The past few weeks have been absolutely crazy. Between the new job and adjusting to being busier, I have had my hands full. Yet, it doesn’t stop me from thinking about the unique situation that young adults find themselves in financially. While I have already written about the challenges that come with being a young adult, I’ve recently been thinking about the advantages of being young.
Despite my ongoing desire to be more of a “grown-up” (a symptom of being the youngest of three boys), I have realized that being young isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, it has many advantages. Yes, you read that right – being young has its advantages. While it isn’t just one aspect, a big part of young adults’ advantage is that they are at a point in life which has lower mandatory costs. While their salary may be lower, at no other point in someone’s life can anyone reap the benefits of a frugal lifestyle to the extreme. Let me explain.
What Young People Have Going for Them
Being young isn’t all bad. There are several unique opportunities that young adults can take advantage of now:
Lower Housing Costs
Living with mom and dad after college was never more socially acceptable than the days where most American families grew up on farms (if that was ever a majority). It’s true. The financial crisis of recent years have placed a huge burden on college graduates. In addition to thousands of dollars of school debt, what young adults can afford to pay lots of money in rent while making very little. Luckily, young adults typically have the lifestyle flexibility and social acceptance to either live with mom and dad for a few years while they get on their feet. I was lucky enough to avoid this step (for more than a month), but I don’t blame those to take this route. It makes perfect sense to me. Plus, in addition to not paying rent, you also don’t have to pay all of the supplemental expenses like utilities, insurance, and perhaps home security. If living with mom and dad isn’t your style, it wouldn’t be a rare occurrence to live with roommates. In fact, renting a home with a number of other people is a great way to live on your own without breaking the bank. I know several friends who still do this and probably pay 1/3 of what I pay in rent. It’s not always easy, but anyone can do it for a couple years (when your young).
Lower Health Bills
There is also never going to be a point in young adults’ lives that they are more healthy. That’s right – they are essentially at their peak physically. That means not only less money spent on health bills and trips to the ER, but also lower premiums on both health and life insurance. While I still go to the doctor for preventative care, I don’t have the high bills that my parents and older family members incur. I also don’t pay for prescriptions or any other supplemental costs. I guess it really is time to count my blessings.
Before Lifestyle Inflation
While there are many other categories that are conducive to young adults’ lifestyle and saving money, the biggest factor why young adults have a financial advantage is that they are living before lifestyle inflation. That is, living prior to the point where they feel it necessary to increase their spending on luxury items. Whether it is because they are so close to the days when they were sucking down ramen noodles or something else, most young adults have yet to increase their lifestyle significantly. Granted, this isn’t always the case, but it’s true from my experience.
While many people may throw insults at young adults and wish their life away (I’m doing my best not to do this, I swear), being young isn’t all bad. Not only can you most likely enjoy a healthy body with few aches and pains, but you can take advantage of your life situation to be cheap for a few more years. This can not only help you pay down any debts, but launch you forward as you try to increase your net worth and start saving for retirement.