Open Letter to my 20 Year Old Self

Image Credit: Chellbee and Justin Harrell

Be a Responsible Adult

There is a reason why your Mom had that file cabinet full of paper work when you we’re growing up. Adults understand that occasionally things will occur, in which you will need to pull your receipts (no I don’t mean literally). In the real world, when your handling your affairs you are dealing with human beings which means there is always a possibility for error.

Cover your assets in everything you do. Before you sign your name on the dotted line of any agreement read (or at least thoroughly glance over it carefully) to ensure it is correct. Always request a personal copy for your records. This includes but is not limited to opening a bank account, securing a loan (including student loans), apartment leases, or any other service.

Never assume that the other party has your best interest in mind and will ensure you are covered. Especially when it comes to apartments, university housing, or any type of rental agreement, ownership and employee turnover is high (so don’t leave anything to chance). The last thing you want to do, is to be hit with a collections bill on your credit years after moving out of an apartment you left in good standing.

Speaking from real experience, always save your records from any personnel you handle business with. Record, record, record. Write down the name, date, time, and interaction you have with any personnel regarding your affairs. Keep proof of any payments you have made including copy of money order, cash receipts, or bank statements.

Don’t Buy a New Car

Whatever you do don’t buy a new car. Girl you’re young and you change your mind like you change your underwear. Do not get a car. They make monthly payments look great, but you have no clue where you will be in the next 12 months let alone 72 months.

Do you even have a steady income, because last time I checked employment contracts were a thing of the past. Therefore you’re job is not guaranteed. You could be laid off, fired, or demoted tomorrow. Stick to the necessity. Save your money and buy a cash car.

Because negative equity is real. Getting from under an upside down car loan is not easy. Let me tell you the struggle is real. Unless you have some serious cash to pay off that negative equity and purchase a new car. Or buy an expensive upgrade, if your car is 20,000 you’ll likely need to look at $30,000 car.

Even then you will need to find a flexible dealership. In order to walk away from the deal with a decent trade in amount which you will still leave the table with some negative equity but it maybe a bit less. Typically you are looking at about $5,000 to $10,000 at the least in negative equity every time you swap cars (meaning you currently have a car loan and now you want a new car).

Save Girl

Don’t forget to save for those rainy days. You never know what may arise. You should always be able and prepared to care for yourself financially. Anything can happen. Girl your credit card is not a saving account. You need money in the bank, because you can’t pay a loan with a credit card (just saying).

Create a budget and make it your business to save, save, save. It’s not always easy or fun but you need to do it. Don’t overextend yourself with your living expenses. A budget will ensure that before you take a job offer you know exactly how much money you will have after expenses. Create a savings account that can accommodate at least 6 months worth of your financial obligations with cushions (like transportation, food, and minor emergencies).

Start contributing at least 10% to your retirement. And if by some chance you manage to have additional money after all that save up to purchase the car of your dreams in cash. There are to many ways to build credit, so don’t use buying a new car as an excuse to do so.  Did I mention before you buy that car of your dreams to make sure you have enough extra cash for maintenance (i.e. oil changes, tire rotations, tune up, etc.).

Be Selective  

You will be offered different career opportunities. So don’t be afraid to wait it out, the first offer is not always the best offer. Understand what you are locking into. What are the expectations, responsibilities, and the day to day like for that position. Believe me it is not easy making a career switched once you have locked in.

Do not agree to be mobile unless you are truly unattached to anyone or anything and live minimally. Picking up and moving your life at the drop of a dime is not easy or fun. Remember you will be moved based on the company needs no one will be thinking about you (it’s not personal its business).
Don’t agree to accept a position just because there is a possibility of a transfer, promotion, or change of locations in the future. Remember this is a business so they will always put the success of their business first (it’s not personal). Therefore, if the companies needs change, falls below projections, or their strategy changes all bets are off. So make sure you are content with the position, salary, and location you agree to.

Thank you and your welcome,

From your future self

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2 thoughts on “Open Letter to my 20 Year Old Self

  1. Chell Bee

    Hi Britt,
    Thank you so much. It can def be hard to stay selective especially with the job market. But it's all a lesson that leads us to our destiny!

  2. Britt K

    Great post – and so many true points! I wish I had been more selective career wise. When I got out of the military I jumped in the first career that I could get into, and found myself miserable until I just recently went back to school and got out of it. If you're going to spend years upon years of your life doing it, you might as well be happy!
    Britt |

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