Why It’s Ok To Be Broke In Your 20s

And even more ok to enjoy it

To everyone graduating from college: it’s ok to be broke right now. Expected, even. But this is something a lot of older people won’t tell you and could very well aggressively disagree with for fear of steering you in the wrong direction. But here are two things: 1. very few people graduate college with fat bank accounts, and 2. plenty of older people look back on their first handful of years out of college with joy and humor. Believe it or not, this is one of the best times of our lives (I graduated a few years ago and am still rocking in the same boat). I know that we are hard workers and have the ability and the drive to build the life we dream of for ourselves. We made it through college, didn’t we? We have the rest of our lives to look at spreadsheets and check in on how our stocks are doing and trade accordingly, so why bother doing that now?

Here’s a tip. Don’t take yourself super seriously and be ok with not having it all right now. We’re not supposed to, and it would be incredibly boring if we did. What would there be to look forward to? I’m looking forward to 10 years down the road when I can look back on and laugh at my first apartment that had no sink in the bathroom. But right now I’m also allowing myself to love my first apartment, because that’s what it is. It’s a first apartment, and something I was able to get for myself. I love how cheap the rent is because it allows me to put a little extra money towards traveling while I’m not married and have no kids or pets. And to me, traveling the world with extra money is well more worth it than having a sink in the bathroom.

The corporate job, the bigger salaries, and the beefy 401k will come. We have the rest of our lives to worry about those things. But for right now, let’s all just live how we’re supposed to live: early 20s style. Hell, even into your 30s! There’s no age when you should stop having fun or living your best life. You don’t want kids? Don’t have kids. You want to free-lance for the foreseeable future? More power to you. You want to live in a different city every year to figure out where suits you best? Fucking do it. We have the next 80 years to be adults where the world will try to get us down. We may let it, but I truly hope very few of us do.

So for right now, enjoy getting to live off of street truck and deli food. Enjoy staying in hostels or couch-surfing when you travel abroad. Enjoy having roommates or living in an apartment the size of your childhood bedroom but not caring because it’s yours. Enjoy day drinking on a Saturday! Or even a Tuesday afternoon if that’s the culture of the fun company you chose to work at instead of the other one. Because let’s be real, even though the fun company might pay a little less, at least there’s not a cubicle or micro-manager sucking out your will to live.

We don’t need to be earning the highest fucking salary possible right now. To quote Gary Vayerchuk in a recent video, “This is not the time to get the job Mom wanted you to, this is not the time to maxmize your money so you can buy a fat whip…attack the life you want to win”. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be working our asses off. Quite the opposite: “This is when you put in the 18 hours a day to make the life you want happen.”

Grind grind grind grind grind. Build build build build build. Whether it’s a business, a side-project that might just happen to take off someday, whatever the case may be, work your ass off for it because we can, we get to, and we deserve to. We don’t have life’s baggage keeping us from doing any of the things we want to do yet. We don’t need fat bank accounts to pursue what we want to pursue. This is the time to jump, with every ounce of body weight we can muster, onto our goals.

You just signed a lease and don’t want to leave for a month-long training course that will help you reach your dream in some way? Airbnb’ing it is a thing. You don’t have extra cash for a flight? Let me introduce you to rover.com. We don’t have it all right now, but that’s because we get to make it all. And what in life is more thrilling than knowing that?

Go do it.

S/o to Gary Vaynerchuk for making this video when I needed the reminder.