There have been a few milestones reached in our family this summer! We just returned from my son’s first college visit and my daughter turned 20! And with the start of his senior year of high school approaching and reflecting on her last days as a teen – I’ve done some thinking about my younger days too!
I’ve thought about how decisions I made as a teen have influenced my life – rather than focusing on how I learned from my mistakes. (And yes, I made plenty of mistakes – and had a lot of learning to do, but that’s another post!)
Today I want to focus on five good decisions I made and how they helped make me rich.
But before we go on, let’s clear up this idea of being rich. Even at FI (Financial Independence), I am not rich at all based on society’s definition of the term – (as a matter of fact, I’d be FAR from rich by most people’s standards). We don’t live in a big house or drive expensive cars and our investment accounts are nowhere near seven figures. (And I’ve always said if someone breaks in our house, they will be very sad about what’s not there!)
So I’ll side with author Harvey Mackay, that “Being rich isn’t about money. Being rich is a state of mind.” And I think having a rich state of mind comes a lot easier when you’ve made a few smart decisions as a teen. It’ll likely lead you to the kind of rich that everyone else thinks of too…
So what did I do as a teenager that helped make me rich?
1) I worked different part-time jobs.
I delivered papers, babysat, taught swim lessons, lifeguarded, bussed tables and waitressed. Those jobs helped me learn to be responsible, to manage my time, and to work with people of all ages & backgrounds. And these were all things that helped me be successful in my first teaching job too.
Having a variety of jobs as a teen helped develop that rich state of mind, and the money I earned bought some freedom to make choices too!
2) I worked with kids.
Babysitting and teaching swim lessons were the introduction to my future career! If I had not spent those summers learning how to work with kids (even when they refused to do things and cried – and yes, there were many tears at that pool), I’m not sure that I would have found my passion for teaching.
The passion became my career, and my career financed my future!
3) I played different sports.
I swam from 1st grade through college, but I didn’t do what many kids do today – focus on one sport. I tried volleyball and tennis, softball and skiing. I was good at swimming, but I could play almost anything.
How does that help make me rich? I’m not afraid to try new things now. I’ll hike and kayak, and I’ve even finished two marathons. (If you’ve ever thought of running a marathon, I highly recommend it as a “bucket list” goal – and I am not much of a runner at all!)
In addition to keeping you healthy – I’ve also monetized my activities by doing things such as officiating and coaching.
Being active will grow your rich state of mind, but it can help grow your finances too!
4) I took college credit classes.
Even 30 years ago, there were advanced classes and community college courses offered in high school. I took advantage of this and started college with 24 credits already done! With adding a few summer classes, I was able to finish my Bachelor’s degree in 3 years. With the internet, online courses and even more advanced offerings in high schools – many students should be looking at this cheap way to accelerate their undergraduate degrees! (It is also a great way for all students (even struggling ones) to get an idea what college classes are like with the support of a high school teacher.)
Advanced courses challenge your mind, and can save you thousands of dollars and a lot of time!
5) I used direct deposit.
This one is pretty simple. When I was a teen, there were no smart phones that allowed you to take pictures of a check to deposit it (and there wasn’t online banking either). I hated waiting in the line at the bank and knew I could use my time for more important things – like having fun with my friends (or working…) And it also made my savings rate skyrocket. In my 33 year working career, I can count the number of checks I’ve cashed on one hand – and I’m glad direct deposit is mandated where my kids work now.
Direct deposit and any automatic investment purchase (or bill pay) will save you time and energy for more important things, while likely increasing your savings rate too!
What smart decisions did you make as a teen that helped make you rich as an adult? Did it help grow your rich state of mind? Or did it grow the other kind of rich? Maybe it did both.
As Seen In
Photo Credit: Money – PMatthews@freeimages.com
Photo Credit: Swimmer – TPSDave@pixabay.com