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Young people are already rich

Young people are rich

I believe Facebook will one day be seen as important a leveling force for humanity as the Magna Carta, the Suffragettes and the International Bill of Human Rights.

Why? Because what strikes you when you click through other people’s profiles is how similar we all are.

We no longer collectively aspire to marriage, 2.4 kids in the suburbs and cutting our lawn on Sundays in formation.

Yet we mostly have similar gangs of friends who crowd in front of the camera or who take photos of us on bridges during breaks in far-flung cities.

We all say we like books, films and music that thousands of others like.

We’re different, but we’re recognisable by our similarities. We rally around them.

But there’s another thing that strikes you when first encountering Facebook, if you’re over a certain age.

It is harder to write about, but even more true.

Up until a year or so ago, most people kept their Facebook profiles open. This meant you could snoop about the friends and family of your own friends, and get a glimpse into their lives.

Most Facebook users then were 20-somethings, so if you were my age you saw endless snapshots into a time of life that was now in your past.

And one thing is clear: Young people are ridiculously beautiful.

Your gran was right: you are/were gorgeous

We don’t realise how stunning we all are when we’re young, of course.

Instead we lust over the same particularly cute girl in college, or gossip about the same muscled guy in the mail room.

But from the perspective of a decade or two, almost everyone in their late teens and 20s radiates beauty.

It’s an uncomfortable truth (especially if you’re getting on a bit!) but it’s true nonetheless.

Still, just to make sure I’m not some lecherous old man, I sounded out this observation with respect to Facebook with friends and strangers of both sexes while on my recent holiday.

In a few cases it took a drink or two to get them to open up, and some of the responses veered towards the coarser end of aesthetic appreciation!

Bu it was remarkable how virtually everyone (the men most enthusiastically, it has to be admitted) had clicked through a younger sibling’s profile and gasped (/drooled) over the photos of the friends they found.

In the Facebook profiles of 40-somethings, beauty is the exception. In the profiles of 25-year olds, beauty is the norm.

Young? You’re rich already

So why am I writing about this on Monevator, a site about investing and securing your financial future?

Because with the perspective of time, I see I really didn’t need to spend much on clothes and pick-me-ups when I was in my twenties.

I’m putting this out onto the Internet because it is something I have learned about life that could make a difference to people’s financial futures, if they’ll listen.

Would I have listened when 25? I was hardly a clothes horse, but even as a man I did go through a somewhat materialistic phase, where I had to have just one more great suit or pairs of shoes than I needed.

Looking back, I should have stuck to t-shirts, trainers and jeans.

Of course, this post has no audience on this site. I can’t imagine many 20-something women in particular will read it – yet they’re the ones who really are wasting their cash.

True, for all the advances of the sexual revolution, men are still partly evaluated more for their possessions and potential than for their appearance, whereas however unfairly, looks remain towards the top of the list for men judging women.

In that sense, it may make sense for women to spend thousands on expensive dresses, haircuts and make-up every year.

Except that most men don’t really notice expensive dresses and haircuts (or, at the risk of peddling stereotypes even further, it’s only really my gay male friends who do). We notice when a woman is physically beautiful, but we’d struggle to say it was because of the right label or fit.

It’s depressing to me now to walk down Oxford Street in London and see young women bundling along the pavement having spent all their money on clothes they don’t need to look like knockouts.

I’m told by female friends they do this mainly for other women, so perhaps the solution is to hang out with older women. They will be too envious of how good you make a skinny t-shirt and your boyfriend’s jeans look to dare suggest a shopping trip.

Enjoy your youth, and save the money instead

The difference that spending £100 a month less on clothes during your twenties and investing it instead will make to your future is incredible.

If you can save £5,000 by age 25 and invest it for average returns in the stock market, you’ll have £225,000 in your retirement pot by the time you’re 65, regardless of what you save during the rest of your life.

As I say, few young people will read Monevator. Perhaps if you have a younger relative or friend, you could forward it to them?

To conclude, I don’t think youth is wasted on the young, but I do think a lot of money is. If you invest it to benefit from decades of compound interest, you’ll be grateful when you’re older.

Needless to say, running up debts to spend on clothes in your 20s is insane. You are only borrowing from your future self, who will be poorer because of it, and who won’t have the other benefits – freedom, time, potential, beauty – that you enjoy now.

Your looks won’t last, and nor will it matter in 20 years what strangers in a club think of you tonight.

If it really bothers you, dress simply but economically and hang around with older people who’ll think you look marvelous. (We’ve got more to say for ourselves, too.)

“The problem with beauty is that it’s like being born rich and getting poorer.” – Joan Collins

Young? You’re beautiful already. Save and invest for the future instead.

Image by: Valentin Ottone

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{ 61 comments… add one }
  • 1 Len Penzo August 1, 2009, 5:17 pm

    Wow. Great article!

    “I don’t think youth is wasted on the young, but I do think a lot of money is.” Bingo. I couldn’t have said it any better!

    My heart sinks just a little every time I think back to all of the money I wasted in my twenties (and even my teens) on absolutely insane things.

    The real root of the problem boils down to perspective; it is such a powerful influence on all of us.

    Not only does age bring us the wisdom that allows us to make consistently better decisions, it also allows gives us a very different perspective vis-a-vis our finances that encourages us to invest and save.

