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Monday, April 15, 2024

Column: Money runs the world

The quarter-life crisis is something adults don’t know about or shrug off as nonexistent. Thanks to our craptastic economy, job market and tuition, we twenty-somethings won’t make more money in our lifetime on average than our parents did, the first time since the young adults of the Great Depression. We owe more money, have shittier jobs and start families later. It’s pretty bleak. I want to skip to 40, when I’ve earned a steady amount of wealth. I want success. I don’t want to worry about rent every month. And I want a damn puppy already!

Let’s be real: I love spending money as much as anyone else. I blame GQ and Details for giving me my disgustingly expensive taste and admiration for designer clothes and electronics. At the same time, it was the guys in those magazines I aspired to be. Not just because of the slick suits, but the idea of becoming a man who’s achieved his life’s goals and made a respectable living.

Here are the ways we’re told to be better off financially: never miss a car payment, check our accounts twice a week, eat less fast food, establish good credit, stick to a budget, invest in Facebook. All true. Do them.

A good money-saving trick? Cut out your social life. “NO! I don’t have to go to school ever again! All I want to be is social right now!” Of course we do. But we’ll never be as “social” as we were in college. Sometime between age 22 and 95, we’ll become those people whose highlight of their week is the latest episode of CSI: Bakersfield.

Going out means money on gas, dinner, cover, drinks, fourthmeal. Doing that two or more nights a week? Dumb. For now, limit yourself to two nights or one long weekend a month when you go out or have reunions/three-day benders with your friends. These are the times to have a dinner and a movie or dance our faces off. Plus, it’s better to let out some steam once every two weeks than becoming the regular at the local bar. You don’t want to be those people. No one likes those people.

The rest of the time, you should be clocking as many hours as possible at your job(s). Always let your boss know your availability for more shifts or hours. Instead of being addicted to Euro-dance music on a Friday night, learn to fall in love with your work. For a few more years, we possess the energy to work 70-hour weeks. It’s the head start we’ll need to be the successful 30-year-olds our parents were.

Choose the times to live like a rich person and a poor person. If we can afford it, buy a round of shots every once in a while. On the flipside, at our job, act as if we’re constantly on the cusp of being fired. These days, we pretty much are. We’ll be doing a better job than our co-workers and making more moola. Who do you think will be granted extra hours or get the promotion at the end of the year? Two rounds of shots!

That safety net our parents yap at us to keep will come in handy. From here on out, take 10 percent of your paychecks and put them into your savings account. Don’t cry — I know it’s tough. Seeing money you can’t use? Torturous! But you’ll be less stressed out knowing you can get yourself out of a random bind.

At the same time, we can’t be scared of investing in our future. A reliable car and comfortable bed are necessary purchases we can’t shy away from. A decorated apartment feels more like a home. The more we accumulate for ourselves now, the less we’ll have to spend when we’re in committed relationships or have kids that take all of our hard-earned money away from us like selfish monsters. Sound familiar? Better enjoy it now while you can.

My favorite tip: It’s great to splurge on ourselves once in a while! We’re too old to get gifts as often as kids so we have to buy them ourselves. If you indulge, make sure it’s on things that will last long or that will be used every day. Can’t afford it now, put it on mental layaway. If we set a date and stick to the plans we’ve made, it’ll feel a lot more rewarding when we finally get that TV or puppy (it’s totally mine this Christmas).

E-mail, tweet me if you wanna reach me. If you wanna page me, it’s 2012. Stop. jazztrice526@gmail.com or twitter.com/Jazz_Trice.

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