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Dear 23 Year Old Me,

Congratulations! You got your first big-girl job! No more waiting on tables, standing behind a cash register, or substitute teaching. You are a full-fledged teacher with a full-fledged salary ($22,000 looks huge compared to the $5,000 you used to make in the summer). You now have a steady income, insurance, and a teacher retirement fund.

Here is what you need to do now:

Start saving for retirement.

Please, please, please, start saving for retirement! You know, that time in your life (50 years from now) when you get to kick up your heals and live off of your savings? I know you just started working and retirement seems like a long way off, but it would be a good idea to get a handle on your money.

Find a financial advisor.

I know. I know. You are very good with money. You don’t have credit card debt and you pay your bills on time. You’ve always shopped for bargains, too. But you need to find someone who knows their stuff and can help you understand how to start investing for your future.

Educate yourself.

Try to learn about life insurance and investing so when you do find a financial advisor, you know what s/he is talking about. Do some research, borrow some books, browse some legitimate financial websites like Genworth Financial. They have tools to help you figure out a direction you need to go.

I know learning about finances is boring, but if you just learn a little bit at a time, you won’t feel overwhelmed when you are 40!


Your 40 year old self

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/