I realized personal finance needed to become a priority during my final year of college. I had part-time jobs and summer internships, contributing to my making money and had several conversations about gas prices and budgeting. Still, the nuances of personal finance weren't of my concern.
The days of only focusing on how much I needed to save for a spring break trip or buying a new outfit for whatever popular event were long over. I had to start thinking about building an emergency fund, investing in my retirement, health insurance and copayments and other adult stuff.
After starting my full-time job, personal finance became an overwhelming subject. I was having frequent and transparent conversations with friends about how much things cost and if they matched the quality, which credit cards people had and why, rent prices in our city and how much we were expected to be investing and saving. I also began reading books and watching financial content to increase my knowledge.
I'm incredibly grateful for the conversations I've had and the information I learned, but I quickly realized I was feeling behind and unsure of what I was doing, so something needed to change.
Figuring out my finances forced me to take a step back and look at my situation. I believe taking inventory of where you currently are and where you want to be is important. Everyone has a different money story, and that's ok.
With so much information on personal finance out there, I focused on identifying my financial goals, what I find pleasure in, and how I want to live my life. This helped me adjust how much I wanted to spend on different things throughout the month and my money goals that fueled what content I indulged in and increased my confidence when I talked about money with others.
It's a scary time to be in an economic environment where there's constant talk about a recession, being told the average Gen Z student debt is $20,900, and 73% of Gen Z said it's challenging to save. However, it feels liberating to decide how I want to approach my finances and which resources will help me achieve that.
*Disclaimer: This column does not serve as financial advice but shares the writer's personal experiences.