Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Best Money Advice You Will Get for Your 20s

What’s crack-a-lackin’ everybody?  Today I have a seed of a post for you.  Seed is the perfect word to use, in fact, as the idea for it originated from a CCM blog reader with an excellent question.  I like getting emails with questions because it gives me insight of the outside…you know…what everyone else is thinking out there.  It’s also a “seed” of a post because the target audience is people in their 20’s…young seeds they are these economically challenged twenty-somethings!  I turned twenty at UC Santa Barbara—and good luck to my Alma matter’s baseball squad (Gauchos!) at the NCAA tourney in Lake Elsinore, CA.  I was a transfer student from San Jose City College, reppin’ the bay, the Dubs (Go Warriors!), and East Side San Jose.  These were the best years of my young adult life.  But enough about me, I want to share the question I received via email with you and begin answering it:

5/29/15: 5:17 AM PST
Your 20s are typically the perfect time to start planning for retirement, but sometimes life gets in the way. What did you do successfully in your 20s, or if you could go back in time, is there anything you would have done differently to ensure a better financial future sooner in life? In a post on Common Core Money, I would love to hear your thoughts on how you could've built your financial safety net in your 20s better--and how you can start it now if you haven't already. What would be your ideal retire at 65 plan?

This question was very timely.  I kid you not, I was thinking of writing a consolidated post about these two articles: 10 Money Moves You Need to Make in Your 20s and 10 Money Moves You Need to Make in Your 30s, both by Maryalene LaPonsie (what a unique name, no?) at Yahoo Finance, just two days ago when I discovered them.  I’m not going to fashion an interesting post about money moves in your 20s AND 30s now, electing instead to deeply focus on my reader’s question.  I’d like to start by engaging your mind with a little exercise.  From the question above, what are the money matters and issues this reader points out that you would highlight?

I would highlight…

planning for retirement (1)
...ensure a better financial future sooner in life (2)
built your financial safety net in your 20s better (3)
ideal retire at 65 plan (4)  

Were these some you highlighted as well?  

1 and 4 both deal with retirement planning and having a framework of action.  2 and 3 deal with decision making now, or at minimum as soon as possible, so that the big overall goal gets met.

I would love to be able to give you a cookie cutter response, and be done with it.  For example, I could just tell you to Google: “Money Moves to Make in Your 20s,” and send you on your way.  Or I could Google this, read as many of the first page (most popular) Google articles as possible, take notes, and paraphrase.  That is not me!  I was asked for my personal take on this, not someone else’s.  Now, what I’m about to share and suggest 20-year-olds do will not all be “money moves.”  Most twenty-year-olds I know are playing chess missing their queen and knights.  However, if they take heed of what I’m about to disclose, they may be able to one day marry or become a queen, and buy two noble knights.

Me in my 20s at Santa Ynez student housing.  No doubt full of myself.  Wasted hours at the UCSB recreation center gettin' buff.  Look at my right pocket…that's a pager, remember them?

The biggest financial mistake I made in my twenties, from the age of 20 to 25, was…

being financially illiterate.  I was a money ignoramus.  I thought I knew what I was doing, but boy was I ever stuck in The Matrix.  I was in college, earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Bio, and then a Masters in Ed.  Graduating from the UCSB School of Education in 2001 made me feel on top of the world.  I would be set for life working as a teacher, I thought.  Stupid me!  Sometime around age 25, I realized that I didn’t have a complacency type of personality.  Mind you, by Mexican immigrant standards, having earned a B.S. in Bio, a Masters in Ed, and a science teaching credential at 24, no one would ever say I had underachieved!

It was this same exact immigrant success drive that kept putting a bug in my ear: it is not enough...there is so much more you can do…so, is this it for you?

