Early Millennials and Gen Xers — It’s Not Too Late to Fix Your Finances

But here’s a dose of harsh truth

Sam Dixon Brown

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Photo by Dylan Sauerwein on Unsplash

Some people seem to have it all together. In their early 20s they’re already saving and investing, with the goal of retiring by the time they hit 30.

I was not one of those people.

I had terrible money habits. I blew a $20,000 paycheck in a day. I assumed I’d never be able to retire so I didn’t invest a penny until I was 36.

I know I’m not alone.

As an early Millennial heading rapidly towards the big 4–0, I see so many friends whose finances are in a mess, or who have saddled themselves with so many financial commitments, they’ll be chained to their desk for decades to come.

Why?

We were sold a lie

We looked to our boomer parents, who — generally through the good fortune of being born at the right time — managed to afford a house, car, vacations, and all the other trappings of a successful life, even on low to mid-level salaries.

They had it so good seemingly without even trying. Even when they made bad decisions it seemed to have worked out pretty swell for most of them.

So, with our better access to college education, we were told we’d have it even better than our parents.

Except that the great recession, stagnating wages, and exploding house prices, coupled with intense pressure from society and the media to ensure we’re always #livingourbestlife means that many of us are saddled with debt and spending money on dumb shit just to make it look like we’re succeeding instead of drowning.

Sounds bad, right?

But there is hope

What I discovered once I started learning about personal finance is that you’re never too late to start changing things for the better. You can always improve your financial future.

Case in point, Becky Heptig.

At 50, Becky and her husband had no savings, no emergency fund, no income, and were $55k in debt. They were forced to buy groceries on credit cards so every day they dug themselves deeper into debt with seemingly no way out.

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