As a ‘mature student’ and a Millennial I find myself really struggling to maintain any sort of enviable lifestyle on a basically non-existent budget. At 25, it feels beyond embarrassing to still be relying on my parents, especially after having had a 1-year contract (in Hong Kong) which kept me self-sufficient. Though it has felt at times like a back-track, I know that in the long run this step back into financial dependence will be worth it.
In discussions with some of my friends, it became clear that I was in no way alone in feeling a little lost and hopeless in the finances department. It has been said time and time again that as millennials, we are meant to be discovering our passions and taking risks with our careers, but clearly all of this does little to dissuade those of us in the midst of these struggles from feeling as if we’re doing something terribly wrong.
Stop comparing yourself to your peers
How am I meant to reconcile these feelings with the facts I know to be true ( it’s just temporary! As soon as you’re finished school you’ll feel so much better about your finances)? One of my closest friends had some helpful words when I came to her with how I was feeling: You have to stop comparing yourself to people around you.
I’m sure that response has elicited at least one “duh!” from this audience, and even I myself am well aware of this simple truth. It is, however, a different thing to actually put into practice.
We’re at the age now where half of us are well into our careers, purchasing first homes, getting married, and even starting to have children. Meanwhile the other half (the camp I fall into) are running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to find one stable thing in our lives to grab hold of to keep us steady.
The Defining Decade
If I took a step back to see the larger picture, I would be able to see how truly fascinating this time is for twenty-somethings. It’s really the time where everyone you knew growing up is becoming a full on grown-up, and that can be disconcerting when the girl you used to do keg stands with is now someone’s mother. See also my Hub review last summer of the book, The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter.
The point I’m trying to make is that apparently this is a time where we’re supposed to be unsure of our financial futures. Any positive steps we can take to help make those futures a bit more certain is seen as being ahead of the curve in many respects. And though it is acceptable these days for millennials to be unsure of how to manage their finances, it doesn’t lessen the burden of pressure to be financially secure.
Though it is daunting to be in this kind of ‘financial limbo,’ we millennials need to keep telling ourselves that it isn’t forever, and if we’re smart with the meagre finances we do have — taking this time to practice living within our means, saving, and budgeting — I have to believe we’ll be in a good position when the financial waters finally start to settle.
Helen Chevreau is a student teacher, blogger and global adventurer. She also happens to be the daughter of Hub CFO Jonathan Chevreau. She has a B.A. in English and has been blogging for five years. She recently returned from a year in Scotland, where she pursued postgraduate studies in education.