The Present Is Incredible
It’s so surreal when I think back to my younger years in life. I would never have guessed at 35 this is where I would be. A Marine Gunnery Sergeant that has served for 16 years, been to Iraq in 06,07,08 and to Afghanistan in 2012. That I would have a blog and be so passionate about finances and helping others get better with theirs. That I would have my AA degree and be married to my amazing wife. No way shape or form would I thought I would live in an RV and be able to stop working for the rest of my life in less than 4 years from now. Or that I would be able to build over a Quarter Million Dollars in liquid net worth.
So it got me thinking… What would I tell my 18 year old self?
It’s Ok To Not Know
It’s ok to not know what you want to do yet. I felt so pressured to figure out my whole life at a very young age. I mean younger than 18 when I say young. I felt I had to make a plan and stick to that plan. That there was no room in life to change it at all. I felt that once I picked a plan I had to stick to it and execute it flawlessly. Yet I wish I could tell myself it’s ok to not know and to change the plan a 1,000 times. This would have helped me dabble in things and I might have found a better fit for myself and a better career.
Travel When You Can
I moved around a lot growing up more than probably most. I changed schools every year until around the 8th grade. But I wish I would have traveled more after high school. Did some backpacking in other countries, studied abroad, or even just did some train adventures here in America. I think this is important as it gives us a bigger sense of ourselves and of the cultures around us. Traveling gives us perspectives that not everyone gets the privilege to see. But I don’t mean the typical tourist traveling to Paris and taking a few pictures. I mean real slow travel and experience the area you are in and all the community has to offer. I now know Travel Card Hacking would have easily paid for my travels.
Stuff Won’t Bring You Happiness
I use to be like many Americans which is a high-end consumer. I would spend it because it made me happy. The feeling would wear off and I would have to spend again to fill that void. It was a rough cycle, to say the least, and well I never got anywhere with it. I wish someone would have told me spending money to buy happiness won’t work in the long run. In fact, it would keep me from having the freedom and flexibility to find happiness. I even wrote about finances and the affect on my Happiness. Learning this would have saved me that $100K I spent on vehicles before I was 25.
Pick The Right Social Circle
You are very much a reflection of your social circle. Ever notice how friends and your environment will influence you? This is because who you surround yourself with has a huge impact on you, your future, and what you do in your spare time. Actually this reminds me of another post I wrote about your friends who are probably not financial guru’s. I wish I knew ‘to pick a better social circle, especially in my 20s. While my friends were great in my 20s and I still am friends with some of them today. It just all we focused on was drinking and having fun. If I had a social circle who instead was focused on investing, REI, Heath, Education, and Income producing assets I would have for sure gotten into those things sooner.
Instead, I did not get into these things until my early 30s. Crazy how different my financial future could have been.
Invest Early And Invest Often
I luckily started investing in the TSP at age 19. But it was never a great amount. I saved about 3%-7% of my pay depending on the year and month. I wish I knew about compounding interest and how powerful it really is. I would tell myself how easy investing is and keep it stupid simple. Don’t follow the people around me picking penny stocks, weed stocks, and individual stocks. Don’t chase returns and think average returns are bad. That if you don’t have a lot to invest that is ok you can use platforms like M1 Finance. I have built a liquid net worth of over $250,000 in just 5 years. But If I would have just started 5 years or so sooner I would arguably be worth around Half a Million Dollars. Crazy how just a few short years can make all the difference.
Strive For Freedom And Fulfillment
If I had a time machine that is what I would tell my younger self to focus on and learn as fast as possible. I have learned that once we spend based on what we value our expenses drop dramatically. That actually living a life full of enjoyment and value is not very expensive at all. I use to spend money not based on what I valued but what I was influenced by society, friends, family, and my environment to value. I would spend money on a fancy vehicle because that would give me validation from people that I was happy and successful. When in reality the joy would be short term and eventually I would want a fancier vehicle. Now I spend based on what I value and my life is more fulfilling and meaningful.
Understanding how passive income can give me the Ultimate Luxury of Freedom.
That the goal should be a fulfilling life and not listening to all the noise around you. Build real relationships, community, do things you value like…
- working out
- get outdoors
- help other
Well, that is the solid stuff I wish I could tell my 18-year-old self. Of course, there is more personal stuff as well but that will stay out of this post for now.
What would you tell your younger self?
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