26 thoughts to “Ask the Bitches: How Can I Make Myself Financially Secure Before Age 30?”

  1. Loooooove this! It makes me regret not getting on a great enough path in high school, but we all have our own journeys. To be honest, job hopping enabled me to double my income in my first three years of working. I know it’s not a great practice and I didn’t set out to be a job hopper, but it’s been great for my finances.

    1. Actually, we fully support job-hopping! Kitty covered it a couple months back, but her story is very similar to yours. Job hopping has allowed her to reach a 6 figure salary within 7 years of graduating college, so that sounds like a solid plan to me…

  2. So much good advice here. I’m bookmarking this in the “for future kiddos” folder.

    I’ve taken for granted how many things just aren’t explained to young people: checking, savings, earning income, asking for raises, picking majors, deciding if you even want to go to college…

    Adulting really is hard.

  3. Brb, dusting off my Tumblr from where it’s been languishing since college so I can follow y’all. What’s my username/password again though?…

    Seventeen, sweet baby Jesus. Honestly asking this question at that age is half the battle. Kitty and Piggy, let me take yet another opportunity to say how awesome y’all are. I’m proud of your baby reader, but that’s also testament to the great blog you’re running and the advice you give!

    +1 for the Budget Epicurean because she’s pretty great 😉 Also for Budget Bytes. Thank goodness I found that site after college!

    1. Your kind flattery means the world to us. Do go on! 😉
      We love Tumblr because it’s full of hope for the future in the form of rad kids who know they’re inheriting a fucked up world, and they are determined to make the best of it. They’re beautiful. They teach us about social justice and Pokemon. Come join us!

  4. In terms of paying for college, in the words of Jay-Z, “There’s money to be had.” Billions in scholarship dollars go unclaimed every year because no one applies. Search for scholarships and apply, even if they seem super niche or silly. If you fit the criteria (or at least can make it look like you do) then you’ve got a shot at $$$. Sometimes you win by default because no one else is trying. That’s how I won $500 bucks this weekend in a scavenger hunt. No one else showed up so it was really easy to win it all. Be resourceful. It will pay off.

    Oh, and if you get federal work study in college that should make you eligible for food stamps. Get them. Use them. You’re welcome.

    1. WHAT OMGF SAID. If you’re not applying for scholarships you’re leaving money on the table. Take that money. It is yours by right. Put in a smidge of effort and it will pay off big.

  5. (College professor here) A few words to add about paying for college.

    (1) First, I would try to put as much of your pre-college earnings as possible into a protected retirement vehicle. Financial aid forms that calculate ‘need’ will take into account student and parent assets. This is a situation where you are actually quite advantaged if you (and your parents) have a low net worth, if you can get in to a school that covers full demonstrated need. Little known secret: high-powered schools LOVE admitting highly qualified but very low-income students, and wealthy schools have now replaced loans with grants for many people. It’s much better to have great grades than to be a great athlete, when it comes to these schools.

    (2) If you don’t plan to take advantage of financial aid — that is, if your parents have enough assets to just pay tuition — then ignore that advice and just make money and save it wherever you can. And try to help out someone else who’s not in as good a financial situation as you are if your folks are paying. Oh, and vote for politicians who plan to fund higher education again.

    (3) I would recommend not stressing out too much about what major you pick. By all means, if you have a great love of finance or physics, go for it. But people who pick majors entirely based on ROI — I’ve seen them, and they’re often miserable, *and they also often do badly in their classes* which wipes out any advantage you’d get. I also don’t recommend throwing caution totally to the wind; I wish I’d had some good career counseling at 17 or 20 or hell, 25. But there’s a lot of good evidence demonstrating that while humanities majors have lower salaries out of the gate, they’ve caught up and often surpassed business majors by 30. There’s also a lot of good evidence that (and this is pretty sad, but it’s also true) getting entry-level jobs is a lot more about networking than it is about major. And, finally, I was just talking to a friend of mine who’s a senior computer science person at a fancy tech company, who told me that she regretted double majoring in math and CS instead of in math and history. She says everything she’s done in her career would have been fine with just the math. What I’m saying is, ROI is hard to predict. So it should be *part* of your decision but not *all* of it.

    1. I am glad to see you saying this. One of my maybe-regrets is that I definitely followed my heart (science, environment and finally a climate change advisory role), rather than the ROI when choosing a major and then a career. I’ve sometimes wondered if I should’ve done the opposite, but I just couldn’t see myself becoming e.g. a lawyer purely for the money. It would be such a miserable experience for me, doing something I’m not interested in every day ! Also to be honest I think without passion I would suck at my job and likely not progress very much .

  6. OMG I MADE THE BGR BLOG?!? *Swoons*
    *Sits back up*
    Totally agree with pretty much all of this. Had I followed the “get high paying job-job hop-invest” advice sooner (curses, grad school!) I’d probs be nearly FI by now! Ah well, that which doesn’t kill you right? (goo.gl/wDXk4t) Perfect list ladies, and GOOD ON YOU to all the under-30-year-olds paying attention & asking the right questions.

    1. Omg and thanks to this I’ve just realised you are blogging over at Budget Epicurean again!! Ooh my day is made. Double thank you , Bitches!

  7. I’d add – “Focus on your people skills”. More often than not, if your EQ stinks and you can’t get along with people at work, you’re toast. I see this all the time where I work. Looking back, I wish I had the foresight and to take on mentors and learn about relationships and the importance of emotional resiliency.

    All the other items on your list are key as well – Avoid that car, dammit!

  8. I was totally on board through part one, during high school, but I think after that (or maybe even very first!) we need step 0: identify your values.

    Sure you can potentially save a lot of money if you live with roommates, but the other costs can be so high that it still might not be worth it! Identify where your mental well being means you need to spend a little more (living alone for example was always worth it for me), and make peace with it. As Captain Awkward says: “Sometimes the cheapest way to pay for something is with money.” If you’ve set yourself up even a fraction as good as all this advice will do, you will come through better for it in the end no matter what.

  9. Adding in to the chorus of OMG SEVENTEEN!!!!

    If I had been thinking like this at 17….. whoa.
    I mean, I discovered FIRE and so on in my late twenties not that I was burning cash before, because hello, frugal environmentalist (not much cash to burn!) but still.

  10. “At no point are you allowed to roll over and content yourself with mediocrity because succeeding is too difficult.”
    I had this quote on a sticky note at eye level at my last job (this article isn’t the first time the Bitches have said it), and it got me through so much awful mediocrity.

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