    Most people in their twenties, unlike those of us in our 40s or older, look ahead and see a very long time horizon. As a result they feel comfortable ignoring the need to save and/or invest for the future. This behavior tends to get compounded by their tight budgets.

    Hopefully, those in their 20s that do read articles like these will take the advice to heart and save and invest like they should.

    The reality is it’s just so hard to heed the message when coming at it from the perspective of youth.

    My $0.02 (after taxes),

    Len Penzo dot Com

  • 2 The Investor August 2, 2009, 10:48 am

    I wonder whether age really does enable us to make consistently better decisions? Particularly with finances, I’m not sure people get smarter – I think rather than society has created some pretty effective railroads for people to get onto once they’re out of their mid-20s (for instance buying a house, or having a career) that can be fairly effective for personal wealth provided you keep paying your mortgage and aspire to a corner office.

    In contrast, 20-year olds can really do anything – the world is their oyster, and their horizons as you say are so long – that perhaps it’s not surprising they don’t see the game-changing opportunity of early savings, compounded for 40 years?

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting Len. 🙂

  • 3 Len Penzo August 2, 2009, 4:49 pm

    You’re very welcome… I’ve been a big Monevator fan for a while now. You and Plonkee are my favorites from your side of the pond! 🙂

    I know I failed to truly take advantage of the benefits of compounding savings until I was in my late 20s, despite being aware of them. Although that probably says more about my lack of intelligence, I’ll blame that on the arrogance of youth – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! lol

    All the best,


  • 4 Lee September 18, 2009, 12:43 am

    Being 26 now, I think I caught myself just in time. I was setting myself up for a lifetime of debt and nothing more up until 9 months ago (aged 25). Granted I can’t jump in a time machine, slap my 15 year old self around the head and then get 10 years of investing behind me… but it’s better than being 45, broke and wondering if retirement at 85 is potentially possible.

    Thanks for the reaffirmation.


  • 5 Meg September 18, 2009, 8:20 pm

    As a 27 year old debt-free (yahoo! until I close on my first home next week anyway) single gal, this post really resonated with me. I am very thankful that I started saving for retirement along with my first job at 15 and am fairly certain I will have a very different lifestyle in old age than my many friends who choose to buy the designer purses and shoes now. I hope more young ladies read your site than you expect – there’s always room for gaining knowledge in personal finance.

  • 6 The Investor September 18, 2009, 9:29 pm

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Meg. I’ve had some lovely comments about this post, especially via private contact (via the link above) which does suggest it reached and resonated with a few more people than I expected, which is great. Good luck with your endeavors – sounds like you’re well on your way!

  • 7 Irina February 7, 2010, 8:51 am

    The problem is, WHEN YOU ARE YOUNG, you don’t think about the future! Many students in college don’t even realise that they should make the maximum amount of effort to get the best grades!…Some spend valuable time going out to pubs and nightclubs, spending money there (of course!) when they could do something more useful (how about saving money to travel to foreign countries??? They would certainly learn more from the experience!

    When I was twenty, I used to spend money (and time!) on things which seem so unimportant NOW!

    When people are overspending, there is also something missing in their lives, like LOVE, happiness…otherwise why do we have shopaholics?!…
    I give them ONE advice, find out what is missing in your life and find some other hobby which interest you instead of shopping – it won’t gratify your needs in the LONG RUN…!

    When I had my first baby, I realised the importance of saving, concentrating on study and looking for a job!


  • 8 The Investor February 7, 2010, 12:43 pm

    @Irina, very wise words – always good to hear from someone who has been there and got the badge. I was lucky in that I shook off the spending itch very early in my life, but I still spent too much on stuff I shouldn’t have (e.g. clothes) and perhaps not enough on where my money should have gone (e.g. travel). Luckily dinner and similar with friends and my partner was always in the mix… it’s all about love as you say, however hard it is to say that in your 20s. 🙂

  • 9 Mills March 17, 2010, 3:41 pm

    Well, i am 26 years old. In the last 3 years i spent 30,000.00 on traveling,new computer and a car i couldn’t maintain. Do you guys think it’s bad spending 30,000.00 in 3 years traveling and buying things you want? now i am finishing my degree and getting into my job as a police officer. It’s depressing to know that i had savings and spent it. It haunts me everyday! Also when i attend school, i pay for it right away so i come out with no depts. Please give me some feed-back.

  • 10 The Investor March 18, 2010, 11:23 am

    @Mills – I wouldn’t beat yourself up. It’s not ideal in my book, but many people will tell you that you did the right thing enjoying yourself while you were young. If you’ve got no debts and you’ve already had this ‘wake up call’ at your young age, I wouldn’t worry as you’ll hopefully have a good attitude going forward, know to avoid debts and save and so on. Some people are 50 or more before they realize that, when it’s usually too late. Good luck!

  • 11 Ivar Sala May 29, 2010, 11:57 am

    Great post.
    I completely agree. Young people are rich.
    .-= Ivar Sala on: Developing Discipline =-.

