Successful People Get Real About Money Mistakes They Made in Their Early 20s
Welcome to adulthood: where earning money is just half the battle
Between puzzling out BIR tax forms, getting acquainted with banking basics and learning the ropes in corporate as a creative, several other real-world subjects can be filed under: “damn, if only they taught us this in school.” Managing personal finances happens to be one of them.
For those feeling their way through financial independence in their first decade in the workforce, money mistakes could get frustrating and, unfortunately, even painful in some cases. It’s entirely possible, for example, to work yourself to the bone yet live paycheck to paycheck. Thinking nothing of small expenses in small doses (hey, that cup of coffee is just part of a harmless daily routine) is a common pitfall. Reckless spending under the guise of “treating oneself” is another.
But this is what your early 20s are for, aren’t they? Hustling through misses before rejoicing over hits and believing that the longer you handle your own money, the smarter you become with it? Hate to pile on the pressure, but we haven’t met anyone who wished they delayed breaking bad money habits. (The sooner you get your ducks in a row, the better.) Take it from the successful individuals straight ahead who are giving us a hand bridging the gap between learning through theory and practice. Best case scenario: learn from their money mistakes so you don’t have to make them yourself.
Victoria Herrera, @victoria_herrera
Director of Brand Partnerships at She Talks Asia, Founder of Next Theory
The money mistake: I didn’t track my spending so well and there were times when I was a bit too generous with the people around me. (Note: there’s a difference when you’re generous and you want to treat someone vs. treating people out because you feel “guilty” you’re earning well.) Learning boundaries with my money and knowing how to take care of my own needs are huge. That way I am not feeling energetically and financially empty.
[I would’ve done] more [diving] into books about money management and around my money belief systems, educating myself on my spending habits or patterns, organizing my receipts better and having a bigger goal/plan/vision for the money I earn. When it comes to earning money, knowing how to negotiate is huge. More valuing myself and the time it took to learn a skill set so I can charge (#selfworth)!
[I would’ve spent] less money on things to impress people or needing to buy something to “fit in.” I think social media has made us super conscious of what we own or wear also. Less caring so much and just genuinely spend on things that make you happy and not so much on things you can “show off.” Less fear in a negotiation process––learning to detach from their criticism emotionally and trust that if it’s a good match, it will work out. And there’s a reason why some deals don’t push through.
Raffy Castillo, @raffycastelyu
Entrepreneur, Makai Bowls La Union and Sabong Fried Chicken
Trying to recall stuff in my 20’s, it feels like it was a long time 🤣 I guess [I was] just in a totally different phase in [my] life. My money mistake was I should’ve taken more time keeping track of my expenses, avoiding impulse spending and saving more for the rainy days. No regrets, though. That’s how you learn and then make better decisions. If there’s one thing, I wish I invested in real estate early on.
Kimi Lu, @kimilulifecoach
My money mistake: I did not save at all. I would use up all of my money. Swipe the card and have more debt. I would work, work, work, then spend, spend, spend! This was mainly used for all of my travels. I eventually learned that I had to open five different bank accounts: BPI and BDO for payment transactions, a gold membership with Security Bank for huge amounts of deposits for my rental, Chinabank for my savings for big travels and East West Bank for untouchable savings. I also learned how to earn better. Saying YES to what is more aligned with what I am really passionate about and focusing on earning more from that.
Now, time to make that money and actually hang on to that money.
Art Alexandra Lara