Dear Younger Me

Dear Younger Me Christine Luken

The song, “Dear Younger Me,” by MercyMe, has been stuck in my head recently. The song is full of advice the singer would give to his younger self. So I wondered: What money advice would people want to give their younger selves? So I posted the above picture of me and my best friend, Nicholle Bays, with this caption on social media: Dear younger me . . .  What one piece of money advice would you give your younger self?

Here are some the responses I received:

  • “The credit card is NOT your friend.”
  •  “Go to community college until you get credits built up to finish at a university.”
  • “Have a GREAT relationship with it!!”
  • “Invest in a retirement plan as soon as you begin your career – no matter what it is. And LEAVE the money there…period.”
  • “Stop spending it!”

As you can see, the majority of the responses are tinged with regret over past financial transgressions. Unfortunately, regret is unproductive unless we learn the lesson it has to teach us. What’s the advice that I would give myself? Dear younger me, you are not responsible to clean up the financial messes of others.

In writing my forthcoming book, “Money is Emotional: Prevent Your Heart from Hijacking Your Wallet,” I discovered that I was still harboring regret over many of the money messes I had made in my 20’s. I realized it was time to finally forgive my younger self for those financial transgressions and use them for good. By sharing them, I can help others avoid the same money mistakes.Rather than wallow in regret and beat ourselves up over our past financial mistakes, let’s vow to forgive ourselves, accept the money lesson, and change our behavior going forward.

What money advice would you give your younger self? What financial mistake do you need to forgive yourself for?

Comments 8

  1. I would tell my younger self to be more cognizant of balancing a checkbook and that just because you have money doesn’t mean you need to spend it all. Thankfully, I never got too far off the path going straight into corporate American and making nearly $50K straight out of college, but I wasn’t perfect by any means.

  2. When we got married, my husband and I had more than $100k in student loan debt — that was almost 30 years ago. We were resigned to it, until about 12 years in to repayment, my brother asked, “Wouldn’t you rather pay it off faster so you could do something fun with that interest money?” Life. Changing. Moment. We felt powerless to change it, so we just lived with it. I am thankful my brother spoke up, though I wish he had done it a few years earlier. Now, our only debt is our house payment — and that’s how it has been ever since those loans got paid off. It feels good to have some control over our finances.

  3. To start saving for son college. even though my younger self was unsure if she would have a child or if children would ever exist in her life she needs to save just incase because now we are relying on grants and scholarships.

  4. Beautiful! Dear younger me, save, save, save! Respect your money. And have patience for the things you want.

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