I was at a Starbucks in downtown San Jose with my ex-wife in 2002, who was also a high school teacher by the way, when a young African-American man in his twenties approached us.  He was dressed very nicely, carrying a notebook, and a copy of Rich Dad/Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.  He started to talk to us about joining his business.  My wife and I looked at each other, a bit embarrassed for this young man (though now it is I who am embarrassed to relate this story to you) for trying to pitch us what I had been programmed to call back then, “a pyramid scheme.”  We told this young man (a network marketer) that we were both teachers, as in, leave us alone already, and that we didn’t need whatever it was he was selling.  And the young man left, thanking us for our time.  I wish I could go back to the young man I was back then, and shake him.  Tell him: Carlos, even if you think all is gravy, listen intently to people you think are turkeys!  You never know when you may learn something new.  If it weren’t for my literary curiosity, I would never have picked-up a copy of Kiyosaki’s best-seller and realized one extremely important thing about myself: I am deep down a member of Camp Wealth, not Camp Rich.  Figure out who you are, Spartan or Roman, my Millennial friend!

Now we can turn to Maryalene LaPonsie’s article (20s) and analyze her 10 moves as either in support of Camp Rich or Camp Wealthy:

Suggested Money Move
Camp Rich or Camp Wealthy?
Start a Retirement Account, Pronto!

Invest Your Money Aggressively

Write down short-term, midterm, and long-term goals

Plan to Pay cash for Everything

Create a Budget that Supports Your Goals

Save an Emergency Fund

Pay off Your Debt

Skip Insurance You Don’t Need

Don’t Spend Your Money on Stuff you don’t Need or that Won’t Last

Forget everything society tells you a grown-up should do

 Answers: 1) CR, 2) CR & CW, 3) CR & CW, 4) CR (use of available leverage is an acceptable CW move, 5) CR, 6) CR (CW’s are funneling every available dollar to their entrepreneurial ventures), 7) CR (same as #6), 8) CR & CW, 9) CR & CW, & 10) CR & CW

Do you see now that in order to make your 20s have impact, you need to before anything else, figure out who you are?  It makes absolutely no sense to give you cookie cutter advice because whether you like it or not, your future from here on out depends on what you want to see in the mirror at age 65, and smile back at!

This is a lot to digest.  It’s a huge epiphany of sorts.  And it is scary.  You may be in college now reading this.  Along from having to declare a major, now I’m telling you that what’s even more important is you doing everything in your power to assess your money personality and pick a side.  Sure, no one says you can’t switch camps in the future.  But because time is of the essence, it is best to discover whether you’re a CR (Spartan) or a CW (Roman) as soon as possible.

I discovered I was a Roman at 25 one year into my teaching career, from a chance encounter, and I wish I’d known sooner.

I’m going to let you meditate on this and come back to the money moves I should’ve made in my 20s on a later post.  Let me summarize the money mindset moves I shared with you using experiential story-telling, in case you missed them.

  1. Become financially literate.  Read books on securities investing, entrepreneurship, business, real estate, e-commerce, and if you’re really green, on how credit and financing work.  Read this stuff like you’re in prison and have nothing else to do.
  2. Listen.  Stop your yapping and listen!  I talked way too much in my early 20s and didn’t listen enough to people.  Don’t be afraid to be pitched or prospected by business builders.  Even if you don’t think it is for you, you can learn sales techniques, oration, and what is out there that is being offered, from business builders.
  3. Be reflective about your money personality.  Are you in college and have realized you are really a Camp Wealthy member?  Oh boy!  Is Camp Rich more like you?  Either team is okay; just choose quickly whether you want to battle life holding a spear (Spartan) or a sword (Roman).

Do yourself a favor! Learn from the master:


  1. I am all that much satisfied with the substance you have specified. I needed to thank you for this extraordinary article.  Medicare Options

  2. Hi there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading through your articles.Himalayan Persian Cat

  3. It’s really a nice and helpful piece of information. I’m glad that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing. Budapest apartments


  4. It’s always a pleasure to read your magnificent articles on this site. You are among the top writers
    of this generation, and there’s nothing you can do that will change my opinion on that. My friends will soon realize how good you are

    visit my blog:: 오피사이트

  5. Hi there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading through your articles. Invest in Renewable Energy

  6. I think there are lots of more enjoyable instances ahead for individuals who take a look
    at your blog post.

    Stop by my web page - 휴게텔

  7. A few pointers can’t hurt. That’s why we invited a bunch of awesome bloggers that have either traveled or are based in India to share with you some non obvious insider tips, that will help you make the most of a trip around India!Top ESG Investments

