It’s officially my birthday MONTH! I can’t believe I’m turning 30 in a few weeks!
As I look back at the roaring 20s, I can’t help but feel so proud of the person I’m growing up to be. 20-year-old Emma was stressed about doing well in college, pulling out student loans, staying within her $30 a week grocery budget, finding a summer internship, battling with imposter syndrome, and so much more.
About to be 30-years-old Emma is so excited to celebrate the last few weeks of her 20s and run towards her 30s in open arms. So much has happened in the last decade and I’m so excited to share 4 lessons I’ve learned from my 20s. I’ll be sharing one lesson each week the entire month of February.
Lesson 1: Own your financial narrative
One of the biggest lessons in my 20s was realizing that I own my financial narrative. After I graduated from college in 2014, I learned that I had a negative relationship with money. I spent most of my life living in financial scarcity, as my parents’ lived paycheck to paycheck and I struggled to figure out how to pay for college each year. Even though I interned full-time for two summers (I used my internship money to pay for housing), I felt shame having to pull out $30,000 in student loans to finance most of my education.
As a new grad and a 22-year-old, I was earning $55,000 a year. But I realized that I was living in financial scarcity, even though that truly wasn’t my reality. It wasn’t until I read Rich Bitch by Nicole Lapin that I realized that I could improve the way I look at money. I learned that I could prioritize debt and recognized that my student loan had low interests’ rates (4%-6%). I also learned that you could allocate your money into expenses, essentials, and extras.
The more I improved my financial literacy, the more I started to feel better about money. In 2020 (age 28), I decided to take my first investment course with Dumpster Doggy. I had been wanting to learn how to invest in the market for the last few years and I had no idea how to start. I was also nervous to invest so I knew a course would help me calm my nerves.
I’m so glad I took that course because I was able to start investing when the pandemic broke out in the US in March 2020. I knew I wanted to start investing to supplement my 401K and ensure I have enough money for retirement. I’m so glad I started investing when I did because by September 2020, I was laid off after the 6 years in the aerospace industry. That 6-month time frame helped me get comfortable investing in the market. And as a full-time content creator, I can no longer contribute to my 401K, so my investments have become a bigger part of my retirement plan.
I consciously worked on improving my financial well-being. And over the last decade, I’ve been able to build a 6-month emergency savings fund, purchase a home (with my husband), continue to save for retirement with a ROTH IRA, build my investments, pay off my student loans, pay for our kitchen renovation, and more! I could have never imagined the financial well-being I’d be experiencing today at 20 years old. I’m so grateful for the last decade and creating a positive relationship with money.
Whether you’re in your 20s or not, know that at any decade and any point of in your life, you can take control of your financial narrative. You can turn a negative relationship with money into a positive relationship. You can build your emergency savings or start investing. The first step is evaluating your relationship with money. When you know where you’re at, you can decide what direction you need to go next.
Thank you for reading my first lesson of my 20s! Stay tuned for next week’s lesson.
For more about the lessons I’ve learned and my goals, check out: