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In this video, Chelsea discusses some common things we’re taught to feel bad about in our personal and financial lives, and how to handle them in a productive way.

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Hello, everyone.

It's Chelsea. And before we get into this week's video, I wanted to let you guys know about an exciting new thing we're doing at TFD.

It's called The Studio at TFD. And it is a series of digital workshops around all sorts of topics, from money management to mental health to organization to entrepreneurship and everything in between. We've got several amazing events coming up.

And you can find out more about all of them at See you guys there. Hey, guys.

It's Chelsea from The Financial Diet. And this week's video is sponsored by Aspiration. And today, I wanted to talk about the things that you are probably doing in life that you might feel a little bit guilty about, but totally shouldn't.

These are the sorts of life choices and habits that can be a little hard to develop because sometimes, they involve saying no or doing things differently than people are used to you doing them. But a lot of them are part of growing up and making better choices generally. So they're things that you should learn to have a sense of confidence about and a sense of, hey, listen, even if some people are a little mad at me for this, I know it's right for me, or maybe they're not mad.

Maybe they just feel judgmental toward your choice or you feel self-conscious about it because you imagine other people might be judging them. Ultimately, in all of these cases, what's important is remembering that you are the person who has to live with you. You have to go to bed as you every night and wake up as you every morning.

So ultimately, only what works for your life and feels right for your choices is what matters. But in case you needed the reminder, here are seven grown-up choices that you should stop feeling guilty about. Number 1 is having a career in a different field than you went to school for.

Now, this one is, obviously, more on the judgment side of things. It can be easy to feel self-conscious that you're working a job that doesn't necessarily align with what you got a degree in or maybe doesn't even utilize your degree at all. Not only does it feel like you're not living up to the unspoken promise of your college education, but it also could make you feel like, well, what's wrong with me that I wasn't able to land a job that maybe other people in my field are able to land.

But not only is, frankly, having any job in this economy a huge accomplishment and what other people think about that job really shouldn't matter, it's actually extremely common to end up in a career path that has little or nothing to do with what you went to school for. In fact, a study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that only 27% of college graduates work in a field close to their major. So quite frankly, if you're doing something that isn't what you went to school for, you're more the norm than the exception.

But it's also important to remember at the end of the day the person who was actually making the choice of what you went to college for, a.k.a. dumb-ass 18-year-old you, in most cases-- few 18-year-olds are really equipped to understand not only what they might want to do for the rest of their lives every day, but also what would be the most expedient way to get there. In fact, you might have majored in something that you assumed would help you get the kind of job you want. But you were 18 and kind of dumb and didn't really think it through.

For example, there are many more creative fields where the actual more important things to learn are business skills that you'll utilize when working in these companies. At the end of the day, for many jobs, just having a college degree is what is required for entry or consideration. And what that degree is actually in is less important.

But even if you're in a career that didn't require your degree at all, consider yourself lucky that you found a job. And don't be hung up on how close it is to what you happen to major in. Number 2 is not doing enough to save the planet.

When it comes to being eco-friendly, we put a lot of undue pressure on individual choices. And while there are things we can all do at an individual level that can make a collective impact-- things like taking public transport over driving-- also, walking is good-- reducing waste, recycling, composting, et cetera-- a lot of these choices inherently require a level of privilege. It can be easy to feel shamed for not doing enough or not doing things correctly and easy to forget that what we consider as universally available to everyone may not be.

Not everyone can just up and move to a city with great public transportation infrastructure or trade in their gas guzzler for a nice electric car or eat only food that's locally grown and organic. And besides, over 70% of greenhouse gas emissions come from just 100 companies. And for any of those companies to change their practices, we need policy changes, not individual choices.

So while we should all be doing what we can, we should stop feeling guilty that we're not living our lives perfectly or are opening ourselves up to judgment or shame and stop shaming each other. Rather, we should be supporting companies that are doing things right. And by putting your money into an account with Aspiration, you can make your money work towards a better future.

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To be eligible, you just have to spend $1,000 in the first 60 days of opening your account. Number 3, saying no to social engagements-- now, listen. We are currently in an era where saying no to social engagements is more the norm than the exception.

And no one really has to feel guilty about not going to that party where people are playing beer pong in a frickin' pandemic. What is wrong with you people? Beer pong is gross even in normal times.

