• By Riley Brettell
  • Posted January 26, 2016

This is the next in our series of guest blogs written for WealthNation by Gen Y’s who share what it actually feels like to look into the future and contemplate the bumpy road to ‘responsible’ adulthood. Whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean. 

These are real stories, written by real people, in their own words.  

Financial Pressure - When You Have No Financial Pressures.  

By Riley Brettell 

As far as it goes, I think it would be hard to find an easier stage of living than as an almost second year Uni student living at home in suburban Melbourne.  

Outside of a few part time jobs, responsibilities are relatively minimal and financial commitments are largely limited to the monthly phone bills and regular investments into Carlton and United Breweries.  

There’s no rent to pay (sorry mum), dinner is on the table every night (thanks mum) and everywhere is a cheap train ride away (if it’s not, mum can drive). 

All sounds pretty chilled hey? 

Well, sort of.  

Like any stage of life, there’s always someone out there ready to heap at least perceived pressure on you as a Gen Y-er, just to make things seem that little bit harder than they really are.  

Even when there is no reason for it to be, money is normally the cause of that pressure.   

It’s a simple stage of life where needs are fairly minimal but with a whole life ahead to look forward to, wants are unlimited.  

New clothes, a car, travel overseas, you name it and I probably want it. As far as I’m concerned there’s nothing wrong with that, unless you’re a monk or a Jedi it is just human nature.  

The one problem with being 19 is that whilst masquerading as an adult, you can’t help but think about big money decisions that adults seem to stress about with things like houses and investing, because apparently that’s what adults do with their money. But that’s a world that most of us have no comprehension of. Apparently there are better things to invest in than the pink dog at Dapto. Who knew? Or cared? 

I have always known and respected the value of money, but the concept of REAL money and what it can do was a completely foreign one, and for all intents and purposes, remains that way.  

Our financial landscape at this age has completely changed in the space of six months - going from the sheltered school environment to one where suddenly people are in full time work on decent wages by anyone’s standards - so it’s hard to keep up with where I’m supposed to stand.  

Like anything, it’s impossible not to compare my own situation to those around me, which makes trying to judge where I should be standing financially impossible.  

One thing I know is where $150 a week would have been huge coin at high school, one year later you’re struggling to keep up with the Jones’ on that much.  

Of course, how you perceive the way you measure up to your neighbour in 2016 is probably based entirely upon their instagram feed, and it is hard to figure out where you stand through an Amaro or Mayfair filter.  

Despite the smoke and mirror nature of what people put on social media, it is hard not to notice the people who were in the exact same position as me twelve months ago. The people who are now touring Europe, or driving their new BMW with a different Hilfiger shirt on for each day of the week and wonder why I’m not living the same instafamous life.  

This is where the perceived pressure comes from. I don’t know what they did to earn the money to get those things, but like anything as a Gen Y-er I don’t really care. I just want it for myself quicker than is possible. It is easy to feel as though everything has to happen now. 

We’re all in a rush for some reason completely unbeknownst to me, but it’s when you look with a bit more patient perspective that any concerns over what money should be being made and what should be done with it at this age dissipate fairly quickly.  

I’ll travel one day. I’ll have a car one day. I might even have a house one day. But I don’t need any of them now. So I’ll leave the adult stuff to them and just save what I can, little by little, and not worry about any potential financial dilemmas greater than who has the next shout. 

My time will come pretty quickly where things aren’t as simple, but when the only financial pressure you’re under is entirely perception you might as well get by as best as possible until that time and just enjoy the freedom while it lasts. 

Riley Brettell - 19 years old. Monash Uni Student. Vague interest in the world.  

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