I am not concerned with you becoming wealthy in a financial sense, but I’m writing so you can pursue your dreams. I think that if you win with money and in your life financially, it can set you up in a place where you can do whatever you like. If you mess up with money, I know it makes achieving your dreams a whole lot harder. Don’t get those two confused or switched out of order though. Love your dreams and use money, not the other way around!
I love what Mark Cuban says in his book, How to Win At The Sport of Business about debt.
“The greatest obstacle to destiny is debt. Debt is the ultimate dream killer.”
This article is about you, your life, and your dreams. These are some of my favorite principles on money, but ultimately, they are tips along your journey to help you reach your dreams and your destiny!
1. God always provides.
When I was in high school, my family had some major financial setbacks. I watched as God provided everything we needed. There is one specific occasion I remember walking into our home and there was some gift cards taped on the front door. Some families from our church community had met a need in our home. I learned from my parents that everything we had belonged to God.
Maybe you can relate on some level. Whether God provided the right job, apartment, means of transportation or a life-changing relationship I’m sure you’ve experienced the feelings on uncertainty met by an answer to prayer. It’s critical to recognize early on in life that we don’t need to stress or worry, that God does provide.
2. Seek wisdom and advice from mentors.
“Walk with the wise and grow wise.” Proverbs 13:20
In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker had a lot going on and needed some help. A small but wise mentor he found. As a high-ranking general and the Grand Master of the Jedi order, Yoda trained Luke to fight against the Galactic Empire. Do what Luke did—find a mentor. Everybody needs a Yoda! This is some of the best advice I can give you. Don’t settle for just any person who’s older than you. Find someone who has been where you want to go and can offer wisdom and advice to help you get there.
There’s value in seeking wisdom and counsel from older, more experienced people who have been where you want to go. I learned from a young age to ask as many questions as I could, to “go to school” through other people by learning from their successes and failures. I’ve heard it said, “Smart people learn from their own mistakes, but really smart people learn from other people’s mistakes.” That’s what mentoring is all about. Money is one of those areas of life where it’s important to be able to ask someone questions about giving, spending, saving, insurance, investments and even retirement.
3. The borrower is slave to the lender.
“Less debt is better than more debt.”
It’s tough to find a single person who would disagree with that statement whether it comes to personal finances or business accounts. Yet, every single day, thousands of people file for bankruptcy, marriages are ruined, companies go out of business. Debt is easy to get into and hard to get out of. The pressures of debt literally feel as if you are chained, in prison or a slave to the bank.
As a twenty-something, one of the wisest things you can do is pay off debt and stay out of debt. This is a decision that will impact you for decades. You can either have that impact be paying consequences of debt from your years as a young adult or you could be earning dividends so to speak from the wise decisions you make now.
4. Sacrificial Generosity
I have been inspired by the millennial generation. Expert sociologists have been saying that the millennial generation is the most social justice driven generation in history. The Passion Movement is an example of stadiums filled with college students age 18-25 who have given over $19 million to missions organizations in the past 20 years!
Venture Expeditions is a non-profit ministry that has discovered something truly unique. The gather young people who run across states and bike across countries to raise money to do crazy things like end world hunger and rescue women and children out of human trafficking. This is truly sacrificial generosity, it’s experiential giving!
5. Expect nothing, appreciate everything (anti-entitlement)
Tip #5 mentioned that twenty something’s are driven by social justice and that is one of the praises of our generation. The main pitfall people will talk about is how entitled millennial’s can be. When I think about what I want written in my obituary and on my epitaph, the word entitled is the furthest from what I desire. I hope to leave this place better than I found it.
One of the ways to combat entitlement is to adjust our expectations. The world doesn’t owe us anything. When we expect nothing, and someone gives us something, opens a door for our career, or helps us we truly appreciate it with all gratitude. “Expecting nothing, and appreciating everything” is one of the axioms I choose to live by.
6. Live within your means.
Don’t allow debt to hold you back from your dream.
How? Follow a budget. Any financial advisor who’s worth their salt will tell you this.
Dreams like that require sacrifice and discipline. For me, it took discipline while I was in high school and college, working and making wise financial choices so I wouldn’t end up with student loans. It also meant I had to continue working part time while in school. None of that would have made a difference if I hadn’t learned how to budget my money and plan how I was going to spend and save it.
Personally, I had to work as a volunteer in my dream job for six months before I was able to earn a paycheck. There is literally no way I could have done that if I hadn’t been in a place of financial freedom. What ways do you need to sacrifice something? What can you give up now that will benefit you more in the long run?
I’ve talked to quite a few young adults who found creative ways to stretch their money while in college. Stephen is one of my favorite examples. When he came to the Twin Cities for college, he lived with his uncle, who didn’t have Internet. Not a great situation for a college student. But Stephen worked part time and really enjoyed coffee from Starbucks. Instead of paying for internet at home and paying for coffee, he would study and hang out at coffee shops where he could enjoy his coffee and take advantage of complimentary wifi.
7. Miracles can happen if you dream.
“What would you try if you knew you could not fail?” —Ryan Leak
Think about your life goals and dreams. The whole concept of writing a book called Debtless began as a dream for me. I wanted to graduate college without any student loans. Now, I never want to stop dreaming. If you’re like me and you have dreams, they’re not in your heart to tease you. They’re there so you can make them happen. You can reach your dreams—it’s possible! So chase them with reckless abandon and don’t allow debt to hold you back. Learning these principles about finances will help you get there:
Talk to your parents or a mentor about your dreams. They can be your biggest cheerleaders, supporters, and encouragers. If a dream is yours, start thinking and planning toward that today! The time to start is now.
Talk to someone who’s doing what you want to be doing someday. How did they get there? Do they have any recommendations that could help you get there yourself? If you want to be an author, find an author you respect on twitter and reach out to them. If your dream is to be an engineer, contact someone who works at 3M or another major engineering company and pick their brain. Most people are honored and flattered when you reach out and ask them for help or insight.