I am one of the many Millennials that live paycheck-to-paycheck. If I’m to be honest with myself, I really hate it.
I don’t live wildly or spend money that I don’t have.
I do have a bachelor apartment (read: tiny) and a not-new car (1999 Camry still going strong) and I’m a semi-vegetarian simply because lots of meat costs lots of money.
I don’t party every weekend or shop online for useless stuff.
When I need new clothing, I buy exclusively from the sales racks.
All financial experts seem to agree that this “living month-to-month” crap is horrible behaviour for someone who has an education and who is earning an okay salary. According to the recommended income/expenses breakdowns, my student debt payments are double what they should be (sorry finance folks, but I my education did come with a hefty price tag) and I can’t seem to save anything while the experts say I should be saving at least 10% of my income. I keep telling myself that I’ll start an RRSP fund to alleviate some of my self-induced guilt, but every time I think about doing it, I don’t even have $20 to spare to get it started.
Now, I get that I’m young. I get that I’m still somewhat fresh out of University and slowly working towards a more comfortable place in the professional world. And I get that I’m probably earning the lowest salary I’ll ever have in my lifetime. It can only get better, right?
Looking back a few years, I remember joking about being a “poor student” all the way through University. I don’t think I had any idea how good things were at the time, because looking back, I was living the sweet life as a student – partying when I wanted, scholarship money to fund tuition and scarfing free food at networking sessions which obviously allowed saving on groceries for dinner more money for partying. Plus, as a student you look forward to having a full-time salary upon graduation so you can by useless things and eat out more often, isn’t that right? Life looks different now that I am on the other side of being a student, and although I’m in the in-between of leaving student-life behind and growing up into an adult, I just wish, for the time being, that I had a few more spare dollars.
Speaking of those elusive extra dollars, I read a post over at 20-Nothings a few days ago that I can completely relate to.
Jesse Rosen could have taken the words right out of my mouth, because I wish, I WISH, I had just a bit more income and a few less expenses.
If I had about $5K more in my life, I would be immensely more comfortable with my current situation.
If I had $5K more, 1 out of 3 student debt funds could be closed off. Sure, I’ll still have 2 massive piles left, but 1 down is 1 less than I have at present.
$5K more would mean not depending on a tax return to go on any sort of vacation outside of NS this year.
$5K more would allow me to just feel a little bit better about buying any new clothes I need – not just want, but need – at Joe Fresh. (Not that I don’t love Joe. I do, I really do.)
$5K would allow me to actually have an RRSP fund instead of just wishing for one.
Heck, $5K more would mean not having to VISA emergencies like the hole in my car bumper from the elusive run-in with the snow-bank this winter.
(For the record, the hole will remain, because I am not funding this cosmetic fix without the necessary funds.)
I’m not asking to win the lottery. I’m just looking for a better outlook on my own personal financial security.
Because $5K would certainly eliminate the knot in my stomach that arises whenever I think about my finances.
Many of us Millennials live this way though, and I think that the under lying feeling that my generation has is wanting and needing a sense of financial security. I’ve watched my parents struggle through mortgage payments, car payments and personal finance issues and I hope I never have to face what they’ve faced with their own situation. I want to work hard so that I can be comfortable and safe with my finances, not just now, but for the long term.
All this being said, my being 23-years old means I’m in-between.
I’m in-between spending on University and thinking about saving for the future.
For now, I’m in financial limbo, working on how to do something professional well enough to be compensated comfortably, while aggressively tackling the fact that I invested in my future when I borrowed for University.
And that’s something I am comfortable with.