Over the last year my kids started their college years. The “first” step into adulthood. We as parents can only try to prepare them for life on their own. These are some of the financial lessons I have passed along. While some may simply be cookie cutter advice, they are functional. Many were learned the hard way, but sometimes I took notes!
They were free. Hope they are listening.
1. Learn to delay gratification. Save for goals instead of borrowing from your future. The future you will thank you countless times.
2. Do not feel guilty for spending money on what is important to you.
3. That happiness you feel when you purchase that (unneeded) expensive toy is just a temporary rush and will soon be gone.
4. Automate everything. Your savings so you don’t spend any money earmarked. The bills so they get paid on time; Many offer discounts when the payments are automated. Save that discount.
5. Use credit cards wisely. They are simply tools. Use them to make your life better.
6. Avoid the living paycheck to paycheck syndrome. Easy to fall into, but extremely hard to get out.
7. Find someone who has accomplished what you wish to accomplish and ask them how they got there. Most people are happy to share.
8. Compound interest is your friend. The earlier you start saving, the earlier you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. This is a big negative concerning credit cards. ” … He who understands it, earns it…he who doesn’t, pays it”. – Albert Einstein.
9. Diversify your nest egg. Join your employer sponsored retirement plan if possible and ensure you get the company match; get IRAs every year too.
10. Stick to low-cost index funds. Outperforming and timing the market are a fool’s errand. Way more boring than watching paint dry, but they have the track record of a perennial winner.
11. There is good debt and there is bad debt; learn to differentiate because some debt is unfortunately necessary.
12. Generate multiple income streams. Freelance when possible and look to generate passive income. Not for day-to-day expenses but for things that add value to your life.
13. Never buy as much house as the bank tells you, only buy as little house as you need. The bank looks after their bottom line, not yours. Keep affordable housing because your home should not be your biggest asset. That should be your retirement nest egg.
14. Study up on the pillars of financial independence. Even if you wish to work your entire life. The ability to walk away from an unrewarding or toxic job may be life saving and reset into something more fulfilling.
15. Minimalism and frugality have merits. Incorporate some of their ideas into your life.
What lessons have you given your children, or a younger person just starting out? Please share any lessons that were given to you.