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‘I feel like I’ll never make enough money.’ This is a topic of conversation that we find ourselves listening too more often than we should.
If you’ve landed on this page directly because you are one of the millions of millennials who worry they will never earn a decent salary to support themselves, then have no fear, you’re in good company! And, what’s better, we’ve come up with a plan to sort your money worries.
Millennial Money Worries
A millennial money survey taken in 2019 (pre-pandemic), found that a whopping two-thirds of millennials say money worries keep them up at night.
Listed below are some of the more common worries that are keeping millennials awake, how many can you tick off?
- I don’t make enough money for my age.
- I don’t make enough money to live on my own.
- I don’t make enough money to survive.
- I don’t make enough money to pay my bills.
Chances are you’ve probably had a few sleepless nights worrying about money and how much you need to make.
Did you know that over 66% of millennials experience anxiety inducing thoughts about our current earning levels?
If we’re all feeling some kind of way, then why aren’t there more resources out there to combat our financial anxiety?
Personally, I’ve had enough. About a year ago, after one too many sleepless nights, I finally decided to take responsibility for my personal financial situation. After a lot of self-studying, personal development and major hustling, my financial outlook is looking a lot better as a freelancer. I’ve doubled my income and am looking to top $100,000 next year.
Even better than increasing my take-home salary is that I’ve learned how to budget and have started investing to build a portfolio.
This post is a summary of what I’ve learned over the past year to help you with those pesky ‘I Don’t Make Enough Money’ feelings. With the hope that you’ll finally get some sleep too.
Stop Feeling Like You Don’t Make Enough Money
1. Accept That It’s Not Your Fault
The first thing to realise is that current anxiety levels over your salary aren’t your fault.
Social media is creating a false picture of what success looks like and causing millennials to feel social pressure to achieve a impossible level of success. Images seen on Instagram paint the illusion that everyone is making more money than us, how else could they afford to go on vacation eight times a year?
The truth is though that millennials have accumulated over $1 trillion in debt, what the heck?! Clearly, social media has a lot to answer for clearly.
No one’s putting disclaimers next to their Instagram feed explaining how yes, they are on vacation, but it was paid for by their credit card.
What’s more, most people can’t even put a figure on how much is ‘enough’ when it comes to making money. Most people state some arbitrary figure that is above their current income.
Interestingly, a Washington Post survey found that people who live in households making less than $50,000 said that an income of $200,000 would be enough. While people earning between $50,000 and $100,000 stated $260,000 as the ideal income.
Meanwhile, people making over $100,000 said they wouldn’t feel like they made enough money unless they were making $500,000 or more per year….you get the picture.
Between social media and human nature, none of us are ever going to feel like we make enough money.
2. Lifestyle Creep
So why is it that no matter how much we make, it never feels like enough?
It’s all down to lifestyle creep.
According to Forbes, lifestyle creep “is the gradual increase of your spending as your wage increases.”
Everytime you get a raise or your income increase, so does your descretionary spending. You feel like you want to treat yourself to a flash car because you can finally afford it with your new income bracket, the same goes with living arrangements or grocery shopping.
When you making $40,000 a year, you were happy with a $2 loaf from Trader Joes. But, three years and two pay rises later, you find yourself spending $10 on a loaf of artisanal bread and not batting an eyelid.
The danger of the lifestyle creep is that no matter how high your income, you end up still living paycheck to paycheck. So you’ll never make enough money no matter how much you earn, because your lifestyle has expanded alongside your pay.
3. Your Relationship With Money
In my journey to try and figure out why I felt like I wasn’t making enough money for my age, I did a lot of Reddit trawling. There was a lot of lurking done on the personal finance threads. There was a lot of great advice out there on how to change your mindset and financial situation.
The number one thing that helped stop people feeling like they didn’t make enough money was changing their relationship to money.
It turns out lots of us are using financial worries as an external focus for our anxiety. It’s a lot easier to externally worry about the amount in your bank account versus doing the hard work on what caused you to be an anxious person.
What you need to do instead, is take a good look inside at all your ugly parts change your mindset. Work on fixing those internal problems and change your limiting beliefs, this will help change your attitude to finance.
You can do this work by going to a therapist, but if you’re worried about money, then that might be out of reach.
Alternatively, self-help books can be a great help. Many people find them to be very beneficial when it comes to self-improvement and working on changing fixed beliefs and attitudes to making money.
Have a flick through the above list of self-improvement books, it’s worth pointing out that any of those books can be downloaded for FREE with the Audible Trial.
4. Personal Finance Courses
Aside from personal-development, the key to getting over feeling like you’ll never make enough is learning how to master your personal finances.
For bizarre, unknown reasons, personal finance is not a focus in mainstream education. Instead, we are left to blindly figure out taxes, credit cards and pension plans.
You’re never going to feel truly positive and secure about your financial situation until you fully understand how money works. That’s why personal finance courses are so important.
They teach how to budget, save, invest and plan for retirement. I took a course on Udemy to figure out how to invest properly and it gave me the confidence to start an investment portfolio!
Personal finance courses lead us on to the single most important aspect of how to feel like you earn more money.
Budgeting. Learning how to plan and stick to a budget, is the key to unlocking your financial worries.
After you’ve tracked your money for a while, you’ll be able to see where you can cut back
Do you truly need to go out for cocktails weekly or could it be just once a month? Do you need to buy a new blouse or could you make do with the six identical blouses that are hanging in your wardrobe? Are weekly nail appointments a necessity?
Essentially, budgeting will teach you that spending your money is a choice. Are material goods worth more to you than feeling like you don’t make enough money?
There are ways to have the best of both world, cutting down on spending while still enjoying life. Why don’t you have your girlfriends for wine at home? You’ll save tonnes of money while still getting your friends fix.
A cute budget planner like this Clever Fox one can help you keep on track and give you a tangible tool to work with you on your journey to financial freedom!
Or, if you’re on a budget (no pun intended) then websites like Mint, can help you track your spending online for free.
6. Saving And Investing
The first step to feeling more financially secure is making sure you have a solid budget. Once you’ve done that, then you can begin paying down any existing debt.
After we’ve figured out a debt repayment plan, you’ll want to save for an emergency fund. This should provide for about 3-6 months of living expenses. This is so that you can afford to pay your bills if you lose your job, or your car breaks down.
When you first start trying to get yourself out of debt, it can feel like you’re at the bottom of an enormous mountain. The trick is to keep taking tiny steps; $5 here and there really do make a difference. Eventually you’ll reach your financial summit.
After you’ve built up an emergency savings cushion, then it’s time to think about investing.
Investing in your twenties is a great way to build wealth for the future as well as ensure that you and your family will be looked after in your retirement.
There are plenty of affordable online personal finance courses that can teach you how make smart investing decisions and build a diverse portfolio. Definitely a wise personal investment choice.
7. Make More Money
It sucks that millennials are even feeling like we’ll never make enough money in our current careers, unfortunately, it’s just the way it is. One way we can exert some control though is by increasing our money making power.
You could do some freelancing on the side, perhaps start a consulting business or a reseller business?
It takes a lot of time and effort to get a profitable side gig off the ground, but that extra financial boost will be well worth the exertion.
At the end of the day, feeling like you’ll never enough money to be able to pay your bills, or live by yourself are extremely common thoughts.
It’s a sign of our materialist times that attitudes to money are stretched and the need for more is ever-present.
But working on your changing your relationship with money, learning personal finance skills and sticking with a budget are all great tools in helping you.
Do the work and change your mindset from a place of scarcity to one of abundance and contentment.