This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.
Recently, while listening to an episode of the Stacking Benjamins podcast about beginner savings advice, a sound bite caught my attention.
One of the show’s guests mentioned how many people don’t reach financial maturity until age 30-35.
I immediately slammed my hands against my desk and blurted out a long “YESSSSS”. Several co-workers proceeded to stare at me in confusion.
It wasn’t that I was excited about people not achieving financial maturity until their thirties. The line connected with me because of the several times people have brushed me off whenever I discussed personal finance.
“You’re only 22! You don’t know anything about personal finance!”
That was the general saying people gave whenever I had anything more than the short, small talk discussion about money. Older adults would dismiss me due to my age, saying that I surely didn’t know that much about personal finance because I was young.
To be honest, it got to me for a while. I would feel under confident whenever I had to mention this blog to people outside of the blogosphere/online world. People couldn’t comprehend why I would be writing about money instead of, I don’t know, working a retail job and partying on the weekends (that’s what the youngins do, right? :)).
The feeling of inadequacy happened even when I attended FinCon, the financial media conference, where everyone is so welcoming. There were established bloggers who were older than me and had several financial experiences under their belt. Certified financial planners were in attendance. The idea of being too young to talk about personal finance definitely got to me.
In a society that likes to have a hate/love talk about all things mortgages and investing, many older adults didn’t know what personal finance topics I would even talk about that would connect with twenty-something young professionals.
So what exactly do you write about on your blog? They would ask with a perplexed expression. It didn’t register with them. They didn’t know why a young twenty-something would want to write about money and love talking about it. In their eyes, they thought the only thing someone my age needed to know about personal finance was to start investing sooner since the magical compound interest train would leave once you hit 30.
Their mindset was relatable in a way, given how many personal finance articles and websites typically just focus on the strict cut and dry rules of how to save money, make money, and make a budget.
The unique behavioral attitudes towards money and things like the psychology of debt and diversity in personal finance are still under-represented.
Before sites like The Financial Diet, there weren’t many places for twenty-somethings to talk about money in a casual, relatable way. Outside of just the “x things to do” and “how-to” articles.
There are several things I talk about on this blog that really should be discussed more among twenty-somethings: refinancing student loans, understanding the psychology behind debt, how to go about picking your first or second credit card, how to pick funds for your 401k and IRA, properly saving for an emergency fund, NOT financing new cars, and learning about how to be more intentional with your spending.
I like covering those things and mixing in personal development with it. Because personal finance isn’t just numbers and following a rule book. It’s a process. Aligning your financial self with your goals to be the best you want to be. Being financial fit.
Will people discredit me, because of my age, when it comes to personal finance?
I don’t seem to be the only personal finance blogger who wonders this.
There was an episode of The Afford Anything podcast that featured several young personal finance bloggers. When the question of if age reduced credibility when talking about money, all four of the show’s guest agreed.
“I don’t think I’ve ever said a word about investing that has been taken seriously by an older person” – Emma Lincoln
I pondered the idea of being an anonymous blogger and how much of a difference it would make. Personally, it doesn’t seem like it would be any different considering most of the “you’re so young, what do you know” comments happen in the real-life, offline world.
I may not have 40 to 50 years of life in me or the experience of dealing with a mortgage but I do have 22 years within me. 22 years of filled with seeing my parents struggle with credit card debt and overconsumption, the experience of taking out and contending with student loans, and most importantly, being around an age group who couldn’t care less about money (but really should).
My questions to you are this: When did you achieve financial maturity? When do you think most people achieve it?