I’ve always chosen peace over war. It ties into me being a “people pleaser” – if a decision I want to make is going to ruffle too many feathers, even if I really want to make this decision, then sometimes I’ve decided against it for the sake of peace, tranquillity and no wahala.
At least, that’s how I used to be. It’s only been more recently yhat I’ve stopped living for others. I think I’m a pretty uncontroversial person and my life is kosher if you can call it that… I don’t get into trouble. So if I want to do something that I think could upset others due to differing opinions, so long as I’m satisfied with the decision, I’m going to do it. Even if that means getting 15 tattoos on my arm (which, I don’t want to do/will not do, but my point is… it’s totally my decision).
Riding on my own wave now – there are definitely some things I do that consensus generally advises me against…
I’ve been renting since I was 18 and first moved into halls at university. Whilst I contemplated moving back home after university – because it seemed to be the path most others were taking – after a conversation with my mum I realised that for numerous reasons, it made more sense for me to stay living out. Plus, I was luckily going to have a graduate income / income trajectory that meant I would still be able to save.
I ended up buying a place with my parents and older brother when I was around 23 (very lucky to be able to do this) – my brothers live there at the moment but it’s a 3 bed, the final bedroom belonging to me, which I have rented it out in the past. Otherwise, I actually still live separately and rent a place with my partner. For me, going into living with my partner and buying straight away felt like too much of a commitment, it made sense to continue renting as I always had. The plan now is to buy a “forever-ish” place to actually live and grow into in the next 2-3 years or so.
The internet and even adults in my life would tell you that what I’m doing is totally wrong and I should take my ass back to my parents’ place. After all, I’m throwing money away into somebody else’s pocket. But, I’ve always thought that there’s a lot more to consider than just that. When it comes to renting its first of all a question of income currently and income trajectory – for example you see a lot of YouTubers renting fancy apartments on the internet which they get a lot of slack for, but I’m sure many of them are still putting away thousands each month into their saving pot. Second of all, renting/living out is about more than just the absolute monetary considerations. It’s also about independence. It’s also about your young adult life. Thus, for me its not as simple as one hat fits all, and dependant on somebody’s financial and living situation, I don’t think it’s bad to rent a place.
Being in a long-term relationship in my 20s
I basically met my partner with I was turning 20, and we’ve been zooming through our 20s hand-in-hand ever since. Of all my friends, there are really only a handful that I know that have similarly been in long term relationships in their 20s.
Consensus will tell you that this is wrong – you need to spend your 20s single and free otherwise you’re totally missing out and you’ll turn grey haired one day and regret your decision. I must say – whilst I’ve scratched my head at the notion, I’ve never genuinely thought that I’m making the wrong decision. I’ve never thought that should be ending my relationship, and making my way back onto the hot-girl-summer streets.
There are a few reasons for this. First of all, perhaps I didn’t experience it in my 20s, but I feel like I know well enough what its like to be single. I’ve experienced it, I’ve lived it, I’ve got the scars and the stories to share – they just happened through ages 17/18/19 rather than 20-25. What I have now is not all I’ve ever known in my adult life, and because of this – I know what I have is really great. Even I sometimes wonder how people manage to maintain relationships from e.g. age 15, I’ve questioned to myself if they wonder what its like to be single and if they ever yearn for said hot girl (or boy) summer. That said, whilst there are plenty of fish in the sea indeed – once you add on top wanting somebody who’s doing well/is ambitious, who you’re actually attracted to and most of all who you can get on with effortlessly… wellll, those fishes suddenly get a little less plentiful. What I’m really saying is – if you’ve got something genuinely good, appreciate that.
Going to work straight out of university
I’ve never truly travelled abroad solo, I’ve never had a gap year and I’ve never worked in a different country. So if we’re talking about “discover yourself”-type life events, well, there’s certainly a bunch I’ve never experienced.
I hopped on the first educational bus and from then on, I was always on time – from school, to college/sixth form, to university, to work… it was just like clockwork. My parents never had to sweat, because I was getting on with it.
In a perfect world, I would have taken a gap year in the year in between university and starting work. But in a realistic world, it just wouldn’t have been easy. For one, I had an offer for a full time job soon after university finished, for me to turn down the offer (and it was a great offer), I would have had to do more interviews to try to get another internship and hope to convert that into a job; the industry I went into is h’extremely competitive… so this was certainly a much riskier option. As well as this, at that time in my life – I couldn’t even have afforded that gap year. My parents were never keen on gap years, so I could never have turned to them for monetary support. But I guess I could have found somewhere to work for 6 months and spent that to travel for another 6 months if I truly wanted to take this path.
In any case, instead, I went on 3 holidays between the end of my final exam and my first day of work. First to Portugal, next to Miami and then I ended in Malta. I rinsed my final bit of internship pay down to the very last dime until I’d fallen back into my overdraft.
Would I have ideally done things differently? Ideally, I guess. But am I happy with how things ended up? Also, a yes.
The older I get, and the more savings I accumulate in that time, compounded with the more hustle culture grows on the interwebs – the more voices are in my head telling me what the “right” thing is to do to manage my money. For example, I was told to put 95-100% of my savings into cryptocurrencies – if I had followed this advice, my savings would have been absolutely massacred over these past few weeks. I was also told that I should be buying a house in 2021 from somebody who thought I could get away with no stamp duty and put down 5%; but actually a buy-to-let property requires a 25% deposit from many lenders and in any case, I would not be eligible for stamp duty relief as I already have a property. I was told once to put 100% of my savings into paying off my entire student loan because it’s “logical” – but when COVID hit, and I knew I didn’t have to worry because even if things went to shit for me as I had some savings. Those are just 3 things, but I get tons of advice on what to do and what I’m doing wrong and it all gets a bit frustrating.
I think I take a very steady approach when it comes to what I do with my money. I’ll buy myself a cheeky luxury good, or get some gifts for my loved ones, but I’m also making sure I’m saving too. I split my savings between equity funds, cryptocurrencies (in a smaller but significant enough amount) and cash too. I’ve also just finished paying off my student loan, after taking this on as a slow-and-steady goal from 2019. I’m also investing into a new personal project. I’m quite a careful person and I think my approach reflects this.
As time goes on, the more vindicated I’ve felt in my decisions I’ve taken, and the more I am able to block out all of the noise. However, even if I make a decision and I do get things wrong – well that’s life. Nobody has a magic ball, so all we really can do is live and learn.