Unsolicited Advice to a Millennial
Cosmo.ph had this article where Marie, a 26 y.o. in the publishing and advertising industry, tracked down her expenses for a week. While I wasn't surprised with how the author spent her money, I was taken aback with the vitriol generated by her article.
The outpouring of criticism was most probably was spurred by her closing statement: "Through it all, I could say that I'm proud of myself for holding up. Managing your own household, feeding yourself, and prioritizing your needs while paying off debt is something that not all people my age could do, but I am doing it in a slow and steady fashion."
In a nutshell, the comments were along the line of: Proud ka sa lagay na yan bes? Ang kapal naman nang mukha mo!
I can only imagine how the author must be feeling right now with all of this negativity directed towards her. Thank goodness she wrote anonymously, otherwise, her personal account would probably be overrun with trolls and haters by now.
I don't know if Marie reads my blog but if she ever finds her way around here, I want her to know that I support her and that I'm proud of her.
I'm not proud of her financial choices for that week (too much eating out and Starbucks) and I can think of so many ways how she could have put her money to better use, but I am proud that she took the step to log down everything that she spent for the week. It seems simple enough but not everyone can do that.
More importantly, she put herself out there for our prying eyes and vicious criticism when she wrote that article. She must have known that the naysayers will pounce on her statements, yet she bravely pronounced that despite her lack of money skills and money missteps, she was proud of herself for holding up.
Living on your own and managing a budget is a big deal, no matter what anyone might say. So Marie, don't let anyone take that sense of pride away from you.
However, let's put those nega comments to good use by taking away a kernel of truth from them: You do need to work on your money management skills.
And yes, managing money is a skill because no one is born being a master at it. Some are lucky because they're born into a family with ninja-level money skills, but most of us learn it as we go along, or have no choice but to learn it in order to survive.
Marie, now that you've tracked your spending for a week and pinpointed where you tend to overspend, it would be sheer folly to close your eyes to the data you've collected and go back to your spend-happy ways. You now know that you spend too much on eating out and Starbucks. You've always known that you've been living paycheck to paycheck, and I hope that you've realized by now that this is not a sustainable way of living.
So what are you going to do about it?
The next step is yours to take. But don't let that intimidate you because developing money skills is not just one definitive step, rather, it's a series of small steps done over and over, until the steps become a dance that you can do even in your sleep.
I guarantee that you'll slip up while you're trying to master your money game. I guarantee that the siren call of Starbucks will always be there, tempting and teasing you. But I also guarantee that the peace of mind that getting your finances in order brings will be priceless.
You will no longer worry about losing your job because you'll have enough cash at hand to last you through several months of job searching. You will no longer stress over mounting, unpaid debts because either you have fully paid off your debts or you have a plan in place for paying them off. Emergency expenses will not faze you because you have an emergency fund in place to swat those annoyances away.
I want that peace of mind for you, and for every other millennial and non-millennial reading this post.
We all deserve to be happy and content in the short period of time we're here on this planet. And no matter which way you look at it, money and having enough of it, plays a key role towards attaining this happiness.
So Marie, the ball's in your court. I hope you make the right choices and make your future self proud of the decisions you've made.
If you need inspiration on money management skills, this girl is the one to look up to.