My middle schooler came to me the other day and said, “mom, I have a classmate who wants to learn to be financially independent. I told her you could teach her.” At first I thought she was pulling my leg. I mean, Wow! How often do you hear a middle schooler think about such things.
For years, I have only been approached by adults who have run up literally $1,000's in debt, with hardly any savings and very little (if any) investments. Basically, people who are paycheck to paycheck. Together we build a plan to get back on track or start over as the case may be.
It got me thinking if I had the opportunity to talk to my teenage self, what would I teach them? These are my lessons learned:
9. Success Takes Work.
The average millionaire is self made. They started at the beginning, with nothing and worked their tails off. Nothing was handed to them. They took every opportunity and learned from every mistake. They pictured themselves being wealthy and the freedom it would buy them. They also remember that money doesn't buy happiness, so when they did spend, they spent wisely.
8. Build Multiple Streams of Income.
To reach financial independence within 15 years, you need multiple streams of income to grow your money exponentially. Saving will get you there but only after 30 or 40 years. There are hundreds of ways to achieve this from investing, real estate, blogging and publishing a book are just 4 off the top of my head.
7. Money and Opportunities are everywhere.
To be alive in this day and age is amazing. Never in our history have we had so many opportunities to make money and be come financially independent. Our world is changing at an unprecedented rate and with that are opportunities.
6. Read More.
I wasn't always a reader. As a kid I was more of a tom boy, always outside, riding bikes, running around and climbing trees. Today, I read every night. Every day I make a point of reading something that betters myself.
5. Wealthy people are not necessarily smarter.
We are all given opportunities. What separates the wealthy from the rest is the fact that wealthy people take every opportunity and run with it. They have passion for their work. They set goals and work to achieve them. Each time they make a mistake, they learn from it and work harder. There are no excuses.
4. Surround yourself with successful people and mentors.
Boy did I miss the boat on this one. As a kid and young adult I had ZERO self confidence. It took many years, of self help books and soul searching to get me on the right track. Today, I look for mentors that I can learn and grow from through their experiences. My time with them is valuable and make every effort to come prepared with questions or topics to discuss. My friends are awesome, our conversations are more of a 2-way street where there is ample time to learn and grow together while being supportive and having fun.
3. Be frugal.
Sometimes I think I should bump this to #1. As a young adult, I would easily spend most of my money on clothes and entertainment. What was I thinking??? I wasn't. Like most young people I never thought about getting old (too far away). If I did more investing and less spending, I would be retired today. Compound interest is your friend. Leverage that early and often in your younger years.
2. Spend Smart.
If I have said it 1,000 times, its “it doesn't matter how much you make, its what you keep.” The doctors, lawyers, professional athletes, and movie stars that make millions doesn't mean they are wealthy… maybe rich, for a little while, but not necessarily wealthy. More and more I see people with modest salaries, like teachers, that retire in 10 years.
And my number 1 piece of advice:
1. To be successful one must be disciplined.
As a young adult, I though success and wealth were for the few and lucky. Today they are known as “the 1%”. This is a lie! The truth is to be successful you have to be DISCIPLINED. Bring 150% effort, every day in everything you do. Success is not free and no one is going to hand it to you.
So there you have it. Without discipline nothing else will work.
Discipline will get you focused on your passions and grow your mind. To be wealthy you need multiple streams of income. To build multiple streams of income, you need to focus on peoples problems, how they can be solved and build a business around that.
So today, not tomorrow and not this coming weekend, TODAY, think about you and your passion and your life tomorrow and all the days that follow.
What is the one piece of financial advice you would give your younger self? Get Your Slice!