The Chronicles Of A 30 Year Old Bachelor

The narrative is that millennials are confused, heavily indebted, unreliable, restless, uncommitted and are about “instant gratification”. Being a millennial myself, I am convinced all this is incorrect and unfounded.

I mean, I have successfully completed 7 years working in corporate Lesotho, registered a business, completed a third qualification and committed to a mortgage bond. So am I still considered unreliable and uncommitted? Let’s not forget the lifestyle that comes with all this; opportunities to travel abroad, eat out regularly and enjoy socializing at various events- I believe we are bold enough to try things our parents didn’t do (and NO, I am not bragging). So what’s there not to like about being a millennial?

Turning 30 years old was exciting; it came with a lot of exciting and unpredictable experiences, but alas ones I hadn’t fully comprehended. For a greater part of 2018/19 I’ve felt a lot of pressure that has left me confused, undecided and for lack of a better word “disconnected”. I will not take it far and say I’ve suffered depression, NO, but my mind has been weighed down by a lot of decisions that are impacting my financial position drastically. Decisions that are ” typical” of millennials- says many of the other generations.

I’ve been faced with decisions such as to buy a new car or to wait? To study further or not? To resign and focus on my business? To stay with my current employer or change employers? To eat out or stay in? To rent or buy? Some people have said ” you have nice life problems” but can we truly say that? The challenge is that if you cannot attain them, the difficulty of staying strong is huge.

Decisions… decisions… DECISIONS!!!

Whilst I can attribute all this to the social pressure many millennials like myself are exposed to, it is important to own up and take responsibility for our decisions. In my view, the biggest challenge facing millennials like myself is the constant need to keep up- to keep chasing the next best thing. Growing up, I was told that the world is my oyster; that I can have anything I wanted. I was told that I am smart and special…. I was told that if I studied hard, I would get a good job and live a good life. The part that was left out was how hard and long all this would take to acquire.

I want to drive that sexy Audi Q3, I want to finish that MBA with a top business school. I want to work flexi hours so I can build my company – all the while climbing the corporate ladder. Did I mention the double story house in the suburb, the annual international trip and celebrating birthdays in lush and exotic destinations? Will it EVER be enough? No, because I can have anything I want because I am smart and special! I want to eat out regularly, take pictures of my food with my latest IPHONE, while rocking the coolest outfit so my instagram followers know right? I want ALL of these and I want them NOW!

The questions we never dare to ask are; is it possible to attain ALL these at once? Can I afford them and what are the financial implications thereof? Do we have a solid financial plan in place? Are all these necessary? And if so, why?

My immediate response would be “Absolutely not, we cannot attain these all at once- unless I (we) have money I (we) stashed away somewhere I didn’t know about. I speak for myself when I say it is a struggle to keep up and to afford this endless list of “I want to need it” shopping items. It is a struggle to say no or to wait a few months longer before you can have that item you “believe” you deserve. This is a struggle many like myself are embarrassed to admit, accept or talk about. As a result, many of us fall into the trap of debt- phone contracts, mortgage bonds, expensive car loans, study loans and overdraft facilities in pursuit of the ” “instant gratification” with no assets to our names. What happens should we be out of a job? This is the part I feel we have been denied. I was never taught patience when growing up- if I wanted something, things were moved around to accommodate me because I was “smart, special and hardworking “. Suddenly I have to prioritize and use my money (limited money) wisely… why?

Being an advocate of financial education, my role is to create a safe space for us to engage about our financial difficulties. My goal is to share my personal struggles and challenges in the hope that we can learn from each other’s mistakes and make better decisions. As it currently stands, I am faced with many more struggles that will most definitely affect my financial position positively or negatively. The question is, will I be strong enough to resist the urge? Will I be rational enough to choose wisely? Or will my emotional state take over, leaving me with more debt?

What are your struggles as a millennial?

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