Economic Advice for My Children

I am an adult who is about three-quarters through my working career.  Now that I have the benefit of hindsight, what would I advise my children to do financially?

  1. Get a good education, quickly, and at a bill level you can afford to pay off. If you want to specialize in a complex field (business, engineering, etc.) get a master’s degree at as good of a school as you can, once again keeping an eye on speed and affordability.  If you can, have your employer pay for as much as possible via their tuition plan. Get as great of an education as you can with an eye on the practical implications.
  2. Work for as big of a company or as famous of a company as you can as early in your career as possible.  Soak up their way of doing things.  Learn their standards of excellence.  Learn how to do things in the best way where money does not stand in your way.  This big name will always be on your resume and you will always have this experience to draw upon.
  3. Find a great company early in your career that has good insurance, a good tuition plan, and has the resources to teach you something.
  4. Save more than you spend.
  5. Invest early and often.  Time (compound interest) might end up paying you more than your job.  It is up to you to use time and compounding to your advantage.
  6. After you have the benefit of the big company, think about doing something on your own.
  7. If you receive a windfall, save and invest half and do whatever you want with the other half.  Be prudent, but balance fun and your wants with your needs at the times you are not expecting something.
  8. Stay away from people who will drain you financially or otherwise.  You only have one pass at life.
  9. Use your resources, well-saved and shepherded, to live a good life and have fun.
  10. Travel – learn about others and other ways of doing things.  The ideas of others teach you.
  11. There is no substitute for experiences – go someplace and do something.
  12. Children are the best gift a person can receive.