February 21, 2013, 6:00 am

The Art of Hustle For Parents of Lazy 20-Somethings

by: MD    Category: Assets and Net Worth
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Do you have a lazy kid?

At one point or another there’s going to be the need for hustle. This is time that I could be spending on anything else but writing. Yet, I love doing it.

Your kid is going to have to hustle hard at one point. There will be the phase where they’re forced to work hard. This will hopefully be followed by the stage where they enjoy working hard. Take it from me personally, I never imagined that I would look forward to working. Now I don’t even want to call it work because I enjoy working on my projects so much.

I have a feeling I know what you might be thinking:

My son watches TV all day, there’s no way he’s going to hustle.
My daughter hangs out with her useless boyfriend all day, I can’t picture her working.
My kid’s biggest accomplishment is reaching the highest level in a PS3 game.

All I have to say is that my parents probably said this about me and my brother at some point. We all go through our lazy phases. We all also wake up eventually and realize that we need to work if we want to get anything done.

Let’s get right into the important stuff. How can I get my kid to actually work?


Let me ask you a quick question: if you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know when you get there? I find that the main problem with saving money in your 20s is that you really don’t know what you’re saving for and why you’re saving money.

I didn’t start saving my money until I got the idea to purchase a condo. We all need goals. Goals are essentially a dream with a deadline (I remember hearing this in some corny movie, but it’s still true!).

We need some sort of goals to strive towards. A lot of my friends don’t care for saving money because they don’t think that they have anything to save for. Once you develop this type of an attitude it will kill any saving bone left in your body.

What’s the point of saving for something if you don’t feel the need to?

This is why I always stress the importance of setting money-related goals. This can be something as simple as saving $1,000 for a trip or something a little more complex like saving $5,000 for a new car down-payment.

This is why I suggest that you sit down with the young person in your life and discuss the idea of setting money goals. You can ask the following questions:

What do you want to have in X amount of time?
How much money do you need for your dream trip?
How much money would you like to have in your bank account?

These are just a few quick questions that I thought of from the top of my head. I’m sure you can come up with many more.

The end point is to help the young person set some money related goals. Then we can move on to the next part.


There has to be a clear reward somewhere down the road. If we don’t see any results we’ll either just give up or stop caring. Why save money or work on something if there’s no reward? This is why cheat days are so huge with most diet plans.

This is why I believe in tangible rewards. Storing money so that you can keep it in a savings account is cool, but it’s not all that exciting for the typical 20-something.

This is why I gave the two examples in the paragraph earlier: saving for a trip or a car. When you see the reward for your financial goal it entices you to get into the habit of saving money.

What young person wouldn’t want to go on a trip? By saving up for their first trip or major expense, they’ll learn the important of setting goals and how they can be rewarded.


Once goals are met and rewarded, a new challenge needs to emerge or else money management will become boring again.

I recommend constantly looking out for new financial goals so that your kid will always feel challenged. You can also create a challenge within a current goal.

For example, I’ll do this by trying to find ways that I can make some more money or cut back on useless expenses so that I can meet my goals quicker, and reap my rewards sooner.

If I want to go on a trip sooner (after a huge snow storm) I’ll see if I can pick up more shifts at work or sell more of my crap to have more cash available to me. It’s really amazing to see how much momentum you can capture from a few quick wins.

Keep the challenge alive! I’m sure that this is the same advice that relationship experts and personal trainers offer.

That’s all I have to say about getting the college kid in your life to actually work and save money. It’s time to get working and saving!

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This is so true for anyone but especially people in their young adult years. No one will work toward something intangible or far off. Not everyone in their 20s are lazy, but a lot are. Especially those who have been handed money all of their lives (a.k.a. everyone who went to my college). Good advice.

Great advise! I feel the same. I am always trying to set goals so I don’t get bored.

Always keep track of your goals as well. It’s quite easy to get lost and forget about what you’ve started with all of the distractions around. Remember your plan to save.

[…] The Financial Blogger gives out some great advice in his post on The Art of Hustle for Parents of Lazy 20-Somethings. […]

Nice advice, IF you can get your twenty something kid to sit down with you to talk about money. We never could!

Wonderful advice. As early as now, even if my kid is only 4, I give him small tasks already. He becomes lazy at times, but I give him small rewards.

Great post. However, the problem is that you need a receptive child who wants to listen and grow. Often times children are where they are because of who they are. Just plain being stubborn and arrogant are attributes that are at the core of the problem and can be deal breakers for many young adults. No talking or discussions will change that reality. But most parents need to continue to seize any opportunity to bring perspective.

This is all very true. As a fifth year college student I know all too well about not having the motivation to save and I am horrible at it! But just recently I purchased my first car and the sense of pride I had at saving that much money to do something like that has had a ripple effect in my life. Now i more closely monitor my bills and the electric I use so I can save for a vacation with my boyfriend this spring.