  • 12 Money Reasons June 5, 2010, 10:18 pm

    Wow, look at me posting on this article that was created last year…

    But I have to say, you are correct. Perhaps that is why younger woman date older men… Because the older men can see how beautiful the younger woman really are…

    Oh, by the way… great quote by Joan Collins, it rings very true!
    .-= Money Reasons on: Priceless Memories, Daughter And Daddy Night Out =-.

  • 13 The Investor June 8, 2010, 10:47 am

    @MR – Blog posts never die! Thanks for posting your thoughts, feel free to do so on any old posts where you have something to share. 🙂

  • 14 Benn Warren June 28, 2010, 7:40 pm

    I read this post and it inspires me to do better with myself. I aspire to be wealthy, and I always look for tips and mentors to guide me. I’m only 21 but in a few years time I would like to able to write an article giving advice as to how I became successful for people younger then me who are seeking advice like I am. Thank you for your wise words. And also to the people commenting on this, your insight is eye opening. 🙂

  • 15 Aarabi December 22, 2010, 4:06 pm

    Hey monevator! At 24 and expecting my first ever big employee salary tomorrow, I’m really glad I found your post! Well, Len linked to it and I’m a big fan of his blog. It’s really great that you guys give us so much info and guidelines on how to handle money and keep our feet on the ground. I, for one, am an electrical engineer, but I love couture fashion (sometimes even more than other girls do) and a good scarf can have my hands itching. But I have a 20% rule with clothes. If my bill is going to be around 20% of my monthly budget, then it’s out of the question. I’m trying to cut this shorter and hope to be helped by bloggers like you! Keep writing and inspiring!

  • 16 Si April 28, 2011, 4:31 pm

    I’m 21 and I have £xx,xxx saved in the bank. (To put it simply, because naturally as a reader of this blog, it’s actually in a portfolio). This came from a few work placements, income from my own blog, and some inheritance. And so as I graduate in July you could say I was a ridiculously wealthy student. I feel it, because my peers have a more typical spending regime. However do I feel beautiful? Not so much.

    It appears that your suggestion of hanging around with older people is probably correct, The Peer Group is Everything. So I’d like to turn it around a little and aim it at you folks in your 40’s.

    If you want to feel financially wealthy, hang out with younger people! They’re generally skint and also have alot to say!

  • 17 Mr J July 31, 2011, 4:23 pm

    Great post – I found it via a link on your twitter feed. Nice social commentary too, which is always interesting.

    I’m not going to discuss women’s spending habits… But as you say the greater proportion of male readers of your blog and financial advice in general is probably an indicator of something… Just to say that I’ve seen girls in their young 20’s on 40-50K a year salaries live in constant debt due to their penchant for hand bags!

    Anyway, I’m 26 and have saved 300 a month for the past 2 years and now 400 a month since this tax year. I live in a nice flat, and buy nice clothes, although I tend to buy few items but the more expensive/designer items when I do spend. I track every single item I spend through my own system I’ve devised and therefore am never in debt. I have an Amex card with no limit yet never abuse this…

    I guess I’m lucky that I have a reasonably well paid job but more than anything I think it’s this control of the finances which allows me to spend comfortably and within my means. Of course, most people are actually terrified to really plot out what they really spend… And whilst they think that tracking spending will make them feel poorer, in the long term it will make them feel much much richer. Thanks for the blog!

  • 18 20 and Female January 23, 2013, 2:28 am

    I’m 20 and I’m a girl. I had to laugh and write a comment when you wrote that you doubt many girls in their 20’s would be reading this.
    Stereotypical, but true. The article is actually very inspiring for me. It is written in a casual yet thought provoking way and it gives me a positive outlook as a young adult.
    I would just like to say though you have written a lot about clothes here at least they are partly a necessity as they keep you covered up and warm! But I’m often shocked and kind of disappointed by the amount guys at university can waste on protein shakes, computer games or beer. The average girl student I know spends £10-40 pounds on a night out and saves. I know many guys who can waste £40-100 in clubs and are more likely to waste it on gambling after too. One of my close guy friends had enough inheritance to invest in houses. Recently he wasted something like £5000 pounds in two weeks on wet road trips, junk (like a hammock he couldn’t fit in his lounge), pizza, beer and electronics.
    I don’t have £xxxxx like the male above but I don’t have inheritance or anything like that. However I’ve managed to get together a third of the money I will need for a deposit on a house after my PhD though. I’m also not swapping a sensible attitude towards money with having fun and being young, (luckily working in Spain for a year doing stem cell research not only am I not paying for my travels I got a grant of £1000 to do it!), I think you can do it all with a bit of courage, motivation and planning. For me my age is a great opportunity to take risks because yes I have responsibilities, but I have no real ties.
    I’m saving because I see 25 year olds unable to get on the property ladder and I’ve decided that won’t be me. If I’m going to be in debt with my studies anyway than on the bright side an interest free student loan is a pretty great place to start investing. I’m on this site because I want learn how to make my money to work for me. I want to invest, save and run a part time business. I’m not doing any of it because I have a particular desire of money but because I want to work hard for the freedom to do what I want.
    As for what you said about us being beautiful it made me feel that no matter what objects I’ve got/or haven’t got I’m rich anyway just to be alive and healthy so thank you :). Who cares about age we are ALL lucky to be alive, so let’s just live! I have many older friends beneath the skin we are all the same. My aunt has a funny quote from Terry Pratchett in her toilet that says, “inside every older person is a young person shouting what the hell happened.”
    It’s definitely true women buy beauty products for other women. But we all know that men size each other up by checking out one another’s possessions too! As far as I can see none of that stops past your 20s… 😉

  • 19 The Investor January 23, 2013, 10:08 am

    @20 and female — Thanks for your comments, and you sound like our sort of 20-something. I absolutely that you can have great experiences and enjoy your 20s *and* save money — living abroad with work or studies and getting paid for it is a perfect example. (I flew around the world for most of my 20s with work, partying half the time, and never paid a penny!)

