My generation is popularly known as the “me me me” generation. We act on impulse. We make our own rules. We want everything, when we want it and exactly the way we want it. Instead of living within our means, we accumulate things just so we can say we have the latest in order to feel like we’re in. I say ‘we’ because I’ve been there at one point or another in my life. In my late teens and early 20s I thought I was the shit and lived to impress others, desperately trying to keep up with the Kardashian-type chicks in my social circles. But over time the facade got old, boring and tired and I desired more than just Chanel handbags, crazy parties, a carousel of lovers and conversations without substance. Experience has always been my best teacher and as maturity set within recent years, I’ve quickly realized that money and “stuff” aren’t all that important. At some point you’ve gotta separate from the rest of the pack, put on your big girl panties and set boundaries. At some point you need to seriously check yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self (that’s Ice Cube right?) and get your priorities straight. At some point you have to be more mindful of the people and influences around you and re-evaluate which direction your life is heading.
My reality check came real quick. I was in my early twenties and I just couldn’t take the pressure of constantly trying to be someone I wasn’t just to fit in. I was depressed and had constant anxiety about my future … not only career-wise but my bank account was in the red and soon enough I had accumulated a ton of debt and I had nothing to show for it. Something had to change immediately.
I stopped collecting things and impressing others and started exploring and pursuing my goals and ambitions. I knew there was more to life than what some of my girlfriends had exposed me to. Interestingly enough, we were all addicted to the thrill of the chase whether that was men, money, material possessions or attention. My parents did not raise me to think this way, I have to add. But growing up insecure and with very little confidence I was always trying to please others and was easily influenced by whomever would accept me into their group. Girlfriend, that’s no way to live. Trust me. Life is so much more fulfilling when you stay true to yourself and do the right things, not the easy things. But despite the role my peers played, I take full responsibility for my actions. I wanted things I could not afford. I wanted to be apart of a crowd that I thought was super cool and I wanted to be well-known for bullshit reasons. SMH. I look back on this period of my life and can’t even believe it.
My action plan was simple. I had to make a decision and focus on new goals; which was a cool career and financial stability. I hired a financial advisor to look at my mess and see if he could implement strategies to help me go from red to black. Indeed, he did. Fortunately enough, I was able to get on track, put money away bi-weekly and start investing into myself. I opened an RRSP account, TFSA account and at a certain point I started learning about investments. Today a lot has changed. I am still saving and paying myself first so that I can continue planning for my future. I learned to become very clear with my money goals and this “control freak” mentality has helped me save nearly $20,000 in the last few years. It’s not a huge number but it’s a number I am really proud of. As for my debt, I still have some hanging around and should have it all paid off soon enough.
A famous rapper once said, “Mo’ money, mo’ problems.” But yo, when you have NO MONEY you’ve got even more problems to deal with. Especially as a young adult, it is a very tough situation to be in because all we see in the media are super skinny fly chicks, entertainers who are ballin’ as if it is just a hobby and if you don’t have any other those things you are made to feel as if you are less than. What there needs to be more of is financial literacy. I believe forbes reported recently that 43% of the oldest millennials are still financially dependent on their parents. Goodness. We’ve got to do better y’all.
If you don’t understand money, you’ll always be a slave to it. - Kimora Lee Simmons
Many of us are chasing something. Only you know in your heart what that ‘something’ is. For some, it may be confidence, acceptance from your girlfriends or your purpose in this world. It’s no secret; we feel the pressure from all angles. We experienced this as kids, and interestingly enough, as adults, we still face these same obstacles; the only difference is we are now better equipped and have more opportunities to succeed. Now, I fill my life with experiences that feed my soul, not my ego and after peeling off the mask I wore for so long, I’ve found that I’ve become a magnet to so many positive things simply because I have taken charge of my attitude. I rather stay true to myself instead of settling for the superstar status of being young, broke & fabulous.
Girl, please. I’m over it.
Peace & Love,