Look, when you were young, you could get away with it. You could spend more than you had–knowing you’d figure things out later. You could be selfish because you were the only person that really counted in your life. You weren’t expected to have it together, you were expecting to make mistakes and learn by trial and error.
But now? Now that’s not such a good look. The world isn’t as forgiving, there is not so much time. There are other people that bear the consequences of your decisions now.
The things we used to look to our own parents for advice about–money, how the world works, planning for the future, for a safety net when things went sideways…we’re those people now. We’re the people who have to be teaching our kids those things, so we damn well better get serious about figuring it out ourselves.
It is said that the average American doesn’t have more than a few hundred dollars to put together in an emergency. For some people, that is a statement about income inequality and bad luck. For a good chunk of those people though? It’s an indictment–evidence of immaturity, irresponsibility and bad habits. These are people who make plenty of money…but they are, as Churchill’s mother once said of him, “perfect sieves” for it. They’re still acting like kids, expecting someone else to bail them out, telling themselves the time to get serious is later.
No, it’s now. You’re the adult. The future is not the time to get serious about your finances, about reining in your spending or saving for college or retirement. That best time for that was yesterday. And the second best time is now.