    Your aunt’s Terry Pratchett comment is very apt. It’s melancholic as well as amusing, as I think we all discover as we age.

    Hope you enjoy every minute. 🙂

  • 20 Karen May 3, 2013, 6:04 pm

    It’s funny actually, because I’m a woman, 22 years old, and I don’t have financial troubles. I’m here because I’m constantly learning new ways to make/save/earn money, and I found your blog.

    I’m not millionaire (at least not yet) but I don’t spend all my money on clothes, trips or stuff like that, although I do wanna have fun sometimes.

    Great blog by the way!

  • 21 Sarah May 8, 2013, 10:32 pm

    Just like Karen, above, I am a young woman (21 years old) who is interested in how best to make and save for my future. I think you’re misjudging probably quite a significant portion of your audience! This post is great because its true, but I would add that most young women buy clothes/makeup/shoes in order to feel good about themselves, without actually assessing how effective an approach this actually is. Who can genuinely say that a new pair of shoes have made them feel smarter, more loved or more popular? If you need a new pair of shoes, by all means go ahead and buy them. But don’t spend money on items you don’t need because you think its the right way to patch up your lagging self esteem.

  • 22 The Investor May 8, 2013, 10:38 pm

    @Karen @Sarah — Really pleased to see you guys reading this blog, and commenting here. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m pretty jealous to be honest — even I wasn’t reading personal finance stuff when I was 21! 😉

    (I’d started by 23 or so, though, and discovering compound interest made all the difference…)

  • 23 Iver May 10, 2013, 5:42 pm

    My wife and I (age 38) both have financially literate fathers; the unfortunate thing is that neither of them really drilled the concept of “compounding” / the benefits of very long-term investing into us when we were, say, 20-23. It’s far from too late for us, but I have no doubt that had we been able to take a more longtitudinal view of saving at that stage then we would be in an even stonger position today.

  • 24 Oliver May 15, 2013, 11:58 am

    I have to start (AA style!) by at first admitting that my spending habits since starting work at 16 have been awful, only as recently as this year at the age of 28 have I started to address things and that’s only been with the encouragement of others. I’ve realised that you don’t need to spend hundreds on different clothes and shoe options to be happy. I still think what you wear is an important means of communication (even when you’re young) and it helps with your self esteem but for me it’s just been about stopping that dreadful habit of spending every penny available to me with the accompanying excuse of you only live once! I wonder how many obese people use similar excuses?!

    I think the worst habit I got into was looking at my available bank balance and then thinking ‘what can I spend my money on’ instead of ‘what do I really need?’.

    A few close friends have given the similar excuse; when I was a child and my parents were paying for me they were quite strict with what was bought for me and once I got a job I went crazy spending all the money I’d earned. Some of that was a healthy way to be but some of it was not and I don’t blame my parents one bit.

    After my student years I had used all the overdraft in my bank account and had regarded it as ‘free money’, how wrong I was. It was like you’ve said, it was making my future self poorer when I had to pay it off with interest.

    I found what you said really inspiring and although I may not be following your ideals entirely it’s certainly inspiring to help me spend more wisely and save. It also scares me how people earning so much money can find so many ways to find themselves overdrawn at the end of the month again!

  • 25 Luci June 3, 2013, 12:47 pm

    I’m amused reading this because I’m 25, but this is my first time on your blog!

    Personally in my circle of friends & acquaintances, I’ve found it’s the women who are more concerned with savings and financial security – most of the men I know burn through cash as soon as possible! Looking forward to reading through your posts – I’m always looking for ways to save money!

  • 26 Gareth June 17, 2013, 6:00 pm

    £5000 growing to £225,000 in 40 years would require an annual return of 10%, your other articles show the average to be a fair bit lower?

  • 27 The Investor June 17, 2013, 10:06 pm

    @Gareth — Good spot! The return figure used here includes inflation, whereas mostly the figures we quote around the site are real returns (i.e. subtracting out inflation) which gives you a number in today’s money, more or less.

    That said 10% is still a bit optimistic I concede. At the time I wrote this article roughly 10% was the standard figure used, but perhaps 8% or so nominal — or 5% real — would be more like it now, after the past few years.

    You’ll see much lower figures quoted by the UK authorities and by my co-blogger The Accumulator. They predict very low real rates of the return for the foreseeable. But I think that’s so-called “recency bias” at play though, and I am not so pessimistic.

    That bit of the article was necessarily simplistic as it’s not the thrust of the piece — you’ll also want to look into issues like sequence of returns risk (which is yet another reason why it’s good to start young!)

    Cheers for stopping by.

