If you’re currently a high school student or are about to begin college, this article will show you how to achieve financial freedom and not hate life in your 20s.
Why wait to be free? If you know a young person in your life or you are in your teens, this is the article on early retirement/being debt-free for you.
I’m a huge fan of the early retirement extreme concept. The problem is that many folks don’t get it or they wait too long. They choose to mock it or they just wait forever while they make excuses. They go through life not thinking of their actions. They just do. Which can be fun, if you stay on top of things.
If you’re not in control, it sucks ending up in huge debt.
I was drawn to Early Retirement Extreme when I read this from Jacob:
“The reason I saved my money is so I can live a lot! There is satisfaction in knowing that you never need to work if you don’t want to and not being stressed about jobs, debt, and bills.”
This then got me thinking about becoming free at an early age and still partying because who wants to miss the party?
[Quick note: I graduated debt-free. You can do it. No excuses.]
(That’s a pic of me from 2010. My last year of college where I found myself getting silly pretty often. Are you going to let this guy graduate debt-free and not you?)
How can you achieve financial freedom at an early age? Avoid student debt (and credit card debt).
There are two ways to accomplish this:
- Avoid college.
- Attend college and graduate debt-free.
Let’s dig a little deeper now.
The case for avoiding college…
The stats are scary when it comes to student debt. The numbers just don’t add up. You can check out this article over at Forbes. One sad point is:
“Yet more sobering news that I fear will affect my son: 40% of grads from the nation’s top 100 colleges couldn’t find jobs in their chosen field.”
How are you supposed to pay off an insane amount of debt when you can’t find work or have to settle for a low-paying gig? Not exactly fun.
With that being said, we need to look at the other options…
What are some alternatives to college?
- Start a business. Make some money on your own. Fail hard. Struggle. Succeed. See how it feels.
- Travel the world. Learn a new language. Meet lots of crazy characters. Become a better person.
- Work. You can work for a few years to see how it feels to be in the real world. Then when you do go back to college, you’ll be more motivated than ever.
You don’t have to go to college just because your parents want you to.
Now, don’t get me wrong.
College isn’t evil. If you know what you want to do with your life and how to get there, you need a college education.
You can’t become a lawyer, accountant, or any other professional without the credentials. This doesn’t mean that you have to go broke though.
Why go to college?
The obvious reasons. I don’t have to or want to convince you to attend college. You know what’s best for you. Nobody has to convince you of the benefits of college. I just wanted to present another option.
How do you become financially free?
You’ve got to keep on saving. Even if it’s only $20 a week. That will add up to over a grand in a year. Any and every dollar counts at a young age. I personally started putting aside $50 a week into a separate account. It has grown pretty handsomely over the years.
Stay on top of debt.
The biggest problem that most graduates face is that they have a 6-month grace period before the banks come after their money. They scramble to find the first job. They accept some gig that isn’t up to their standards. They stick around figuring that they will leave after a year. A year turns into years. Years turn into decades.
This is why you need to stay on top of your debt. I’ve covered this in a 2,000 plus word article on destroying debt.
Watch your expenses.
You already know this. Don’t buy crap you can’t afford or else we are going to have problems!
What do you really need to know that school or your parents won’t tell you?
There’s a lot that your parents won’t tell you about your 20s. Last time we covered that topic, we looked at some insights:
- Right now is the best time to ever be alive. Look at how easy everything is, how accessible things are, and what you can do (I’m learning Spanish on my phone for free!).
- You don’t have to start an online business or use the Internet to make money. However, you can exploit the Internet for all of its free tools and resources. At the very least, you can find a date online.
- You might not get the job you want after college, but this doesn’t mean that college was a waste of time.
I’ve been in your boat. I was the oldest son. I had to go through everything alone. I was always confused. I want you to have a better life than me!
What are habits to build at a young age to not be a broke joke?
You need to master a few things. What are they?
Get into the habit of launching.
Make things happen. Do what you say you’re going to do. Try not to waste too much time on Facebook (as tempting as it is).
Find out how to have fun without spending a fortune.
Going out is what makes life fun. You won’t remember the lectures, but you’ll remember the parties and the friends that you make.
We recently look at the regrets of the dying.
The two regrets that stuck out to me are:
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
That second point really struck a chord with me. The author followed up with:
“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled.”
Keep your grades up, work hard, and reward yourself with some fun. Going out after a long work week or after destroying exams feels pretty good.
That’s all I’ll throw at your for now. Please go back to having fun. Don’t stress. Take care of a few things and everything will be good. You don’t have to miss a party. You don’t have to be miserable. Just tackle the big things.
As you get older you can check out our guide to financial freedom by 30.
“If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it.” — Frank Zappa