Living With Debt

11 20-Somethings On Their Biggest Financial Insecurity

By | Friday, January 15, 2016


Everyone has their own financial insecurity that causes them stress and anxiety. For me, it’s the fact that I don’t have nearly enough money saved compared to what I thought I would have at this point in my life. While it’s a source of continual low-key stress at the back of my mind, I know I need to stay positive. All I can do is continue working hard to build it up to where it needs to be. It can feel easy to slip into despair when I consider my own financial insecurities, and I knew I wasn’t alone in this. Whether it’s having high student loans, bad spending habits, or a lack of savings, most people have their own issues. I feel like it’s cathartic to vocalize our financial shortcomings because it’s the first step in identifying the problem. From there, we can begin to make progress wherever possible. In order to get people talking more openly about their own financial situations, I reached out to people about what their financial insecurities were — this is what they said:


“I have $97,000 of student loan debt. Most of the time, I’m able to remain confident in my ability to pay it off, but the loan is always in the back of my mind whenever I’m spending more than like, $100 bucks on something. It’s like a little bell that goes off that reminds me to not spend frivolously because I’ll regret it.”  — Brie, 25

“I spend about $250 per month on a meal delivery service, and the food is delivered right to my apartment. I’m embarrassed to tell people I can afford this kind of luxury, and it’s definitely not something I mention at a cocktail parties.” — Leah, 27



“I have to say, the one thing I’m insecure about is the fact that I make way more money than my live-in boyfriend. I work as a PR manager for a beauty company during the week, and I do makeup consultations for brides some weeknights and most weekends. I’m able to buy myself nice things without a second thought while my boyfriend struggles to make his own loan and bill payments. Sometimes, I do feel insecure because I don’t want my high salary to cause tension. I know I shouldn’t downplay my own success, but it can feel that way from time to time.” — Toni, 29



“I have lingering debt on my credit card that I don’t completely pay off at the end of each month. Money is tight right now, and I don’t always have money leftover to pay off everything I charged. I know I shouldn’t be spending the way I do, and I try to cut as many corners as possible. However, I’ll justify clothing that I ‘need’ for work, and those items add up to a LOT at the end of the month.” — Erica, 23



“When I got my first ‘big girl’ job, I leased a car that was way too expensive. I was a victim of temptation and rationalized it since I commute to work each day. The last two years have been a wake-up call for me. I’ve seen all the things I’ve needed to cut out of my budget in order to afford to drive this stupid thing (that guzzles gas like you wouldn’t believe) around every day.”  — Jean, 24


“My biggest financial insecurity is probably the fact that I have like, $3,000 bucks saved, and I’m almost 28 years old. It’s not like I’ve been completely irresponsible with money, but I live in a big city and rent is a lot. I’ve lived on my own since I was 18 and I really struggled with my finances in the beginning. I paid my way through college, which took nearly six years to complete, and it always seemed like I was a few years behind everyone else. All I can do is stay positive, keep my head up, and keep saving where I can.” — Lee, 27



“I’m in my mid-twenties, and I don’t have a dollar invested in a 401k or retirement account. I’ve always freelanced and just never got around to opening one, and frankly, I have no idea where to even begin. At the start of the new year, I made a promise to get more responsible and start planning for what I hope will be a long and healthy retirement!” — Sam, 26


“I know my healthcare coverage is really not great, but I honestly can’t afford anything more than the bare bones essentials at the moment. I try to keep myself as healthy as possible, but falling ill is something that would seriously throw me off track. I freelance and work my ass off, but I worry about my situation a lot.” — Heather, 26


“I’m stingy when it comes to gift giving and other people perceive it as downright rude — they think I’m not a thoughtful or generous person. It’s simply because I’m always tight on cash and I live very month-to-month. I’m still young, and I hope things change, but right now I have to live as the friend who’s ‘cheap.’ I just try to not let it bother me as much as I can.” –Kat, 24



“My boyfriend and I have a long-distance relationship, and he has to pay for my flights to and from where he lives if we want to see one another. I just don’t make enough money to cover the costs, and if he didn’t pay for my transportation we simply wouldn’t see each other. It’s stressful to always feel like you’re being ‘taken care of’ but also know it’s necessary.” — Gina, 22


“A few months ago, I had to take a loan from my parents. I’m 28 years old, and I had gotten myself into a bad situation that my parents had to help me pay for. I always felt like I would be able to handle the unexpected at this point in my life, but I’m a far way off from being able to do that. It’s a shitty feeling to know that I still rely on my parents, but I’m just thankful I had them as a fallback. I’m working hard to repay them, but it’s definitely a low point for me at the moment.” — Erin, 28

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