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This week, Chelsea talked about eight choices she's thrilled she didn't go through with, and exactly *not* making them saved her from wasting money. She talks about other choices you're making too hard on yourself here:

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8 Dangers of Credit Cards and How You Can Avoid Them:

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Hey guys. It's Chelsea from The Financial Diet with new, once again, shorter hair.

And this week's video is brought to you by Wealthsimple. And today I wanted to talk about something that I thought would be pretty fun but also very informative, which is the life choices that I'm glad I didn't make. Obviously, moving through young adulthood is a series of forks in the road.

And as I talked about in a recent video, there's always something called "opportunity cost," which can be expressed otherwise as what you gave up by taking a certain choice. It's so easy to feel overwhelmed by all the options in front of you and to not be sure when you're making the right decision, especially when it comes to big things like marriage, family, career, et cetera. So I thought I'd maybe help you a little bit in your journey by looking back at some of the big life decisions that I'm glad I avoided.

Number one was having a credit card before I could handle it. Now, as you all obviously know by this point because I've said it a million times, when I was 18. I got a credit card, maxed it out, threw it away, and destroyed my credit.

But what I haven't talked about quite as often is the fact that I went almost five years after that time without a credit card at all. And I did that not really because I couldn't access a credit card. I chose not to have a credit card during that time because I knew I was still someone who wasn't very responsible, wasn't very good with doing things on time, and tended to do the minimum.

And when it comes to credit cards specifically, being the kind of person who does the minimum can get you into a ton of trouble. Paying the minimum balance on credit cards, especially higher-interest credit cards, means that you're spending years potentially paying just the interest and never the actual amount of money you charge. And beyond just paying the minimum and staying in debt, if you don't make those payments at all, even one or two missed payments can really impact your credit score.

So while we talk a lot on TFD about how credit cards can be really helpful to use to your advantage, that only applies to people who have mastered the habits and routines that it takes to use them responsibly. So if you're someone who's looking to build up those habits and to not overspend just because you're using a card, one thing that I highly recommend, which is something that I did myself, was to start with a prepaid credit card or a rehab credit card. Now, a rehab credit card, like the one I used, often just means they have super low limits on them.

Like I had a $300 one to start, which means that, even in the worst case, it's hard to get yourself into that much trouble. And prepaid credit cards are even further in terms of helping you not harm yourself because it's literally what it sounds like. It acts like a debit card in that you prepay the amount on it.

But your bank treats it like a credit card. So you get good credit for having made those payments regularly. Either way, not jumping into a financial engagement that you can't trust yourself to really handle well is super important.

You have to treat these big financial decisions, such as using a credit card, like the big life choice it is because it can potentially get you into a ton of trouble. Number two was paying to live on my own when I couldn't afford it. Now, my path after high school was fairly typical in the sense that I went out and lived in a house with a few roommates for about a year and a half.

But once I decided that my next life move was to live abroad-- and I knew that that required a lot of saving up money and a lot of logistical planning, which means free time and therefore less work--. I chose to move back in with my parents for almost a year. Now, of course, looking back today at all the money it saved me doing that and how much it allowed me to smoothly transition into such a big life choice, it seems like the obvious move.

But at the time, it felt terrible. Like a lot of people who've ever had to move back with their parents or stay living at home, on some level it felt like a failure. Because A, I felt like I was not doing the adult, cool thing.

And B, I felt like I was losing a fair amount of freedom. But there are a couple things that are important to remember. First of all, if you are going back to live with your parents or still living with them in the first place, that is very, very common, especially for the millennial generation.

A recent Pew study revealed that for young adults age 18 to 34, they are actually living at home with their parents at the highest rate since 1940. And it's not just about how common it is. It's also about how much money it really saves you.

Because when you're just thinking in terms of month-to-month costs, you can think, oh, well, it's just a couple hundred dollars on rent. How much does that really mean? Just to take my city, New York City, as an example, the average cost of a one-bedroom is $3,680 a month, which means if you didn't pay rent here, you'd be saving nearly $45,000 a year, or a full year's salary.

And even if you are paying some rent at your parents' house, it would probably be well below market. Plus you would be sharing a lot of meals, utilities, and other day-to-day costs with them. And even in much cheaper cities, the average number that you would save by not renting for a year is between $10,000 and $20,000, which for most people is a life-changing amount of money.

That money could be the difference between paying down tons of student debt or saving up to buy a home or being able to change careers or move across the country or any other number of things that you want to be able to do that require you to have a big amount of cash at one time. But no matter what decision you make, it's so important to be making these decisions based on what is right for you and what you want and not what looks coolest or your friends think you should be doing or what you feel some outward pressure to accomplish. When we feel that pull to make a life choice, it's so important that we stop and really ask ourselves, where is this pull coming from?