  • 28 Mauricio Santos August 3, 2013, 7:16 pm

    Great article. You mention to forward this to young people, but in my experience (I’m 22 and starting to look into my investments) people will scoff at this sort of thing. The decision needs to come from within before anyone gets serious about investing – I’ve talked to my friends too much about this to try to convince them further. I guess that’s why most people don’t retire comfortably.

  • 29 Moneywise August 6, 2013, 10:24 am

    “If you can save £5,000 by age 25 and invest it for average returns in the stock market”. Personally for me its much more viable having a mutual fund, that way I can decrease risk and it also doesn’t feel lonely 😀 I have been investing since I was 18, now I am 21 and I already have 17k, just by investing and saving money on unnecessary costs.

  • 30 isa August 31, 2013, 6:48 am

    Here’s a 27 year old woman reading your blog! I came across it through Mr. Money Mustache. see? We aren’t all hopeless! 😉

  • 31 Rob September 26, 2013, 11:21 am

    I’m 24 and read your articles. You speak an awful lot of sense and things you say here I recognise in my own life!

  • 32 The Investor September 26, 2013, 12:52 pm

    @isa @Rob — Great to have you reading, please stick around! 🙂

  • 33 j October 31, 2013, 10:21 am

    It’s a very good point. I’m sure teenagers are better looking than we were, and more better looking still than our grandparents.

    But I think it’s _really naive_ to view young people’s situation in these terms alone. As older people we’re used to money and we might also be used to figuring out how to get it. You don’t have any of that when you’re younger. You’re institutionalised. On top of all that recognise that this is the time when biologically the pressure is at max for finding a partner. No wonder there are the most male suicides at this time.

    The key for men, the liberation, is to turn your back on desire and lust and liberate yourself from this timewasting guff completely. No girlfriends. No wanking.
    This is no walk in the park! Hormones are through the roof. Peer pressure is off the chart. Media influence is at max. If you ask most 40 something’s what they do when their wife doesn’t want to make love you wouldn’t get a much beyond “take a deep breath”.
    If you can turn your back on sex you’ll find it the most liberating and powerful thing. But it’s gonna be a 5-10 year wait from your 20’s to get by it all.

    No, sorry. I’m glad to be wrinkly. There’s no way I’d want to be a teenager again.

  • 34 Psy December 8, 2013, 4:53 pm

    Many thanks for all your articles really got me interested in investing. Will share this with GF, she shops like nothing and everytime i talk to her about saving it is always the same excuse saying that I won’t buy anymore after this, or all I can save is miniscule. I hope this article can further my point. Thanks again

  • 35 Georgina January 6, 2014, 8:04 pm

    What a wonderful article. I am 72 and only at 55 did I starting learning about financial strategies. Maths and accounting still scare me. Fortunately I learnt frugal habits early from my parents and found that the way to increase my income, was to improve my qualifications so when I retired at 55, I had a pension to take care of frugal needs. What I do find is to never give up on saving a at least a quarter of your income and your net worth will still increase regardless. I am pleasantly surprised at the number of twenty-somethings around me who are financially savvy.
    Thank you and a prosperous 2014 to all.

  • 36 The Investor January 10, 2014, 2:01 am

    Hi Georgina — Thanks so much for your thoughts, and nice words about my article. To be honest I think frugal strategies and saving more than you earn is half the battle — how many high earners and lottery winners end up with little to show for it? Too many!

    Saving a quarter of your income is a high target, but I think it’s one I’ve roughly hit over the years. Even 10% if done from early enough would make a big difference for a lot of people, particularly if they can do it with tax relief, but sadly seems to be beyond the ambitions of many.

    Agree with you about many 20-somethings. I think they’ve had a tough baptism over the past few years, and they will need to be tougher than their parents to save in their reality of high student loans, impossible house prices, and so on.

    Thanks again, and happy 2014!

  • 37 Daniel February 1, 2014, 10:41 am


    I love reading these articles as it fills you with confidence that you’re doing the right thing in saving as much as you can, whether it’s hundreds of pound or just pence.

    Having finished university in 1997 with a hefty amount of debt because I spent too much money on Beer, Women, following my beloved Manchester City and simply wasting the rest – I paid this debt off, then saved a deposit for my apartment (which I now inhabit with my Wife (wedding which in the main I had to pay for) and 8 month old daughter Emily (nursery costs are the same as my mortgage)) and at the age of 37 (38 on 2nd March) posting a surplus (actively invested Micro cap, Small cap, Mid cap and Special Situation) of £30k, I can safely say I have been there, got the t-shirt.

    I’m going to aggresively grow my pot as close to £60k as possible and then leave it to develop until retirement (don’t think I ever actually will retire as I can’t stand being unoccupied, possibly some full time interest, turned business venture maybe to occupy my time).

    Hopefully you’ll all be proud of me when I say I have learned my lesson about Money being a good servant but a bad master. Mr Macawber take note.

    To that end, my daughter Emily has started her Passive stocks and shares isa at the age of 1 month. The Child benefit everyone receives 13 times a year, I average out to 12 payments which amounts to £88 per month, which I invest on her behalf. So far she has almost £1000. Not bad for a now, 8 month old.

    By the time she’s 21 she can potentially never need to think about saving for retirement and the only thing she’ll have to save for is a car, money towards her wedding (which I’m sure daddy will help with) and where to go on holiday.

