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58 Things I’d Say to My 21-Year-Old Self About Money

by | Mar 22, 2022 | Money


2007 Tim Denning was a dumbass.

I think we can all agree.

I was 21 back then, buried deep in the world of startups. I had an ego so big my head couldn’t fit through the average Aussie door.

This was before I’d ever read a book on money or worked in finance for one of the largest banks in the world. I wish I knew back then what I know now.

If I did, I wouldn’t have spent most of my salary on payday and saved money in a high-interest bank account that now pays 0% while inflation silently gives it to us up the butt.

These are 58 things I wish I knew about money.

  1. Money doesn’t impress people. Your character does.
  2. Don’t donate to 99% of charities. They use your money to buy Mercs for the jerks and fancy coffee machines. Choose charities that have extremely low expense ratios. Or donate directly to those who need it and cut out the ugly middle man.
  3. “Go to college and get a degree” is the worst financial decision you’ll ever make (except for the obvious doctors, engineers, lawyers, etc). A college degree is a 6-figure ticket to a job interview with zero guarantees.
  4. A Ferrari feels like a Ford after 4 weeks.
  5. Control of your time is the ultimate form of wealth.
  6. No amount of money will ever be enough. (Younger Tim, trust older Tim with this one).
  7. When you have savings you can choose to quit a jerk-in-the-box boss and wait until a better opportunity finds you. Without cash, you’ve gotta keep licking their butt.
  8. Inflation is your second biggest expense after tax. Know how the government robs you blind. The current theft is 7.9% per year. It’s a tax on the stupid.
  9. It’s okay to become wealthy. It doesn’t mean you’re a d*ck.
  10. Wealth is measured on calendars, not calculators.
  11. The person you marry must have similar money beliefs. Otherwise, you’re destined for the divorce court. Money is the biggest killer of romantic and family relationships.
  12. Don’t buy too much gold. The boomers are wrong about its role in the future financial system. The price has been manipulated for years.
  13. Loads of free time makes you rich.
  14. Sell your used stuff on Craig’s list. You’ll be surprised what a secondhand Apple device can fetch. What no longer works for you, could work for someone else. Plus, there are a lot of legends that love fixing broken things.
  15. Invest in crypto. Just buy Bitcoin and Ethereum so you don’t end up gambling.
  16. Assume a giant recession will hit every 5-7 years. Therefore, have a plan.
  17. The best plan in a recession is to buy financial assets on discount.
  18. Never invest more than you can afford to lose.
  19. Dollar-cost averaging is a smart way to invest in financial markets without caring about prices. Invest every month. Some months prices will be high. Some months prices will be low. Over time you’ll average your way in and smooth out the price bumps.
  20. The way parents want you to earn a living is probably outdated. They’re basing their advice on their view of the world. If it’s pre-internet, you’re screwed.
  21. Don’t be in a hurry to get wealthy. Take your time. The process is what’s fun.
  22. Eating McDonald’s isn’t worth it. Junk food screws with your energy. You need high energy to make money. Eat more plants instead.
  23. Money creates options. Options make life easier.
  24. The stuff you buy needs maintenance, protection, and time to think about it. Less stuff equals less stress.
  25. The stuff you buy at 21 will seem stupid. Looking cool using money dies off when you get older.
  26. Books are a great financial investment. Books go deep. Social media is shallow.
  27. Make money so you have more free time to spend with your family. The ROI on family is 10X higher than anything money can buy.
  28. Get a badass accountant. They can save you a fortune in unnecessary taxes.
  29. If you own a storage space in a warehouse, you’ve bought too much junk. Your garage is another indicator of excess spending.
  30. Buying new is a hidden tax. Second-hand cars are better value. The worst of the depreciation is gone after a few years.
  31. Use money to be kind. The ROI on your happiness goes through the roof.
  32. You don’t have to join the family business.
  33. Having to work hard for your financial goals makes them feel better when they’re achieved.
  34. A side hustle is the fastest way to figure out your path to financial freedom.
  35. Don’t waste hours outside of work jerking around with Netflix. Use some of that time to learn about money.
  36. Most don’t have a financial education. If you get one from Youtube, you’ll be better off than 99% of people. Start with Real Vision dot com.
  37. Financial gifts have strings attached. Don’t accept them.
  38. You’ll wake up one day and lose a lot of money. Happens to the best in the world. Prepare your mind for a big loss beforehand.
  39. Money requires risk if you want to make more. Take small bets.
  40. Buying stuff sucks. Spend money on experiences with people you love. The ROI is way higher.
  41. Most of the space in a home is never fully used. Buy a smaller home.
  42. Spend more time being grateful for what you do have, not on what you want to buy when there’s more money available.
  43. Poverty makes you good at managing expenses. Everything has an upside.
  44. LinkedIn creates a lot of hidden financial opportunities. Share your thoughts on there to attract them.
  45. Pets are expensive. Don’t make them your slaves. Let them be free and spend money on your human family.
  46. Critics can steal your attention. That can stop you from making money. Ignore them. They want what you have, and they’d like to go where you’re going.
  47. Instagram is the biggest liar when it comes to money.
  48. Smart people who know a lot about money hang out on Twitter.
  49. Financial habits make or break your financial future. Notice your money patterns.
  50. Investing money is a mental game.
  51. The best money book of all time is “The Psychology of Money.” Read it when you’re as young as possible.
  52. Impulse purchases are the worst. Think before you make big purchases. Nine times out of ten if you sleep on it you won’t end up buying it.
  53. A big wedding costs a lot of money. Save yourself the cost and use the money to travel with the person you love.
  54. Discover Raoul Pal sooner (finance god).
  55. Don’t try to be Warren Buffett.
  56. Every purchase you make steals a little bit of your time.
  57. Money can make you a toxic a-hole. Be very careful.
  58. Your parents will die. Use any money they leave you to honor their legacy. Make them proud.

What have I missed? Keen to hear what you’d tell your 21-year-old self about money in the comments section.


This article is for informational purposes only, it should not be considered financial, tax or legal advice. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.

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