7 real money lessons every twenty-something year old should learn

24.com staff members share the tips they wish they’d known before earning a salary (Pexel.com)

Because we can all do with some money tips from time to time...

Can we collectively agree that the years spent at varsity were probably the best years of our lives? Two-month long holidays, partying from dusk till dawn, spending ridiculous amounts on fashion fads… all the while sponging off our parents. The closest many of us got to experiencing real world money issues was when we’d exhausted our “pocket money”.

Fast forward some adult years later, and even dinner evenings out once a month are debatable. Who can even afford those with a savings account screaming “Save Me”?

We took to the 24.com floor to find out what our staff members wish they’d known before they started earning a salary. In the process we learnt some valuable career and money management lessons.

1. "I wish I had known money would be as important as it is."

What we took away:

Research the earning potential of the career you’re going into. It’s important that you have a clear understanding of the kind of salary you can expect from a career. If not, you might find yourself pursuing a position that will not be able to take care of your basic financial needs.

2. "Don’t glamourize the career and only look at the $ signs. Know all there is to know about the career you’re going into and don’t let people decide for you."

What we took away:

It’s fantastic that you can crack number codes with your eyes closed and your potential starting salary will be nothing less than 6-figures. But if you aren’t exactly known for your commitment, have you given a thought to the many lunch breaks you’ll probably have to spend at your desk to meet deadlines?

3. "Go into a career that actually has money."

What we took away:

Money isn’t everything but it definitely is an important factor. After some experience as an administrator, this particular staff member came to the realization that if he’d pursued a career in say an oil refinery, he’d be earning much more money.

Read: This is why you'll never earn more money

4. "When you start working you work even harder and the money doesn’t come immediately."

What we took away:

You won’t earn the big bucks from the get-go. Unless you’re a trust fund baby, the flashy car, the fancy apartment overlooking the ocean and the schmancy restaurants are all a myth when starting out.

5. "You don’t need everything, so don’t buy everything."

What we took away:

… the car, apartment and constant dinner outs… You don’t need them all in one go anyway. So don’t spend money on things you don’t need.

Read: 7 things you need to stop wasting money on

6. "As soon as you start getting a regular income, start saving a portion of it."

What we took away:

Save now!

Need we say more?

7. "Don’t allow yourself to be exploited; working for a minimum salary just because you’re young."

What we took away:

Scoring an offer because you’re young and inexperienced shouldn’t determine your worth. Before accepting a new position you need to find out as much as you can about the company, its future prospects and the kind of environment you’re going into – and if these factors will work for you. Also think about other offers that might come your way.

In the comments box below, tell us what money lessons you wish you’d known before you started your career.