    The knowledge I’ve picked up from reading sites like this has been invaluable and I’m passing this on to my daughter now.

    As this article suggests “the Young are already rich”.

    Keep the posts, articles insights coming – they’re worth their weight in Gold!

  • 38 Alex March 9, 2014, 2:50 pm

    From a financial perspective there’s no doubt that extra clothes and fashionable items are on the ridiculous spectrum, but then perhaps I’ve never had a sense of style. Advertising is worth a mention, though it’s full impact eludes me; how can the shiny things be so much in demand? – first world imbalance. Personality speaks volumes whilst riches are simply loud.

  • 39 Victor May 26, 2014, 7:58 pm

    Your blog is awe-inspiring and I’m glad to have come across it. I didn’t know much about money while I was growing up. From where I come from, older people paint money to be the devil’s tool for magnetising people into his evil empire. We were not allowed the freedom to touch, or feel the awesomeness of acquiring something with money. I never knew how to spend money not to talk of savings till I was 17years, and that was when I began to pay for few things under the $1 bill. Today, at 25, I’m struggling hard studying money and that’s what brought me here. I think it’s not tool late for me to catch up. Thanks for this post!

  • 40 Curious Sarah December 18, 2014, 10:34 pm

    I shared this with my niece today! 🙂 My niece said she was jealous of my car — and that I could drive!!

    She’s 17, smart… I didn’t know where to start! I’m not old myself, but being YOUNG is special. 🙂

  • 41 Helen March 30, 2015, 10:06 pm

    Really enjoyed this article, realise it is a bit old now but wonder if you’re still taking comments.

    I’m a a 25 year old female who has in the past year really got my spending habits in check.

    I’ve managed to save just under 15K in an ISA which I’m pleased at but not sure if it’s going to get much much long term return.

    I’m keen to start thinking about my future retirement plans and would be happy to put 5k ( as suggested) in an index fund or stock market. I just don’t really know where to begin or which is best for me.

    I’m also scared that I’d lose it all, still apprehensive to the risk involved with the stock market.

    Any advice would be greatly received and thank you again for such a great article!


  • 42 The Investor March 31, 2015, 10:56 am

    @Helen — Glad you enjoyed the article, thanks for commenting. Sounds like you’re well on-track.

    I can’t give personal advice, but I can point to a few articles that yourself and other new investors might like to look at, such as:



    There’s really no substitute for deep reading though. 🙂

    Start here:


  • 43 Helen March 31, 2015, 7:13 pm

    Thank you!! Really helpful 🙂 Much appreciated xx

  • 44 EarlyRetirementGuy May 5, 2015, 10:10 am

    Another mid-20er checking in. I know this is now a relatively old article but I do believe more and more of my age are starting to become interested in investing. Helped I expect by the growth of the internet and so ease of which to gain the required knowledge. 5 years ago I would have never considered buying shares, thought it was too complicated or only for the rich. A decent combination of sites like MSE, Thisismoney and financial blogs have made me better informed and so I started investing a couple of years ago.

    Was really pleased this month to see my pension pot tip over the £20k mark and shares ISA go over £5k. Interesting to read that this could compound to £225k without any additions, however I’ve cut back on the non-essential spendings so why not continue adding more…

  • 45 Will June 9, 2015, 1:53 pm

    Interesting article, I’m 23 and have just gathered the necessary £5000 destined for my stocks ISA.

    While I won’t spend money on materials (took a month of self convincing to shell out for a £23 casio watch, tshirts costing more than £15 I feel is taking a liberty) I spend a lot on experiences; plane tickets, festivals, nights out. So much so that I have very little hope for saving much until I am least 30. I hope this category of youth spending is a little more acceptable! Paranoid of waking up one day wishing I had lived more in my 20s.

  • 46 Graeme July 13, 2015, 5:07 pm

    Thanks for the interesting site.
    One question – you imply that £5k invested for 40 years could realise £225k. This strikes me as misleading on two levels; firstly it implies >9.7% annualised growth – too bold in my view. Secondly, it ignores inflation. If you worked on 3.5% growth after inflation (perhaps still bold!), you would get to just over £20k in todays terms after 40 years. Still worthwhile, but not quite as spectacular.

  • 47 Ellie October 3, 2015, 6:04 pm

    Although I tend to agree with this article, it is a bit depressing. I’m sure a lot of other millenials hitting their thirties will feel the same. I’ve never wasted money on clothes, cars, luxury holidays, partying or anything like that. I finished college just before the recession hit. My first job (in finance) was a good starting role and I was doing well for three years before the economy went pear shaped and the whole office was made redundant. I had managed to pay off a lot of my degree by that point, so I was lucky not to have much debt. But I spent the rest of my twenties fighting for temp jobs (bar two entry level graduate roles that also ended early due to company restructuring and office closures). At one point I even considered prostitution to pay the rent when things got bad, although I thankfully never went through with it. Only after reaching my thirties have I managed to secure a contract that pays average wage, but I feel as though my twenties were just a wasted decade of struggling and working 50+ hour weeks with very little to show for it. Part of me wishes I had taken out massive loans for designer clothes, travelling and partying.

