Real Money Lessons Learned by Real GenYers is a series that highlights financial lessons learned and experienced by our generation. Ranging from entrepreneurs and freelancers, to married couples, to those with a steady bi-weekly paycheck, this series will showcase a variety of financial issues we face and will hopefully show that you’re not alone in your financial journey. Today’s Real Money Lesson is coming to you in a different format and I’m sharing lessons from 3 different GenYers:

Dr. Andy Baldwin

“As a Naval Officer and Family Physician one of the biggest financial lessons I’ve learned is that it’s better to invest in the equity of a property than to “piss money away” on rent. I hate paying rent and after finishing medical school I vowed to never pay it again. I lived off of Ramen noodles at age 26, a new physician, but was determined to save enough for a down payment on a house. It was a new experience searching for a home with a realtor, getting qualified for a mortgage and dealing with all of the other nuances that come along with a home purchase, but I successfully achieved this by buying my first place in La Jolla in 2003.”  – Dr. Andy Baldwin, Doctor, Triathlete and Humanitarian, AndyBaldwin.com

Jessica Jones

As a Spouse, one of the biggest financial lessons I’ve learned is: it is important to discuss finances  and financial goals before walking down the aisleI was with my now husband for 4 years before we got married, and for 3 of those years we were engaged. As an Economics major, I am embarrassed to admit that before the big day we didn’t discuss finances. It made me uncomfortable and with all the other stress that comes with planning a wedding, I didn’t want to bring it up. After the wedding, as we were going through presents and counting the money that had been gifted to us, we started talking about what we wanted to do with the money which led to a bigger conversation. Fortunately for us we were on the same page with our savings goals, but this was an eye opening experience for me. I have since urged several friends to have the talk with their boyfriends relatively early on in the relationship. If I could go back, I would have definitely brought up the topic of finances within the first year of our relationship. Especially as things got more serious. Now with my friends I share a set of financial cards I got from an internship with a group of financial planners to serve as an ice breaker for when they have the finances talk with their significant others. Going forward, my husband and I now discuss finances on a regular basis and we take the “yours, mine, and ours” approach to our accounts so that we don’t feel like we are answering to each other.” – Jessica Jones, Community Manager for GoGirl Finance

Jaime Tardy

As a GenYer, one of the biggest financial lessons Ive learned is: you have to take responsibility for your money – and control it, so it doesnt control you. I was in over $70,000 in debt at the age of 24. I couldnt quit a job I didnt like because I was the breadwinner and we had so many bills we needed the money. It took a lot of learning and a ton of work, but we paid off over $70,000 in debt in 16 months. I was able to quit my job and start my own business. If I could do anything differently, I would have I started my business earlier when I was still in a day job. But I am glad I had immense focus on paying off that debt. (plus I was pregnant, so I suppose I couldnt have asked too much of myself!) Going forward, Ive set up a foundation where I control my money. I know where its supposed to go even before I get it. We still keep track of our budget monthly even years later. Im now making more in my business than I was at my job too!” Jaime Tardy, Business Coach, Speaker and founder of EventualMillionaire.com.