Learning From Others

2 02 2008

I am 100% addicted to Digg, and because of my addiction I was able to read a great blog entitled 12 Things I Learned By 42 That I Wish I Knew At 22 on a great website called The Wisdom Journal. In this blog, Ron, the sites founder, creates a great checkpoint and learning opportunity for millennials.  I decided that since I am 22, it would be a great opportunity for me to measure myself up against some great advice (and hopefully you will do the same).  Ron’s points will be bold and italicized, with my comments after.  

1. Stay in school.  Don’t quit.  I’ve successfully made it through College, and yet now that I’m out, I feel like I’ve given up something big, I miss it, and will probably end up going back for an MBA.  (Seriously, stay in school as long as you can, the real world isn’t nearly as much fun.)     

2. Money doesn’t spoil, it keeps.  Start investing early.  That is the one thing that I was pretty good about when I was younger.  My grandmother gave my brothers and I very generous checks when I was in 6th grade.  My oldest brother paid off debt, my middle brother bought a motorcycle, I invested.  While Ron recommends mutual funds (as would I now), I played the stock market at a young age.  I watched my money triple in value in the dot com boom, then I watched it fall because I left it in too long.  I was even by the time I got to college and fell in love…with my first Mac and iPod (in 2003).  So I invested in AAPL, and what a wild ride it was.  By the time I graduated, I had sold half of it to pay for my wife’s engagement ring, and this fall I sold the rest to get us completely out of debt and help us buy our car.  Since the money is no longer in the market, I’ll say I’m about even on this one, even though I’m not largely invested (we have some money in a different stock) Mary and I don’t have any debt.  However, it is still early, so we will be maxing out our 401k’s and Roth IRA’s within the next year. 

3. Don’t buy the first house you look at.  Buy the cheapest house in the nicest neighborhood.  Check…except that we are building the cheapest house in the nicest neighborhood; well not the cheapest, we are doing some upgrades we believe we will get our money out of at sale.  We are building the cheapest plan available in the neighborhood though (with a different elevation, because the cheapest elevation was really ugly). 

4. Establish a habit of living within a budget. We are working on that one.  Overall we’re pretty good about sticking to our budget and we are pretty frugal (see My Frugal Best Practice).  Our current major expense that puts us over budget is Gas, but that will go way down when we move into the new house, closer to work and to the city. 

5. Learn how to negotiate a better deal on everything.  I love negotiating, and while Secrets of a Bargain Hunter post didn’t necessarily go into negotiating, I always ask for a discount, and negotiated a great deal on our Volvo. 

6. Keep your medical insurance in force at all times.  I have to say that my wife and I are guilty of not doing this one.  There was a 2 month period between when we got married and my wife got her job (she got one before I did) that we were not covered by medical insurance.  Never again will I let this happen, I was nervous even doing the things that usually relax me.  When Mary and I would run, workout, or I would go wakeboarding, I was constantly worried about getting hurt.  I will definitely be following this advice. 

7. It’s quality of time at work, [and] quantity of time at home that matters. … The lesson learned: family will be there after the job is long gone.  Value and treasure them.  I currently have the advantage of carpooling with my wife to and from work, and since we don’t have any kids, we are lucky to be able to spend a great deal of time together.  We may have already been dating for 5 years, but we are still learning about each other in our first 6 months of marriage.  We also both want to have our own ventures so that we can delegate how much time we spend together and with our kids (those will come 5 years down the line). 

8. Don’t listen to those who think there is a shortcut to wealth.  Check.  I love history, and according to Benjamin Franklin,  the way to wealth is Industry and Frugality. 

8a. Stay far, far away from multi level marketing “business.”  Check.  I’ve had to knock some sense into some of my friends on that one. 

9. Make sure your spouses values line up with your own.  I guess time can really be the only determiner of this, but so far we are doing well.  We have open discussions about everything, especially money.  However, I see us (as a generation) moving away from marriage to an extent.  Many of us (my wife and myself excluded) have been the product of divorced households, and I know a number of people who don’t plan on marrying because they haven’t seen good relationships firsthand. 

10. Learn how to network.  I’m trying.  I definitely understand the merits, and I am very blessed to have a father-in-law who is phenomenal at networking.  I have been able to observe him and pick up tricks so far.  I’m definitely a work in progress. 

11. Never accept a job just because the pay is higher.  I’m proud to say that I actually turned down a job for more pay than I’m making now because I couldn’t see myself being happy there.  On the flip side, I think that might be because I was still living in my idealist college world.  Now that I’m out, I would consider it more closely. 

12. Trust, but verify.  I have definitely learned this in my 22 years, and I think most millennials have because of the internet.  I have always been told not to trust everything you read on the internet, and it has naturally carried over into my daily life.  Snopes is my best friend. 

Overall, I’d say I’m in decent shape, but I know there is nothing that can replace experience, so with that, thank you Ron for some great advice, hopefully we can all learn from this! 

  

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One response

2 02 2008
Ron

Hello Daniel,
Thanks for the review and the link. It appears that you enjoyed it and I’m more than happy to pass along what I’ve learned.

Keep on track and if there’s anything I can do to help you, let me know.

Ron

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