I realized that personal finances needed to become a priority during my senior year of college. I had part-time jobs and summer internships, which contributed to my money, and I had several conversations about gas prices and the budget. Still, the nuances of personal finance were none of my business.
The days of just concentrating on how much I needed to save for a spring break trip or buying a new outfit for any popular event were long gone. I had to start thinking about building an emergency fund, investing in my retirement, health insurance and co-pays and other adult things.
After I started my full-time job, personal finances became an overwhelming topic. I had frequent and transparent conversations with friends about how much things cost and whether they were of the same quality, what credit cards people had and why, the rental prices in our city, and how much we were expected to invest and save. I also started reading books and watching financial content to increase my knowledge.
I’m incredibly grateful for the conversations I’ve had and the information I’ve learned, but I quickly realized that I was feeling behind and unsure of what I was doing, so something needed to change.
Finding out my finances forced me to take a step back and look at my situation. I think it’s important to take inventory of where you currently are and where you want to be. Everyone has a different money story, and that’s okay.
With so much personal finance information available, I focused on identifying my financial goals, what I like, and how I want to live my life. This helped me adjust how much I wanted to spend on different things throughout the month and my money goals which boosted the content I delivered to myself and increased my confidence when talking about money with others.
It’s a scary time to be in an economic environment where there’s constant talk of a recession, the average Gen Z student debt is said to be $20,900, and 73% of Gen Z said it’s a challenge to save. However, it feels liberating to decide how I want to approach my finances and what resources will help me get there.
*Disclaimer: This column does not serve as financial advice, but rather shares the personal experiences of the writer.