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Financial Success: A Dose Of Reality and Words Of Encouragement To All 20-Somethings (The Most Important Article I’ve Ever Written)

5 May 2009 6 Comments

The following article is as good of an explanation that I can provide for why I created this site and why you should visit this site.  What I have to say will be sobering information, but it is information that you need to understand.  By understanding what I have to say, you are well ahead of 99% of your peers.  It will be the start of something huge for you.There is a huge void of solid financial advice and information out there geared towards 20-somethings.  This is unfortunate because I am convinced that the decade that is your 20s is the most important decade of your life when it comes to both financial success and career success.  This is what you must understand, because until you do, you won’t be doing everything you can to ensure this high level of success in your life.

Financial Success

In order to achieve financial success, which I define as a level of financial stability and/or net worth to where you are able to obtain and maintain the desired lifestyle you want indefinitely, it is absolutely imperative that you begin now, in your 20s.  One of the most important components of building wealth, for 99% of people it is THE most important component, is time.  Time is the magic that makes compounding interest work.

To illustrate, every dollar you save at age 20, assuming an 8% annual return, will be worth $32 when you are 65 years old.  In this example, the money you put away at 20 will be worth 32 times the amount you put in when you are 65!  If you were to set aside $5,000 at age 20, it would be worth $160,000 when you are 65.

Now, what if you set aside the same amount of money each year from age 20 to 65?  Let’s say you set aside $5,000 each year, and achieve the annual 8% return.  By 65, you would have over $1.93 million.  Putting off this savings schedule, even a single year, is disastrous to your future.  By waiting only one year, you would have to increase the savings each year by over $400 every year to achieve the same result.  If you wait five years, you would have to save almost $7,500 every year to achieve the same result!  Waiting five years means that you would have to increase the amount you save every single year by almost 50%.  Need more proof?

Career Success

Your earning power is your biggest asset.  If you are in your 20s, hopefully you are beginning to understand this.  Nothing will impact your financial future more than hitting your complete potential when it comes to earning power.  This means having a successful career.  In order to have a successful career, like compounding interest, you must start early.  You must start in your 20s.

It’s very easy for people to not focus on career advancement or finding the right workplace during their 20s.  After all, many people are still in the college mentality or they have just not learned the right approach to a career.  Unfortunately, the people who “dilly-dally” throughout their 20s and make no progress on their career during this time will be at a huge disadvantage to achieving financial success.

By “starting” your career at 30, you are eight years behind most of your peers.  This means that you are left to compete for entry level positions where many employers are looking for new college graduates.  Even if you are more mature and have more experience, most employers will select a fresh graduate over a 30 year old.  Why?  Because, they figure that they don’t have to pay a new grad as much, a new grad won’t have any bad habits from another job and frankly, they might wonder what the heck the 30 year old has been doing for the last eight years.  Note: If you are in your late 20s or even 30s right now, don’t be discouraged.  Instead re-focus immediately!  Don’t wait another 8-10 years to do what you should do right now!

Now, starting early on your career isn’t just about moving up a corporate ladder.  It is about learning how to work hard.  It’s about learning a skill set on the job.  It’s about learning what type of job you see for yourself down the road.  It’s about learning business, and the potential to become an entrepreneur!

If you dismiss this career advice because you want nothing more than to be an entrepreneur, where do you think you will learn the skills to run your own business?  And, what service or product will you have the experience to offer potential customers?  Where will you develop relationships for potential partners, mentors, customers?  The reality is that almost all successful entrepreneurs learned the skills that made them succeed while working for someone else.  

Habits

Almost as important as starting immediately on saving money and focusing on your career is the fact that you establish habits in your 20s that will stick with you for life.  Your first stab at the “real world” after college or after high school is where you will establish most of your habits.  Whether this is laziness or an incredible work ethic, or being a free spender vs a frugal spender, it is important that you establish the habits that will set you up for incredible success for the rest of your long life.

Reality For Most 20-Somethings

Unfortunately, most 20-somethings out there have not done any of the actions that I have detailed in this article.  Most people in their 20s have a ton of debt and no savings.  Many people in their 20s view their job as “just a job” instead of taking every opportunity to develop their skills and their abilities.  Many people in their 20s are fine with working jobs that are not going anywhere.  Lastly, there are many 20-somethings who have the right attitude, yet can’t find work in this ugly economic time.