    I do not have debts, which I am thankful for. I am a workaholic and follow my employer’s financial reports extremely closely, as I am constantly afraid of being made redundant again. I don’t think that fear will ever go away. I know I will never have children, as I am still unable to afford a home and don’t want to start having kids in middle age (I appreciate some women are happy to do so, but I had older parents myself and do not want to repeat the same). If I am lucky then I may get to retire one day, although I do not expect it. Looking back, I can’t think of anything that I could have done better. I listened to the adults around me when I was young, I studied hard as a kid, worked hard in every job, I avoided debt, I tried to save what little money was left after bills (although this tended to get eaten up by unexpected emergencies such as car breakdowns or family illness). I did everything I could to improve my situation, but the good jobs just weren’t around.

    Unfortunately employers take into account where you have worked previously (I am involved in the hiring process now, and it has been a huge eye opener), so if you never get on the first few rungs of the career ladder and have to take minimum wage roles to stay out of debt than it becomes increasingly difficult to convince anyone to give you a chance at a ‘proper’ job when one becomes available. After several years of temping and minimum wages, you are seen as only fit for temping and minimum wages. I was told the same thing time and time again by employers. At 30 I had to apply for close to four hundred positions before a manager agreed to accept me on a graduate scheme with a team of twenty year olds fresh out of university. I will be forever grateful to that manager for giving me a chance, and I have tried to make the best use of that opportunity every day since.

    Your article hit a nerve, as an older colleague made a comment this week about reaching your career peak by the age of thirty and then slowing down a bit to focus on family. It was a completely innocent remark, but I wanted to yell that my generation are just starting our careers and hadn’t had the opportunities to progress before now. I have always been extremely ambitious and motivated and I refuse to believe that my career is over now that it’s only just begun. I have a decade of investing and saving to catch up on! I’ve always wanted to invest and save, but never had the income to do it properly until now. I intend to do everything I can to repair my situation.

    Young people are coming out of university these days with jobs and graduate schemes to go into once again and I want to strongly advise anyone in their early twenties to make the most of any chances you get to advance your career while the economy is good. I can’t stress this enough! I never thought I would spend the first decade of my career working so hard for so little. In university I was certain I would get a good job and build a steady career once I graduated. Everyone told me the same. No one expected the economy to tank so spectacularly. One year the jobs were there and the next no one was hiring. Since childhood everyone around me had promised a good job if I was focused, studied hard, got good grades, and it was a huge shock to everyone when it became difficult to get even one interview. Most of my high performing peers still haven’t managed to recover. Some of my classmates gave up and moved abroad, some still work in minimum wage jobs, others are stay at home mothers (not through choice). Very few have a home and many are in a lot of debt. A few were lucky enough to have well-connected family to employ them or inheritance to tide them over. One was not so lucky and committed suicide after feeling that she had failed and would never recover to the standard that was expected of her. Most are likely to be stuck on low pay for the foreseeable future, despite good grades and work ethic. They are now considered too old for entry level jobs and lack the right experience for higher level ones.

    So grab any opportunities you can while they are there, as things can change very quickly. Save and invest any spare cash while you have it and don’t rely on always having steady employment. Build up other skills that you can as a back up if need be. I hope my younger nieces and nephews never have to go through what my generation did, but it is far better to be prepared just in case.

  • 48 The Investor October 3, 2015, 10:29 pm

    @Ellie — Thanks for sharing your experiences and well done for getting through them! I do think in some ways your generation has been dealt a rough hand. Mine was similar (graduated in the early-mid 1990s recession) but the difference was property had crashed, so at least people could buy flats/houses (though I didn’t — long idiotic story which is scattered about the archives of this blog) whereas with your generation that’s been pulled away too. It doesn’t seem fare.

    On the other hand, you’re young — any 70-year old millionaire would give all his/her money to trade places with you — and the wheel of fortune keeps turning. There will be other opportunities, I’m sure, and all kinds of reversals, too.

    A danger of the current education system is that people believe life is under their control. As you’ve found, it’s never fully under control. It sounds like you’ve learned a hell of a lot from your experiences. I’m sure an easier path would have been preferable… but as I say the race is not run yet, you’re young, and you sound wise beyond your years.

    AND you’re not in debt. For me that’s almost priceless.

    Cheers again for the thoughts.

  • 49 Jason December 17, 2016, 12:12 pm

    Fantastic website. Thank you for all of your articles and advice.

    Please could you explain how you arrived at the figure of £225,000 in the following statement above:

    “If you can save £5,000 by age 25 and invest it for average returns in the stock market, you’ll have £225,000 in your retirement pot by the time you’re 65, regardless of what you save during the rest of your life.”

  • 50 The Investor December 17, 2016, 12:30 pm

    Thanks Jason. Regarding the calculation, I used a 10% return figure over 40 years in our compound interest calculator:


    At the time of writing 10% was roughly the long-term return from the UK stock market. Be aware that some people think it’s too high a return to use going forward (and/or say it was abnormally or unusually high in the past. Other countries have seen lower returns).

    Most importantly, it includes inflation. If you back out inflation then UK returns drop around 5-5.5%, which would give you more like £40,000 in today’s money. Inflation is the enemy of long-term savings.