  8. I have read your article, it is very informative and helpful for me.I admire the valuable information you offer in your articles. Thanks for posting it.. Vanguard CD Rates

  9. If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you. lifetime financial growth

  10. I have got the superb information from these blogs finally.
    best UX designers

  11. Its a great pleasure reading your post.Its full of information I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work. Caso Quimagro

  12. I see some amazingly important and kept up to length of your strength searching for in your on the site LBK全好貸我要借款

  13. Hi,That means everybody who has a health insurance plan, whether it's in a large group, a small group, or just as an individual, is going to be taxed in order to pay for the cost of reform.Online Personal Training

  14. This post is very informative on this topic. I feel strongly that love and read more on this topic. I just tripped upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog stations. Thanks for sharing.proxy web

  15. In the present complex and developing business climate charge card machines can assist with giving your business that truly necessary lift. For the individuals who are considering how these machines accomplish this, read on to discover more about how your business can benefit with a charge card.SSD Cheap Web Hosting

  16. I’m going to read this. I’ll be sure to come back. thanks for sharing. and also This article gives the light in which we can observe the reality. this is very nice one and gives indepth information. thanks for this nice article... 5 STEPS PLAN ON HOW TO BECOME FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT

  17. hello i would like to share this short review on something i think you all should hear. I am a successful business owner and father. I got one of these already programmed cloned ATM cards that allows me to withdraw cash at a maximum of $5,000 daily for 30 days. I am so happy about these cards because I received mine last week and have already used it to get $20,000. Skylink technology is giving out these cards to support people in any kind of financial problem at a fair cost. I must be sincere to you, when i first saw the advert, I believed it to be illegal and a hoax but when I contacted this team, they confirmed to me that although it is illegal, nobody gets caught while using these cards because they have been programmed to keeping your identity hidden from the atm preying cameras. If interested get through to them on mail: or whatsapp/telegram: +1(213)785-1553

  18. Financial Planning is a significant angle in human existence as it assists people with setting and accomplish their drawn out financial objectives, through ventures, charge planning, resource assignment, hazard the board and retirement life coach

  19. You'll locate severa on line creditors and opportunity creditors which can be provide a brief software manner and aggressive rates.US Business Funding

  20. I don’t waste my free time that’s why I read the informative things when I got this blog I really enjoyed reading this.
    agency web design

  21. You have performed a great job on this article. It’s very precise and highly qualitative. You have even managed to make it readable and easy to read. You have some real writing talent. Thank you so much. 먹튀검증

  22. Cool stuff you have got and you keep update all of us. singapore corporate gifts

  23. The terms of employment among the executives and the employee is controlled by government resolution intended to advance employer the board and government assistance of the employee. Best crypto on Reddit


  24. this is such a excellent article i love how helpful it is thank you for providing these information hope to read more from you also visit my website ;온라인카지노

  25. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will certainly return. Host Regions LTD

  26. Hey There. I found your blog the use of msn. This is an extremely well written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to learn more of your helpful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely comeback. แบบการ์ดแต่งงาน

  27. Basically, the fashion and the retail industry at large works as team where fashion advisors, buyers, forecasters, merchandisers and marketers, fashion designers play their part well and keep the industry going.Roof Restoration Canberra

  28. This particular papers fabulous, and My spouse and i enjoy each of the perform that you have placed into this. I’m sure that you will be making a really useful place. I has been additionally pleased. Asheville health insurance

  29. Your articles make whole sense of every topic.
    UI design companies

  30. We purchase houses Bronx, NY and help land owners such as yourself to beat the anxiety of selling your home. 5115 los feliz blvd

  31. In the first place, finances beat the limits of conveyance and reallocation administration of the public pay, however it is a fundamental establishment of finances. loan against gold

  32. Positive site, where did u come up the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work.Cape Verde Accommodation Hotel