Here’s the harsh reality for these people… financial success and/or financial independence is probably not going to happen for these people, unless either drastic changes happen or they win the lottery.  Now, here is the most important part of this article.  What I am referring to here is not the goal of getting rich.  This is not a how-to-get-rich article.  What I’m referring to is the ability to maintain a desired lifestyle, the ability to retire, the ability to send your kids to college one day.  This is not the uber-rich lifestyle.  Unfortunately, I strongly believe that a great majority of people in our society will not have the means to retire without assistance from government or other sources.  

Encouragement

The financial state of most people is very bleak.  I’m not going to sugar coat it for you.  There is good news, however.  That good news is that you can take charge of the direction of your life and give yourself a serious chance at achieving the financial goals that you might have.  You can achieve the lifestyle you want, you can retire (maybe even early).  It’s time to really do something about it, though.  Nobody is going to do it for you, despite what you might hear from some politicians or the media.

It is because of this that I have created this website.  Your 20s are the most important decade of your life when it comes to success.  This website is here to help you navigate this challenging decade to establish a strong foundation for the rest of your life.  This website is here to help bring about the crucial dialogue that will benefit us all.  

Furthermore, in the works is more content, some new tools that will be released and even some education training and courses containing the information and tools that has helped me get on the right track financially.  I hope you will be a frequent visitor of this site and look for the upcoming releases here at 20smoney.com as we navigate this exciting and challenging phase of our lives.  

I’m not here to tell you that it will be easy for you to achieve success and meet your goals, but I am here to tell you that it is possible with the right tools and the right attitude.  I hope 20smoney.com is one of those tools that you can use for your financial successf.

Questions for you to think about and add your feedback…

  • Do you agree with the overall idea of this article?
  • What do you need help with in your 20s?
  • What are your long term financial success goals?  How realistic do you think it is that you will hit them?  If you think you will hit them, why?
Please provide your feedback. Your opinions and your story is important!

6 Comments »

  • Darwin's Finance said:

    I agree completely. I just happened to post a graphical representation of the implications of investing the same amount of money starting at 25 and stopping at 35, vs. starting at 35 and investing EVERY year til 60.

    Guess who ends up with substantially more in the end? Yep, the early investor.

    The magic of compound returns is truly incredibly. The most critical piece is your assumption on returns though. Given the recent precipitous decline in equities, from here, I think 8% is appropriate.

  • sbf said:

    Do you agree with the overall idea of this article? YES
    What do you need help with in your 20s? CREATING A FINANCIAL PLAN FOR PEOPLE LIKE ME AND YOU, WHO HAVE A GOOD JOB, NO DEBT, AND SAVE THE MAX. NOW WHAT?
    What are your long term financial success goals? NOT BE UBER-RICH, BUT FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT. How realistic do you think it is that you will hit them? IT WILL HAPPEN, BUT WHEN? If you think you will hit them, why? DISCIPLINE.

    Kevin – Great article. I could not agree with you more. You’re right, that is the most important article you’ve written yet.

    It is so important to get started [saving] in your 20’s. Not sure if you remember, but I was (and still am) a huge believer in the oil and gas sector. CHK, XTO, UPL, SWN, KWK, CRZO, GDP, and PXP…the list goes on. Lately the rally has been good, but the last 8 months pretty dang tough.

    Thanks for the good read. Keep up the good work.

    Steven

  • Kevin said:

    Steven,

    Great comments.

    I’d love to provide my insight into what the financial plan might be for you and others in your situation. A few questions…

    1. What income level are you at?
    2. How much do you typically spend each month & save each month?
    3. How old are you?
    4. What kinda work do you do?

    IF you feel comfortable answering those questions, I’d love to talk to you and see what is possible.

    Oil, gas, gold, commodities… I think you need to be in all of them. I recently bought some DBC – Commodity index ETF.

    Thanks for the comments!

  • Keres Mitchell said:

    excellent information 20’s something don’t get information like this from any one family or friends i wish i read about this eariler

  • gues said:

    i thought this article was great but a bit superficial. to assume that you'll have a good paying job right after college is absurd in this economy. New grads get paid peanuts and that's only if you find a job. So it's not realistic.

    personally, i bought an apartment at the age of 26 and plan to invest in more assets. most 20 somethings i know piss away their money so it's tough to get this in their head.

    great article.

  • tara said:

    Where do you get an 8% return?