  • 51 Ellie_UK July 26, 2017, 6:02 pm

    In some ways, I consider myself quite lucky. I was never pretty when I was young (even looking back now). I needed a brace but never got one until I turned 30, I was overweight (thanks mum and dad), had terrible acne, thick glasses, deep set eyes, bad posture, and zero social skills. I didn’t even try to look good, as it was a failed goal from the start. I threw myself into academia and developing other skills. I never bothered with nice clothes or beauty products and just wore hand-me-downs and the bare minimal level of socially acceptable grooming.

    I’m now doing much better financially than other people that started in my situation, as I spent the money I saved on more lucrative things. Instead of shopping or partying, I taught myself stock trading and programming. I did splash out on braces and eye lasering, but I was having so many knock on health problems caused by misaligned teeth and extremely bad vision that in the long run I will get that money back.

    Kids… don’t bother with fashion and beauty. It won’t matter when you are older and you’ll wish you had focused on future needs instead!

  • 52 Gee February 14, 2018, 2:16 pm

    “Of course, this post has no audience on this site. I can’t imagine many 20-something women in particular will read it – yet they’re the ones who really are wasting their cash.”

    How cheeky! Here… reading it now!

  • 53 The Investor February 15, 2018, 1:42 pm

    @Gee — Glad to hear it! Investing websites have become less old/male dominated in the past 10 years since I wrote that article — including this one — and I’ve very glad to have you here. 🙂

  • 54 Renate June 6, 2018, 1:28 pm

    I’m 30 and wish more young people would read your blog. At 25 I was an above-average accummulator / saver. Recently, you’ve inspired me to open my Vanguard account and invest more aggressively. Having used a different UK roboinvesting platform, Monevator’s articles on tracker funds , where to begin and the comparison table on different providers are invaluable. Thank you for taking the time to write these and for the difference you as the Investor and your partner make to people’s lives every day. On behalf of all of us who follow you and read your blogs as well as act on the information provided here, we are very grateful! Again, thank you! Just shared this article with my 25 year old sister. To Your Success and prosperity and that of all Monevator followers! Renate

  • 55 The Investor June 6, 2018, 3:06 pm

    @Renate — You’re very welcome, thanks for sharing our site!

  • 56 Josh April 1, 2019, 9:48 pm

    I am currently 21, been a saver since 16 and an investor since 18. Currently worth around £35,000 with a savings rate of £10,000 per year. Goal is to reach £1,000,000 by 40. Find your content extremely inspiring!

  • 57 Laurie April 17, 2020, 5:26 am

    Hi Monevator

    28 year old female here. Found this blog really useful actually. Will remind myself of this next time I want to buy new clothes/spend £100 on getting my hair coloured.

    Thank you!

  • 58 Mari May 3, 2020, 4:22 pm

    Hi Monevator,

    joining with a’heya!’ the small but growing female 20-something audience here: like the ladies above I’ve been an undiagnosed FIRE-rer since my first grad job. Now at 29 taking a year out of my career to be home with my newborn twins I can find security and freedom in my 2 London properties and a 7-digit net worth – entirely self-made through an awesome career and minimalism, but also no doubt due to favourable markets in the past 10 years #humblebrag.

    Having found my way to Monevator recently I spread the gospel of financial literacy as far and wide amongst my millenial London social circles as there is someody to listen. FI insulates you from worry and fear and constant low-level stress (more relevant now during the Covid-19 lockdown as ever!), like a barrier to external world that opens up opportunity for internal growth.

    Paraphrasing Gertrude Stein – people who say money doesn’t buy happiness don’t know where to shop.

    This is a long-winded and self-indulgent ‘THANK YOU’ to Monevator – you are changing the lives of a helluva many young people, even if the females are less quick to comment and be visible followers – they are there.

    Mari 🙂

  • 59 Ebele Nwangwu November 10, 2020, 11:35 pm

    Just realised this post is over a decade old and still holds some timeless truths! Young people in particular now tend to value experiences over things, but spend quite a lot (probably too much in some cases) on both. I am an advocate of making sacrifices while also enjoying your youth. A splurge on clothes every once in a while is fine – life is for living 🙂

  • 60 John March 30, 2021, 9:55 am

    This is a great article that I will forward to my kids. I am absolutely sure they are sick of me droning on and on about investing and to read the advice from another source surely has to help.
    I am lucky in that two of my children have benefitted from the CTF, but also all of my children that are employed have consistently saved 25% of their part time/full time/apprenticeship/whatever earnings whilst going through college etc. I was to be blunt “Mr Millitant” about that and “no my dear you cannot have your 1st full wage to yourself as a congratulation for getting a job and start saving from next month”… what you have never seen you never miss.

    My eldest whom is 22 now has over 7k which is now being drip fed into investments and its a similar story for the younger members.

    I feel that is my greatest success as a parent! There are probably others but the Kids dont tell me about those.

    I’ve used this site for reference for just over a year now and its been a great help for me, for that I thank you Mr Monevator.

    Now I think that the “young uns” speak a different language to the “old uns” so will the article be understood by them…. now there’s a challenge!

  • 61 Diana April 11, 2021, 8:49 pm

    Beautiful post.
    I’m 29 and have never been in debt but I have a long long way to go to reach a safe financial future.

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