Week 15: Money matters
My friends and I, we are getting old.
This is not the newest of revelations. I, for one, have been 13 going on 30 since before that was a movie title. And we aren’t actually old — we’re in our 20s. But we are definitely adults now.
I’m not just saying this because I am going to two more weddings the next two weekends (weddings No. 5 and 6 for me in a span of 18 months). I am saying this because of the kinds of conversations we now have. They are a lot different from the ones we had, say, five years ago.
Sure, we still talk about friends and guys and movies and sports. Of course, we now talk about our jobs and relationships. But we also talk about money matters — money matters a 20-year-old does not think about. Here are a few things I have discussed, at some length, with a girlfriend in the past few weeks:
Loans. For our cars and educations. Paying them off — or at least trying to.
Rent. How it is being raised, and the hassle of talking to the building manager and negotiating with the management company. And what the increase means for finances and budgeting for the next year.
Taxes. Filing them and paying them, and then somehow, in my case, being charged for them twice — via check and electronically — and having to haggle with the Franchise Tax Board and 1040.com to get my money back.
401K. What we should and what we can and what we do contribute to our retirement savings.
Insurance. How much it costs, how much we need (aka our net worth) and how its another expense constantly on the rise.
Down payments. How much they will be and when we might be able to afford them. And the dream — growing every day — of being an owner instead of a tenant, being in control of where I live, being able to paint and build shelves and plant things and (most importantly) not paying rent.
Homes. Buying them. Not me (obviously), but a few of my friends, of whom I am very envious.
Weddings (duh!). All the expenses that come with them. This has been a regular point of conversation for a while, and I’m not expecting that to change anytime soon.
Children. Just kidding! Thank goodness nobody is actively saving or budgeting for that one yet.
Do these conversations mean we are grown up or just obsessed with money? Honestly, I’m starting to think the two go hand-in-hand.
Don’t get me wrong: Being single and employed in your 20s has its financial perks. I have disposable income for essentially the first time in my life. I have the time and freedom to travel. I don’t have the kids or mortgage that will only make life more expensive in the coming decades.
But these are the things my friends and I think about, and these are the things we talk about — heavy stuff a far cry from anything we discussed just a few years ago. If nothing else, it just goes to show how we have evolved, into this young adult phase of our lives.
For real, though. With this being-a-grown-up thing, it’s always something, and almost always, that something seems to be money. If only we had more of it.
Currently reading: Those Guys Have All The Fun by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales
Currently watching: The Good Wife, latest episodes
Song of the week: Banks’ “Beggin for Thread”
Plans for the weekend: I head to Kansas City tomorrow, then on to Columbia for a wedding of college friends. Then I am home in Chicagoland for a few days before I head to South Bend for the wedding of my high school best friend. I’ll be singing in the first wedding and a bridesmaid in the second.