But we will eventually return to a more normal social setting. And it can still be awkward to say no to certain engagements now. But one of the biggest grown-up moves we all need to be making is getting to a place where we are comfortable curating the social life that works for us and for our budgets without feeling guilty, pressured, judged, or shamed.

At a certain point, we all sort of come to the realization that any time spent at a social activity that you are not thoroughly enjoying is a waste of time and, in many cases, a waste of money. And beyond just the engagements themselves, it's important as we get older and start to curate a more grown-up life that we become comfortable with the idea that not everyone is a friend. Some people are acquaintances.

Some people are people for whom you don't have to be dedicating a lot of time and social space. It can feel difficult or maybe even mean to make that category in your head of, these are the people for whom I would travel for a special event or make time to see them while everyone's socially distancing or go on a trip with them or spend my hard-earned money at a restaurant with them. We can't put everyone in these categories because, quite simply, there's just not enough time in the day or money in our bank accounts.

But it can feel hard, especially if you've had friends for a long time who are still in your life or if you live in a big city where you constantly have the ability to see lots of people if you want to, to really start narrowing down who these people are. But there's nothing mean or callous about being realistic about certain people being good friends and certain people being more social acquaintances for whom you just don't have to dedicate the same amount of time. It's the grown-up choice and not something you need to feel guilty about.

Number 4 is prioritizing your personal life over a "dream job." A lot of us have internalized this idea that going after a "dream job" is the only way to live a fulfilling and empowered adult life. But this just simply isn't true or even fair because, let's be clear, not everyone can have their "dream job." The world can simply not sustain that many dessert taste testers. But this framing is also predicated on the assumption that what we do for our professional work is going to ultimately have the biggest impact on the life that we're living and how good or fulfilled we feel in it.

But research shows that the biggest factor in our happiness is actually not in our professional lives, but in our relationships. According to the Federal Health Resources and Services Administration, 40% of Americans say that they "sometimes or always feel their social relationships are not meaningful." And from a purely physical health perspective, researchers say that loneliness is as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Now, it's probably not a one-to-one ratio that most people feel unfulfilled in their personal lives because they're putting too much focus on their professional lives.

But I would argue that those things are likely quite linked. We talk so much about the job you're working and how successful you are in it and going after that dream job and getting that corner office and very little about curating personal relationships that will sustain us through our whole lives, no matter what job we have. And as I mentioned in the previous point, even if we have a lot of people around us, if those relationships are not deep and meaningful and valuable to us, we can end up feeling just as lonely as if we had no one.

So yes, making sure that you're curating the relationships that will sustain and fulfill you is an extremely important part of making adult choices. But also remembering not to let your professional life consume all of your personal time-- answering emails late at night, working on the weekends, constantly be thinking about work when you're at social activities-- there's an immense pressure and an inherent judgment in not focusing enough on the right career or even having a "career" rather than "just a job." But this social pressure is inane and doesn't leave us happy. And it's not just in friendships that we can find that social connection.

Things like volunteering or joining community organizations can be a great way to give that sense of interconnectedness and meaning to your social and personal lives without necessarily having to start brand new friendships from zero. And who knows? You might make some friends doing it.

The point is, though, the more we look to our professional lives as the source of our fulfillment, the more we'll probably be left feeling unfulfilled. Number 5 is whether or not you live in a desirable big city. Movies, TV, and media generally have perpetuated an idea, intentionally or not, that you can only really live that amazing, realized, fulfilling young adult life if you're living in a handful of-- I hate to say it, but-- extremely expensive and exclusionary cities-- New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, et cetera.

But not only are these places not the only place in which you can find valuable opportunities or a great life, they also, in many cases, come with a huge trade-off. According to data gathered by the Council for Community and Economic Research, as of 2019, three different burrows in NYC made the list of the top 15 most expensive places to live in the US. The cost of living in Manhattan, still the most expensive place to live in the US based on this data, is 142.5% above US average.

And the poverty rate is 16.3%. And keep in mind that this is a pre-COVID percentage. And the median household income in Manhattan is $79,781.

But adjusted for cost of living, that's the equivalent of $32,899 elsewhere, which is wildly low when you consider that the median price of buying a home in Manhattan is over $2 million. Now, for some of us, myself included-- I live in Manhattan-- the trade-off can be worth it. And you can build a life in these cities that is right for you.

