I VIVIDLY remember going to college, graduating, and being thrown into the real world, real quick. I got my first “grown up” job (clearly that life was NOT for me) and went about figuring my shit out. I’ve had a rebellious streak since, well, day one of my existence, and always been hell-bent on creating my coolest, most awesome, fun life possible. and THANK GOD FOR THAT.
Because without this tenacity and out-of-the-box way of doing life (I’ve ALWAYS been one to take risks, be ballsy and go after what I want) ingrained in me that came from god knows where, I would be one miserable motherfucker, probably still letting my soul die slowly every day at my desk job.
But even with my personality and way of doing life being what it is, I STILL had a rude awakening after graduating. Point blank, I felt like I had been sold this LIE. I had spent years working my ass off to get this degree, was working on another degree, and was working at a desk job doing mundane work that I DID learn a lot in, but was still super boring. All I could think was, “Holy FUCK. I can’t believe THIS is this life I signed up for…for the next 40 or so years. FUCK this shit. There has to be more for me out there.”
Canadian Studies and Math B were NOT going to help me figure out how to make money on my own, let alone figure out how to invest it, do my taxes, or start a corporation.
I was determined to figure all of this out and would be damned if I had to spend the rest of my life sitting at a desk working for someone else. So, I did…thanks to endless brain-picking of successful entrepreneurs I knew as well as one of my BFFs, Google.
Here’s all the shit I figured out and started in my 20’s to set myself up for a lifetime of fun, financial security and freedom over my own schedule…and LIFE..
- Start a retirement account. NOW. I opened my first Roth IRA at 22 because I knew I should. Did I know what the fuck I was doing? HELL NO. I stumbled around in the dark and slowly figured my shit out along the way. For a long time, all I did was deposit money and not invest. Then I started learning about investing. Then I started investing. The point is…just START. Even if you’re just putting $20 a week in. Even if you’re just putting $40 a month in. JUST. START. Be consistent with it. Commit to learning about investing. I am the LAST person I thought would be interested in investing (I used to think it was super fucking crusty and boring, but it’s actually REALLY FUN to see your dollars multiply)! I read books. I subscribe to Kiplinger’s. I read blog articles. I listen to podcasts. There’s literally no way around educating yourself about money. Either you do it or you stick your head in the sand and emerge 10 years later to be broke as fuck. Your call.
- Start stacking cash. Just like above. This is something I DIDN’T do for a while – I moved around a lot in an expensive city. I had a lot of expenses. I was putting my cash back into my businesses (which IS investing in myself for the long haul, but it’s still important to have extra cash). This shit ALL adds up. I make it REALLY easy for myself: I use the Digit and Acorns apps to automatically pull money out of my accounts each week. I also have my payroll take out a certain amount each time I’m paid and it goes to a separate bank account. I also have autodrafts on another account that goes to ANOTHER bank account that I don’t touch. This makes it an efficient AF and a literal NO-BRAINER, and let me tell you, it is SO motherfucking satisfying to see those numbers grow…and grow…and grow. People are weird about money, as I once was, but there is nothing noble about being broke. Don’t you WANT to live in your dream house? Drive your dream car? Look your best? Feed yourself the best of the best food? Have a cash reserve for when you have surprise random bills that come up, like the rock that went through my windshield last week? You can’t do that if you’re broke. And how good does it feel to have cash in your account? You feel like shit when you don’t. And once again, it doesn’t matter HOW much you save. Just START. Trust me…it WILL add up.
- If you want to do something, just start. When I restarted my life to move cross-country from NY to LA in 2014 to do adult film, I had an agent and a place to stay in LA. That was IT. I started filming. My scenes were NOT good. When I first got on YouTube and was trying to find myself and figure out what kind of content to produce, my vids were NOT good. When I first got into my music project, the shit we would put out was NOT good. My point here is, if you REALLY want to start something, whether you dream of being an “influencer,” coach, actor, whatever…just own the fact that you’re going to fucking suck for a while. It’s going to be a lot of work with little reward for a while. Sometimes years. You either want it or you don’t. Stick with it and eventually you WILL get your momentum. You WILL get good. You WILL make it all happen. But you HAVE to have an attitude of “I’ll do whatever the fuck it takes to get to where I want to go,” and NEVER quit. There’s no shortcut. But would you rather create your dream life, or stick to what your friends and family think is a safe, “practical” (EW) job with a steady schedule and salary…even though you want to gouge your own eyes out every day? Both paths are challenging. Pick one.
