (Stacks & the City): Don't make emotional purchases or make purchases to impress other people. Nip that in the bud immediately. That sentiment gets more expensive as you get older.

Athena (Money Smart Latina): Leave when you don't feel valued at a job. You may feel comfortable but in the end, staying will hurt your earning potential.

Emily Guy Birken (Author of End Financial Stress Now): You can't frugal your way to wealth. I've always been very good with the frugality side of money management, but I've also always been hesitant to ask for what I was worth. As a 20-something, I truly thought it didn't matter if I made more money because I could be frugal with what little I made, and I thought it would somehow reflect poorly on me to ask for raises or negotiate for more money. But there is a limit to what you can cut from a budget, and you can't grow wealth if there's no more money to be found in your monthly nut than what you can squeeze via frugality.

Jennifer (ADLT 101):  I would tell my younger self to look into buying property earlier. Take the time to learn all the details but don't be afraid to act.

Mandyy Thomas (Financial Coach): I would tell myself to dive in deeper to learning how to budget, sooner. I wish I knew that budgeting wasn't meant to restrict you, but instead, budgeting is your plan to live your life the way you want to, and to make sure that what you value the most is being supported, financially. I would also tell myself that budgeting is not just writing down my expenses for the month, that’s just tracking expenses. Budgeting and creating a plan for the future actually involves creating your budget months in advance. It’s okay if it’s not perfect, it will never be. But it’s important to show up every day, and to challenge yourself to learn something new, when it comes to managing your money.

Natasha (WealthStylist): To my younger self, anything that costs you your peace is too expensive.

Nicole Rule (Greatest Worth): Money is not evil. Money is just a thing. It’s neutral. It's the choices I make with my money that make it good or bad. Learning to manage your money, Younger Self, and enjoying that financial literacy does NOT make you a money-hungry, greedy jerk. On the contrary, the knowledge and empowerment provided by an aware and whole financial understanding leads to freedoms that create beauty and joy in your life and, ultimately, the world!

Tasha Danielle (Financial Garden): I learned how to budget at the age of 13, thanks to my grandmother. I understood and knew how to set financial goals and achieve them. However, understanding a company’s benefit package is something that I learned through trial and error.

As such, a message I would tell my younger self entering into my first corporate job would be to ASK more questions as it pertains to various health plan options and retirement investing. I would have been better off maximizing a HSA when I began my career, especially as I am working towards F.I.R.E.

Tyler Hood (When the Money’s Good): Don't spend your refund check! Take that money and invest it or set aside enough to use throughout the year and save the rest to help pay back your student loans.

So, there you have it. Was there anything that stood out to you? Or, is there anything you’ve learned that you wish you knew, when you were younger? Share it as a comment, and you might help someone else learn that lesson, sooner!