Once upon a time, me and all my friends were in the same financial situation.
Scraping by living paycheck to paycheck, eating dinner at free appetizer happy hours, charging groceries on our credit cards because we were low on cash.
Back then – I’d say maybe as recently as 4 years ago – there was no shame in saying you were floating your rent check in the hopes that it wouldn’t be cashed until payday. Nobody threw down a debit card to pay for the whole table, saying “you get it next time.” And we certainly never heard each other talking about our tens of thousands of dollars in the bank.
I’m reminiscing about those times because, lately, I feel like my friends are all over the map when it comes to money.
Some have managed to save boatloads of it and demonstrate that by looking at $500,000 condos. Some have married into fortunes, allowing them annual exotic vacations, free cars and other big gifts. And then there are those on the other end of the spectrum, working two jobs and barely scraping by with enough left over to go out to dinner.
The disparity has made for some awkward situations, like New Year’s Eve, where some friends easily dropped $200 on a big party at The Drake, while others decided not to make it.
And, from a more personal perspective, it leaves me wondering where I stand. I managed the NYE ticket, but it was definitely an investment that forced me to watch my spending for the weeks before and after. I barely have a savings account. But I also don’t have credit card debt.
Does that make me normal? Or terrible with money? Or decent for my age?
I just have no idea.
It seems important to have some idea of where you stand financially, not just for your own security, but for knowing how you look in a relationship.
Would a guy consider me a liability because I don't come with a pool of cash? Should I be embarrassed to admit that I don't have more?
Or would the guy see fiscal potential in me since I have a pretty good job, I'm not paying off student loans and my parents are always there to spoil me?
I'd be curious to know what other single people consider "normal" when it comes to bank accounts for this age.
But maybe there is no such thing as normal anymore. Maybe after a certain age, we all create our own happily ever after.