- Get comfortable being alone. I’ve been an introverted extrovert since…forever. As in, I fucking LOVE people, but I also LOVE being by myself. I love reading, writing, and just being quiet and cozy. Some people HATE this. As an adult, you’ll have bouts of time where you’re alone with your thoughts. You’re not in school anymore, so you’re not constantly surrounded by your peers. You can’t AVOID it. Plus, you should be your own best friend. So just wade through the uncomfortable-ness, one day at a time. I also found that the more time I spent by myself, working ON myself (doing shit like reading, listening to podcasts, just LEARNING) I grew to trust my own intuition over anything or anyone else. As in, I stopped asking people for their opinions on shit. I started making my own decisions…confidently. And there is NO better feeling in the world than knowing that you 100% have your own back at all times. Of course, you NEED help from other people. We’re not meant to do life fully ALONE. Everyone has different life experiences and areas of expertise. What I’m getting at here is to just get comfortable being alone with your own thoughts, and entertaining yourself. And, if you’re an artist and/or entrepreneur, this is double crucial. Quadruple crucial, even. Because this is also the place from where your best work and ideas will be born.
- Outsourcing shit you don’t wanna do. We only have X amount of time in each day. Sure, you technically CAN spend hours at the grocery store, cooking meals, cleaning your house…but do you really WANT to be doing that? Don’t you want to spend your time not working on more fun stuff? (unless this stuff IS fun for you). Even when I was making peanuts, I would still get my groceries delivered and split a house cleaning with my roommates so I could spend my free time ENJOYING myself. Now, of course, I’m a boss lady and genuinely LOVE to work, so I spend my time working and earning money and outsource as much shit as possible to other people. Life is meant to be enjoyed, so don’t spend your time doing stuff that’s mundane and annoying. Working smarter vs. harder and creating jobs for other people…yes, please.
- Don’t buy shit you can’t afford. I remember when I was 18 and got my first credit card, which I promptly maxed out at Abercrombie and Fitch, spending it like a gift card. Then I forgot about it and it took me years to get my credit score un-fucked. Debt isn’t BAD. It’s neutral. And credit cards are a good thing to use. I also never learned ANYTHING about using credit cards, or financial management growing up. But racking up a fuckload of debt on your credit card just to buy material shit that’s cool in the moment and getting overwhelmed and freaking out over the balance…NOT THE VIBE. I pay my credit card off every week now, and set monthly spend limits for myself to keep myself on track. AKA….just be responsible. If you’re treating yourself to something fabulous to reward yourself for crushing it at work, and you spend from a place of knowing you will pay it off…that’s one thing. If you’re out having shopping sprees because you’re using shopping to fill a void that could be remedied with a creative outlet or fun hobby (BEEN THERE), that’s another. Nothing is hotter than feeling good around how you handle your money…and a big bank account to boot.
- Get serious about your self care. In your 20s, you can get by with little sleep, eating crap, and it doesn’t show on the outside…yet. But eventually, it does. Think of your body like a Ferrari. You get ONE Ferrari to take care of to get you through life. If you don’t drive the Ferrari, it’ll rust. If you put shitty fuel in your Ferrari, it won’t run NEARLY as well as if you use Premium. You get it. And if you don’t, what I mean here is take care of your body. Get your 8 hours of sleep. Start a fitness regime NOW. Start eating well and fueling your body with real, nourishing food NOW. Done right, you’ll feel like you’re aging in reverse when you’re in your 30’s and beyond. I seriously look and feel better at 31 than I EVER did in my 20s. It gets WAY more challenging the older you get, with more responsibilities piling on right and left, to get a grip on this shit. Getting to a point where self care becomes a crucial, non-negotiable, no-brainer part of your existence makes it REALLY fucking easy for you to stick with it for life.
You’re the only one who’s in charge of you.
You’re the only one who’s responsible for the kind of life you create…and the kind of person you become.
Set yourself up for a lifetime of maximum awesomeness early on makes it all one big non-negotiable no-brainer…for life.
And trust me, if I can do all of this…so can you.