Saturday, January 30, 2016

What I Wish I Had Learned In High School

Sorry but this has been a bit of a hectic and busy week, I'm not doing so hot on my commitment to write more. But I have found a few minutes so I'm going to try using them to put something together for you real quick.

The last day or so I've been unable to stop thinking about the past and some of the circumstances and opportunities that I've had. And I've been feeling a bit of regret about how things went down and some of the decisions that were made. I'm not going to go into the details but I can't help but look back at it now, knowing how things turned out, and think about what I should have done differently if only I had known the outcome.

This series of flashbacks have also got me pondering what I would have done differently with my finances if I could go back with what I know now. 

To put things in prospective, I'm 28. So 10 years ago I was about to graduate from high school. So here's my list of things I wish my high school self had done financially.

1) Save and invest more. I think that overall I've done much better at this than most because I am a natural saver. But I can remember a ton of things that I've bought over the years and rarely used and now I wish that I could have had the money I wasted on the item more. And if I had invested it, it would be double that value by now.

2) Learn about investing. I knew basically nothing about investing or how to do it until I learned about Vanguard my last semester of college and opened my first account. But that was just 3 years ago, so 7 or more extra years of growth could be a huge difference to my net worth and retirement age.

3) Ask my parents and other trusted adults to teach me about money in the real world. I wouldn't say that money was a taboo topic in my home but I don't remember many open discussions about it. But asking other people about their money was just rude. Because of this, I love it when I get the opportunity to talk openly about money with my nephews and teach them that I don't think any of their questions are off limits.

4) Work more. I came from a middle class family where I wasn't expected to help make ends meet so I focused on school work and sports through high school. I would do odd jobs for people here and there but only had one full time job in the oil fields one summer. I wish that I had had to learn how to hustle for side income better.  I remember a time when I was about the best hustler and salesman of any of the kids I knew but it's a talent that I didn't nourish and now it's nearly all gone and I'm now trying to relearn it, but it's harder note that I have a family that needs my time.

5) Take the time to shadow people in their careers. I've never known exactly what I wanted to do for a living and I think that a lot of that comes from occupational ignorance. I wish that I had taken advantage of not having all of the obligations that I do now so that I could take the time to go see what its like in different career paths. Now that I have a family and full time job it's very difficult to take a day off to go do that, much less go back and get the education that might be required for it.

6) Read financial blogs of course. Seeing as how this is what you are all doing I'd be willing to bet that you wish you had started earlier to, so I'm not sure I need to expound on this one.

I'm going to end it there for now, but if I remember any more I'll make sure to add them, or maybe make another post about it sometime. But, what would you put on your list? Let us know in the comments what you wish you would have done differently if you could go back a decade or two (or more).


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