If you feel like you’re failing financially, you’re not alone. Financially speaking, 20-somethings have never been worse off. According to The Oregonian, the net worth of young adults (ages 18 to 34) has plummeted by 34% since 1996.
That means it isn’t even just 20-somethings suffering; it’s pretty much everyone under the age of 40. The costs of education, food and housing have skyrocketed while wages have remained stagnant.
The bottom line: It’s not ALL your fault.
And there IS something you can do about it.
Stop Beating Yourself Up
Your financial situation may not be your fault. There are major economic forces against you. What’s more, you’re not competing on a level playing field. You got the short end of the stick, and it’s time to start placing the blame where it lies.
In all of this, you must stop beating yourself up. It does nothing good for you. In fact, it can make things worse by zapping your happiness, confidence and success. You must learn to accept yourself and recognize the progress you’ve made. Psychology Today recommends looking at your progress over weeks, months or years to learn to fully appreciate your accomplishments.
Get Real About Your Circumstances
Before you can change anything, you must get real about it. You cannot stick your head in the sand and pretend nothing’s happening. If you’re having trouble paying rent, for example, you will get an eviction notice if you ignore it. Recognize how dire the situation is. The Financial Diet calls this the breaking point. You can also liken it to rock bottom.
Decide What’s Going to Give
Once you get real about your situation, you’ll gain much-needed perspective that will prove invaluable when you start addressing your current financial obstacles. This plan is all about deciding what’s going to give, and it’s a tough process.
Building on the above scenario, let’s say you can’t pay rent. You may have to make some difficult choices to remedy the situation. For example, you may have to take on roommates or move to a cheaper apartment. You may even have to let other things go, such as your car or love for gourmet coffee, in order to keep your home.
Transform Your Finances Through Better Choices
Once you get past a financial crisis, you can start transforming your finances through better choices. Money Crashers recommends that young people learn to live below their means, make a plan to deal with debt and take measures to increase their skills and education level while pursuing a traditional career. What works for you may be entirely different, but you do need to make a plan.
You might not have the power to transform the economy, but you can make the most of the broken economy that’s been handed to you. Make realistic observations and decisions to change the number in your bank account for the better. All you have to do is take the first step.
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