Is it coming from outside of me? Or is it coming from within me? And if I was honest with myself at the time, when I was moving back in with my parents, that shame and guilt and doubt I felt was about everyone else and how they would see me, not about me, because I actually thought it was a great decision.

And it was. I am forever grateful that I moved back home with my parents during that time because it allowed me to make life-changing and awesome life decisions that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to do. Number three is staying in a career I didn't love because it felt prestigious.

When I was in college, I majored in international relations. And I was doing a lot of political and diplomatic internships because that's sort of the path I initially chose. And I didn't even really know why.

It felt prestigious. And because I was both in the DC area and spoke a second language, diplomacy slash international politics felt like such an obvious path. But I never really enjoyed it that much.

And I remember always feeling really disappointed with the real-world implications of that work that I was idealizing in my head. And it wasn't just about not liking the actual day-to-day work. It was also this constant pressure to live up to an image of myself that really wasn't me.

Basically from the time I graduated high school, that was the path that I told everyone I was on. And that was the path I followed. So the idea of changing paths felt like a failure.

And it felt like giving up this identity that had started to give me a lot of personal meaning. But I obviously ended up changing that path, cutting my losses, getting over the embarrassment of having to say, well, that didn't work out. And I realized at the end of it that I actually did learn a ton from that, even if I didn't end up working in that field.

The skills that I learned from working in the political and diplomatic environments were hugely beneficial when I started my own business or even just in acting a certain way in a regular office job. So just because you're changing something and it may feel like a bit of a disappointment in the moment does not mean that that was worthless. Number four was going to a real college when I wanted to.

Now, I've mentioned before on this channel that I went to a community college after high school. And it was something that I felt a lot of shame and embarrassment around when it happened. I actually really liked my classes.

I had a ton of freedom at community college. I was able to found a club. I was able to do tons of extracurricular activities.

And I actually loved everyone I went to school with. I learned so much. And having that transition took me from being a really terrible high school student to someone who built up their grades and was able to get into those prestigious programs that I mentioned.

But outside, it just felt like I was not living up to this image of myself that I had in my head. But it turned out that community college allowed me to get an education with nearly zero debt and go on to have the financial and educational freedom to go live abroad and go to school there, which I had always wanted to do. If I had been saddled with six figures of student debt,.

I never could have made that choice. And while I didn't get to have that sort of classic American college experience that I idealized in my head, I had an experience that gave me the flexibility that I needed, taught me how to learn better, and most importantly taught me that education is about what you're getting out of it, not what it looks like. Number five is driving a car after my accidents.

Between the ages of like 17 and 21, I drove. And I got into an enormous amount of accidents. Once I got into a final really scary accident,.

I decided, you know what? Driving and owning a car is just not for me. And it's one of the best life decisions.

I've ever made, both from a personal standpoint and also from a financial one. Obviously, now that I live in a big city, public transportation is way more accessible. But I can attest to the fact that even in smaller areas, you can definitely make it work, especially when combined with a bike.

If you're thinking of giving up your car, here are just a couple quick things to consider. The average vehicle costs over $8,000 a year to own and operate. And that includes the vehicle itself, gas, and other maintenance.

And on top of that, new vehicles lose an average of $15,000 in value during just the first five years. For a lot of you, driving might seem like the only life choice. But I assure you that it isn't.

And I'm so glad it's one I didn't make. Number six is staying friends with people who made me feel badly about myself. Social media especially can make us feel like people stay in our lives forever.

They can keep you up to date on people you barely know or speak to anymore. And it can make you feel like you're living your life in front of these people that you don't even seek out to see. And it can also make you hold on to friendships way past their expiration date.

The truth is that not every friendship is meant to last forever. And it's so important to frequently take stock of the people in your life and decide where you're getting the most value and focus your attention and your time there. It's OK to phase out from certain friendships or even occasionally have a tough conversation where things sort of have to cool off.

Not making the choice to keep people around just because of that sunk cost fallacy that you've already been friends with so long but rather choosing my friends actively based on who's adding to my life has been such an important and defining part of my 20s. Number seven is forgoing financial safety to follow my dreams. There was a time when I was working as an au pair while writing articles on the side for a little bit of money.

And for about six months during that time,. I seriously considered quitting my au pair job, even though I couldn't really afford to, and just figure it out because I was so desperate and impatient to feel like a full-time creative professional that I wanted to be. It was, once again, one of those moments where everyone's outward perception of me was really driving me toward a choice that wasn't smart for me.

I had a sense of shame around the fact that babysitting, essentially, was providing a substantial portion of my income. And I had a desire to live a life of a person I had envisioned in my head rather than live the life with the cards that I was dealt. And we actually did a really awesome interview on TFD a while back with a woman who was a best-selling author and a nanny at the same time.