But the idea that you can only build lives that are worth having in these handful of really expensive cities closes off so much important opportunity elsewhere. A higher quality of life with a lower income is a reality in so many areas outside of these cities or even in other cities that are just not as densely packed and expensive to live in. It's important that we tune out this narrative from the media that these are the only cities that matter and start to think from a point of neutrality about what are the qualities in our lifestyle that are important to us.

Does it matter that we live in a place with great public transportation? Does it matter that we have a large home, an outdoor space? Does it matter that we're close to family members or certain friends?

Do we want to be near the beach, near the mountains, near the woods? All of these questions should be considered on their own terms. And often, when we think about what drew us to certain places in the first place, it wasn't really an active series of choices and weighing different options.

It was something like going to school there or moving there for a specific job that we may no longer have. It's easy to get into a sense of familiarity, which can be compounded by media narratives. But where you build a life should be entirely about you.

And the judgment should be tuned out. Number 6, that you waited too long to start investing or saving for retirement-- it's really easy to see those headlines about "you should have x saved by 30" or "the average 30-year-old has x amount" or "in order to retire, you need to do x per year." And when you see them, it's easy to feel like you're totally behind the curve or have missed your opportunity or have irreparably messed up your financial life. And this is doubly unfair when you consider the disadvantages that millennials and Gen Z are working with compared to previous generations when it comes to building their financial future.

After all, millennials have about $36,000 of student debt on average. And yes, starting investing as early as possible, particularly for retirement, is very, very important. But as our friend and investing expert, Amanda Holden, likes to say, the best day to start investing was yesterday.

The second best day is today. So as soon as you feel that pang of guilt that you didn't start earlier, use that to channel into starting ASAP and being aggressive to make up for lost time because, remember, you don't have to automatically start maxing out your IRA or 401(k) for investing to be worth it. If you save $250 a month in today's dollars and earn a 7% rate of return over 30 years, you will end up with over $372,000.

And that's such an important calculation to make when you're thinking about what investing could represent. If you're thinking about just $100 or $200 a month, it doesn't feel like a lot. You have to take into account compounding interest as well as the time horizon.

Suddenly, that money will seem so much more valuable to you. And you will find additional motivation to make ways to save it. It is simply never too late to start investing.

Number 7 is not wanting a romantic relationship. Now, as we discussed, healthy and fulfilling relationships are key to long-term happiness. But that doesn't necessarily have to translate to an intimate romantic partner or spouse, especially not right this minute, if that's not the place you are in life.

In fact, single people are often better at maintaining long-term platonic relationships than their married counterparts. Through their research, sociologist Naomi Gerstel and Natalia Sarkisian have found that "single people are most likely to socialize with their neighbors and their friends at least several times a month. They're most likely to see their parents at least once a week.

They ranked first in giving friends, neighbors, co-workers, siblings, and parents advice, encouragement, and moral or emotional support. They help with shopping, errands, or transportation, help with housework, yard work, car repairs, or other work around the house. They also help with childcare and receiving comparable help from them." And this was true when they looked at all single and married people across races and social classes.

So the pressure a lot of us feel to be coupled up at a certain age, even if that's not what we're looking for right now or we just don't feel that we found the right person, can sometimes lead us into getting into the wrong relationships because we feel like, well, I'm a certain age, people are judging me, even if the grown-up choice might be to remain single indefinitely until you find a situation that's actually right for you. And if you do happen to be pressured into a romantic relationship or commitment because of social pressures, even if it's not what you really would have looked for, that can have hugely negative long-term impacts. Being in a bad marriage can have negative effects on your health.

Researchers at the Universities of Nevada and Michigan monitored 373 heterosexual couples to investigate whether disagreeing about multiple topics, such as children, money, in-laws, and leisure activities, had negative health implications, and-- surprise, surprise-- they did. At the end of the day, having a solid romantic relationship in your life can be hugely additive not just emotionally, but financially. Life is easier with two.

But not only is it not the only way to have great relationships in your life, there is no guarantee that being in a romantic relationship is going to necessarily imply that it is a good romantic relationship. So tuning out the noise about when you need to be coupled up or married, when you need to be having kids, if at all, and those big life choices is crucial to making the decision that is right for you, which is truly the grown-up thing to do and nothing to feel guilty about. And if you're ready to make a truly grown-up choice, click the link in our description to sign up with Aspiration today and get an exclusive $100 sign-up bonus for starting an account.

As always, guys, thank you for watching. And don't forget to hit the Subscribe button and to come back every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for new and awesome videos. Goodbye.