There are a lot of things I wish I knew about money in my 20s. Eventually, I figured them out.
As I round the corner into my 40s, I realize that there are also I lot of things I wish I knew about money in my 30s. I may have learned them by now. However, I would have been a lot better off financially if I’d learned them sooner rather than later.
Communication: The Biggest Thing I Wish I Knew About Money
Most people have issues of some sort when it comes to money. We grew up with weird childhood beliefs that turned into strange adult behaviors. Moreover, society sends us a lot of mixed messages about money. Add to that the fact that most of us haven’t really learned strong communication skills for our relationships, and you can see that you have a mess on your hands.
Long after I had learned to deal well with money on my own, I still had trouble talking about money with others. Money is a huge factor in marriages in other romantic relationships. It’s no secret that couples fight over money. However, it took me a while to realize all of the things that I needed to learn in order to stop money from being a big problem in my relationships.
What I Needed To Learn To Talk About Money
First, I had to learn my own money habits and beliefs. More importantly, I had to learn the “why” behind those things. That’s what allows me to make conscious choices about whether or not to keep those habits. Plus it makes me capable of articulating my choices to partners so that they can at least understand why I am the way that I am about money. Furthermore, I had to learn to listen to, value, and work with another person’s money beliefs.
It wasn’t until I went to grad school for counseling that I really learned how to talk openly, authentically, and non-judgmentally about various topics. Money was among those topics. We all have money issues. In fact, my Law and Ethics professor said that money was one of the leading causes of ethics violations in the counseling field. Learning how to talk calmly and rationally about money can help resolve so many of our relationship issues.
I am by no means perfect in my financial communication. However, I’ve learned a lot in my thirties, and I wish I had learned some of it sooner.
Other Things I Wish I Knew About Money in My 30s
If I could only go back and learn one thing I wish I knew about money a bit earlier then it would be communication. But, of course, I would certainly have benefitted from learning these other things in my 30s, too:
- My income would fluctuate all throughout my 30s. Therefore, I should plan accordingly.
- It is possible to start increasing net worth despite those fluctuations.
- Buying stocks is easy but you should still do your homework. It’s worth it to invest with someone to get the personal touch.
- It’s time to start thinking about disability insurance and life insurance even though it feels like I’m too young to have to worry about it.
- There is a difference between frugality and minimalism. It’s worth it to figure out what’s right for you.
- Travel isn’t very important to me except to see my family. This is a personal choice, and it’s worth it to figure out for yourself how much you want to spend on travel.
- You get what you ask for when it comes to income. Don’t sell yourself short.
What I Wish I Knew About Money as an Independent Contractor
Finally, one thing I still wish I knew about money is how to balance the realities and even benefits of a low income with the benefits of building credit. As a self-employed freelancer (which many people find themselves as in their 30s thanks to the modern gig economy), I often qualify for a lot of tax breaks. Living in an expensive area, where the median income is high, I often quality for low-income benefits, such as reduced health care costs.
However, with low income reflected on my taxes, unfortunately, I don’t qualify for the best loans. It’s tricky balancing all of this, and it’s something that has become increasingly important in my thirties. I’m getting better at it, but I wish I knew more. I wish I had learned more about that in my early thirties.