She talks a lot about how working other jobs to keep that financial stability while you pursue your creative or passion jobs isn't just awesome and safe from a financial perspective. It also gives you a ton of inspiration and motivation for your day-to-day creative pursuits. Not to mention it's so much easier to think creatively and expansively when you're not paranoid and freaked out about not being able to pay your rent.

Ultimately, I'm so glad that I kept nannying and even took on a third non-writing job-- tutoring people-- to make that transition smooth and one that I could feel good about every step of the way. I think it made me a better writer. But more importantly, it made me a better adult.

And the last life choice that I'm glad I didn't make was getting married before I was ready. Now, as some of you might know, I just got married to Mark very recently, who is this wonderful guy that I've been dating for very nearly seven years now. Obviously, we waited a long time just in our personal relationship to get married.

But I also got married at 29, which for some people is a little on the later side. And I distinctly remember much, much, much earlier in my 20s being with someone and thinking that I could possibly get married to them at that time. Like I'm sure a lot of you can relate to with your long high school relationships or your long college relationships, it can feel like this person is it.

That's all there is out there for you. It's the only time you'll ever experience love. And if anything happens to that relationship, you'll die.

But like most of us have also learned when that college or high school or young adult relationship ends, your life goes on. And you do fall in love again. And often what happens is when we fall in love again, we do so as a more mature, fully formed, and thoughtful adult who is not only able to find someone who's a smarter choice for them but can also enter into that relationship on a more independent and equal footing.

And there's a lot of evidence out there that, especially for women, waiting a little bit to get married can have huge beneficial impacts on your financial life. For example, the average annual personal income for college-educated women in their mid 30s who married after age 30 is $50,415 compared with $32,263 for college-educated women of the same age who married before age 20, a 56% difference. And female high school graduates who attended some college also enjoy higher wages if they wait to marry, though the gap is not as wide.

Those who marry after 30 earn $22,286 a year by their mid 30s, while those who marry before 20 earn $18,234, a 22% difference. But it's not just about money. It's also making sure that you are the person that you want to be as an individual before you commit yourself to life with someone else.

You want to make sure you are a fully developed, thoughtful, and capable person who is able to take care of yourself and to make these decisions with a clear mind. And that means, for example, creating a list of things that you want to do before you get married, which is especially important for women. Because as we've mentioned before on this channel, over 50% of women do not manage their long-term financial planning until the case of divorce or death of a spouse, which means that often they were just not raised to look at themselves as the person in charge of that sort of thing.

Or they didn't have the kind of education they needed to make those long-term decisions. So it's impossible to overemphasize how important it is for women to go into these commitments with a strong, strong level of independence. Because even if everything goes perfectly in your marriage, something could happen to that person.

For me, my personal individual bucket list for before I was married was to travel, was to live alone, and was to start a career on my own that was super meaningful to me. Being able to accomplish those things as an individual woman and also waiting till a time in my life when it made much more financial, logistical, and personal sense to get married means that I am going into this marriage with such a level of confidence. I know that if anything were to happen to Mark,.

I would be OK and know how to take care of myself. And I also know that I went into this decision as a fully formed person making a fully informed decision. Marriage is one of the biggest life choices that many of us will make.

So having the right mentality and sense of self is of the utmost importance going in. Ultimately, we're all going to make different life choices. And what was right for me might be wrong for you and vice versa.

This channel isn't about how to learn how to do everything just the way I did it. It's about how to go about these life choices and these financial moves with a real sense of why you're doing it, who you're doing it for, and what you're getting out of it. I'm so glad I didn't make these choices, because they allowed me to make these other life choices that have turned out to be so wonderful.

And I encourage you to go back and look at the life choices you made and didn't make and see where you're really, really happy with what you did. And one life choice that I'm extremely excited that I did make was starting to invest. And if you're looking to start to invest yourself, even with just $1, an awesome, awesome way to get started is with Wealthsimple.

Wealthsimple is an online investing service that you can start using with literally just $1. And they'll build you a custom portfolio to fit your personal needs, goals, and timeline. Just answer a few simple questions about your financial goals, and they'll manage it for you on autopilot.

Think of it like the Roomba of investing. Just set it, forget it, and let it go to work in the background. They even offer retirement accounts like Roth IRAs that have huge tax benefits.

And saving for retirement should be your first investment stop. You could invest up to $5,000 with no management fees whatsoever. And TFD viewers get a cash bonus for getting started.

Check them out at Or use the link in our description. And remember, you can get started with literally $1.

No excuses. So as always, guys, thank you so much for watching. And don't forget to hit the Subscribe button and to come back every Tuesday and Thursday for new and awesome videos.

Bye. .