Believe it or not: balance isn’t everything, even with finances

Young Money - Vanessa Kunderman
Young Money – Vanessa Kunderman

Being a young person comes with a lot of pressure. And even though some of our slightly older and slightly wiser peers explain that this tension falls away as we age, it can still be a challenge to navigate through emotionally rocky waters while we try to find our independence.
A smattering of surveys have come out recently, declaring that millennials are the most stressed-out generation, with money and school being big offenders.
For example, millennials currently have an average of $15,194 saved in their RRSPs, according to a survey conducted in January by the Bank of Montreal. If you don’t have that saved, your inner alarms are probably going off at the realization you are statistically below average.
Why do we let these things have such a crippling power over us?
If you’re just starting an RRSP this tax season, applaud yourself for taking control and taking this first step. Remember, every financial situation is unique and you don’t need to think of yourself as a statistic. Some of life’s biggest financial changes happen in your 20s and 30s. Even this time last year, you were probably in a vastly different situation.
I read a quote recently from Ivanka Trump that helped me put things into perspective as a millennial. She said “people obsess too much about balance. A scale is only in balance for a brief second. Inevitably the pendulum swings. It’s impossible to maintain. Rather than obsess over perfect balance, I like to focus on my priorities.”
Now, I’m a Libra, the zodiac sign of the scales – my life is practically governed by balance, especially in the financial sector. But when I asked myself if I just wanted to be average, the answer was easy. Of course not.
Millennials want to be the best version of ourselves that we can possibly be. And that can’t be measured by the size of our bank accounts or the balances sitting in our investments.
If your priority this year is to accumulate some serious wealth, then make that your focus and stick to it. Set your ground rules and give it your all. Don’t feel bad if you’re not as socially active as you have been in the past, nor if you can’t keep track of every new restaurant to hit the city.
If you’d rather focus on starting a family or getting your health in check, don’t feel bad about not saving as much as surveys say you should be, or if you haven’t hit that $15,000 mark in your investments.
Life is a pendulum.
Vanessa Kunderman writes every month on money issues facing millennials. Email her at: hello@vanessakunderman.com.

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