Get in the game, younger self!

If I had an opportunity to offer advice related to money to my younger self, I would have engaged with money matters sooner, and made money my friend. I made three fundamental mistakes and I plan to teach my daughter with my examples so she creates a healthier financial path:

    If I had an opportunity to offer advice related to money to my younger self, I would have engaged with money matters sooner, and made money my friend

    If I had an opportunity to offer advice related to money to my younger self, I would have engaged with money matters sooner, and made money my friend

  1. Understand the context of the financial system
  2. Don’t cash out your 401(k), ever
  3. Create a budget focusing on giving, saving, spending according to your values

I can’t remember a time in life when I did not work in some capacity. I even managed to save $5,000 during high school to use toward college. I had no idea how quickly that $5,000 would be used! I managed to muddle through college and started using my first credit card, all the while not really understanding how the financial system worked, until I started my first job at a bank. Knowing what I do know now, having context on the broader financial system would have saved me much confusion in my younger years.

When I moved from New Orleans to North Carolina, I made the mistake so many younger professionals make – I cashed out my 401(k) to pay for moving related expenses. I know, I know – not bright, but at the time, retirement seemed so far way and my need for a washer/dryer and new furniture so real!

Finally, it was my third job after college that I developed a budget for expenses and spending. Through the years it has evolved tremendously as my finances have gotten more complex. I have evolved it from a spending budget, to a savings budget, to now include the plan for giving to nonprofits that are important to my family. I hope to have it in terrific shape to send with my daughter as she goes to college in nine years – hoping that the financial evolution will continue to improve through the generations.

What advice would you give your younger self about money?

Renee Brown

About Renee Brown

Renee Brown is the Senior Vice President and Enterprise Social Media Leader for Wells Fargo. She looks forward to bringing her unique perspective to Beyond Today, addressing the challenges non-traditional families face, as well as the issues that bind us all.
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