If you have savings in your 20s…

by Branwyn Wilkinson

Opinion Contributor

There is an article getting shared lately that has gotten a lot of press in some circles. It’s called “If You Have Savings in Your 20s, You’re Doing Something Wrong.” It takes an unconventional stance on the issue of saving money. Media sources have called it “controversial,” though the article itself isn’t written controversially. It is the topic that makes it controversial.

Money is always a touchy subject because people always worry about not having enough. So, we’re always told we have to save, and we have to start saving early. Now, here’s a writer voicing her opinion that your 20s are the time to invest in yourself, even if that means holding off on investing in your future. Of course this is an opinion that’s going to ruffle some feathers in today’s society.

The author, Lauren Martin, makes some good points though. She discusses how spending money on social gatherings can open potential networking opportunities. She also talks about the differences between our generation and our parents.’ She points out that we are on a different schedule for starting careers and families, so we have more time to begin saving after our 20s.

While these are both valid points, Martin could present them better in her article. She relies on cheeky sayings more than real life examples. This makes her article come across as more sensational than an editorial should be.

While Martin’s article raises an interesting topic in an interesting way, it could go more in depth. She says going out helps one network… great, but how? And where? The places a young person might want to spend their time, like nightclubs or bars, aren’t usually conducive to networking. Being social is a huge benefit, and it’s okay to spend money to get out and about around town; it makes your face recognizable. Just make sure your face is known for reputable reasons.

Martin also fails to realize that some young adults might well be on the same timeline as their parents. She makes the general claim that “our parents… were saving for kids while we still want to be kids.” However, I know there are people our age already thinking about marriage and kids. I’ve met them. Having kids young is a fine choice, but for those who want kids in their 20s, it’s important to start putting away some money now.

How much money you save, and when you start saving it, is a personal decision that must take into account your own unique life situation. Children aren’t the only factor that determine when someone starts saving. They also need to consider what they want to do in life, what kind of job they want to have, what kind of person they are.

If you have savings in your 20s, you’re not doing anything wrong. You’re doing what’s best for you.

Regardless of what you choose to do, remember that everything should be in moderation. For those of you who want the best career and most interesting life possible, any way possible, this is not an excuse to go drain all your funds. And for those of you who want to create a financial safety net, this is not another message to never treat yourself.

We all need some savings for a rainy day. What if your car breaks down, or your roof leaks? And what about those students loans? Wouldn’t it be nice to pay off a little extra at the end of the year?

At the same time, the possibility of a rainy day is not a case for hyper saving. Just as saving money in moderation is important, spending money on yourself, in moderation, is also important. Spending money on things that make you happy, like going out with friends, picking up a book to read for pleasure, or even buying a new pair of shoes, is positive, because it optimizes your outlook. Staying positive will keep you motivated, which will keep you on the path toward success.

Remember, though, everything in moderation.  The point of this article is not to promote draining your savings account. That was also not the point of the original piece. Martin’s stance is that you don’t need to save money in your 20s, but my take is that you should. You shouldn’t save to the point that you fear spending money, but you also need to prepare for emergencies. Plus, saving is a good habit to start early.

The truth Martin missed is that, when you choose to start saving, and the amount you save, is a personal decision. Every person must make this decision for themselves based on their individual expenses and the kind of life they want to have.

To read the article that inspired this piece, search “If You Have Savings in Your 20s, You’re Doing Something Wrong.”

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