Can “Thinking Young” Help You Get Ahead Financially in 2014?

Stick with me here. I want to share some ideas and a great website with you. I am going to give you three great reasons why you should start “thinking young”—or better said, “think like you were young’, during the Holidays, even if you are not under 30.
Couple Working on Finances

Couple Working on Finances

Reason #1: Broke as a 20 year old? Then strategize like a 20 year old—think young.

Many of us were battered and bruised financially by the Great Recession of the past decade. Some of us went back to school with the assistance of student loans when employers cut back or vanished. Others drained 401ks and relied upon credit cards just to get by. Many homeowners became renters once again as they lost homes to foreclosure.

Now the Holiday season begins with messages across virtually all media encouraging conspicuous consumption while some of us try to cope with reduced hours at work, smaller or non-existent year-end bonuses, and 5-10 years of flat wages.

The Holidays might not offer much more than stress with everyone under so much pressure to spend, spend, spend and put on a brave face for family and friends. If you can’t keep up the “doing just fine” image, you might feel really alone and disconnected this Holiday season.

2004-2013 may have been a “lost decade” in financial terms for many of us. Really, are you much better off this Holiday season than in Christmas 2003? How much progress towards financial security have you made since January 1, 2004? Do you feel much better off than you did during Christmases past when you were 20? Or when you were 30?

The “lost decade” may have led to a bankruptcy filing. Sometimes the choice was bleak: (1) file bankruptcy or (2) lose your sanity and ruin your health over financial stress.

So as the financial “lost decade” draws to a close, what to do?

There’s an alternative to the financial rat race. If you are 40 or 50 years old but not much financially better off than when age 29, doesn’t it make simple good sense to visit the financial advice columns and blogs read by financially savvy and well-informed 29 year olds?

I suggest survive the the Holiday season with a goal and a purpose to begin the new year with a new point of view, and with the support and shared wisdom of a group of forward thinking individuals just like you. How? Where? Read on.

Reason #2: Pass on the wisdom

If you are in your 30s, 40s or whatever, some younger person is going to look up to you for direction and help. Over the spiked punch bowl this Holiday season, your nephew may just spill the beans that he is struggling financially and is very unhappy. What better way to help lead someone else to greater financial literacy and better decisions than to introduce your nephew to the supportive and interesting on-line community found at moneyunder30.com.

David Weliver started moneyunder30.com  after he found himself $80,000 in debt at age 25 with nothing much to show for it. David writes, “I started moneyunder30.com in 2006 for [a] singular reason: to provide simple, honest and relatable financial advice for starting out. By the way, it is fine if you are over 30, too. It is never too late to get right with your money! Whatever your goal, I want to help you get there.”

The articles on the site are great. Staying informed is easy. You can either sign up to receive a free email newsletter on the site, or can follow David’s Twitter account there so that you’ll automatically be notified of new posts and comments on the site.

What sets this site apart from the rest is that by participating, you’ll join an active community of likeminded people. You can leave comments on articles to share your experiences or expand on the content, too. The article comments are surprisingly numerous. By participating on topics on the site relevant to your situation, you may soon learn that you are not alone in your stress over finances. But this is not just a community of complainers. It is a group working to proactively change their current financial status and share ideas and comments to that end.

The site does look at bankruptcy as an option, but not as a panacea or an end without epilogue. I think that participation in the moneyunder30.com community will help you to realize when it is too late for anything but bankruptcy, it makes perfect sense as a positive alternative to years unnecessarily and hopelessly wasted, toiling with debt to no avail. The site is balanced and mature in that sense. Sometimes no amount of smart shopping or expenditure trimming can avert the need to consider bankruptcy.

There are millions of people just starting out or just starting over at the end of this ”lost decade”, or perhaps recovering after a bankruptcy or other financial shock. Stress over finances can feel isolating and embarrassing, but as a countermeasure, moneyunder30.com offers a welcoming online community you can join to fight back. This community welcomes you to make contributions by commenting on nearly every article.

David’s website features the contributions of a number of knowledgeable guest posts about consumer, home, auto, educational, and investment finance as well as timely and entertaining feature articles on topics like saving during the Holiday season.

Many of the moneyunder30.com articles seemed to echo what clients ask me every day, such as: “How to build credit (for the first time)”, “Should you save or pay off your student loans”, “Top Financial iPhone Apps” and ”Why it is ok to rent”.

The deeper financial advice articles are balanced with shorter, action oriented one, including: ”Cut back on spending: 10 painless money-saving tips for the upcoming holidays”, ”Free budget spreadsheet”, and “10 best cities for the young, broke and single—where to live if you are 18-44 years of age”.

I also note that the moneyunder30.com site appears to vet some credit offers, saying in effect that “if you need credit, we took a look at this credit product/offering and as far as we can till, it seems to be the least of all possible evils”.

Reason #3: Excellent Holiday savings!

The moneyunder30.com website has some great gift ideas that are economical. Speaking of which: want to save a truckload on last minute Christmas shopping? Who doesn’t! In next week’s post, we will review some low-cost gift ideas suggested by a recent moneyunder30.com article.