Lessons with money.
When I was young, I was terrible with money.
I never had enough. I always owed somebody something. I didn’t save. As soon as I earned money, I spent it right away.
Oh, if I knew then what I know now….
You can avoid the mistakes I have made.
I never had good financial or career advice. I just figured it out as I went along. That’s a brutal path to take. Lots of mistakes. Lots of bad habits. Some learning lessons. Some lessons required multiple learnings.
There are some basic, timeless principles that will help you earn more and save more. So let me drop knowledge for ya…
Lesson #1: Build Mad Skills
Focus on building marketable skills that pay an exceptionally good wage.
If you are a college student, then focus on STEM and professional degrees like accounting, computer programming, engineering, biotech, law, and medicine.
But college is not for everyone. We are all waking up to the fact that graduating with $100K debt and a liberal arts degree has a terrible Return on Investment. There is a different path, but still the focus must be on skill development. The internet has opened up a wide range of online training that is inexpensive and, in many cases, absolutely free. For example, you can build skills-in-demand with online training in computer programming and digital marketing.
Trade schools, apprenticeships, and internships are still viable options. There is always a huge need for electricians, plumbers, medical technicians, police officers and specialized mechanics.
With these skills you will always have a respectable job that pays well. You don’t need to grind out a hopeless, minimum wage existence.
Whichever path you take, constantly hone your craft, and improve your skills set. Stay up to date with the latest trends and technologies. This will position you for greater income and opportunity.
With these skills in your back pocket, you can later transform them into your own business.
Lesson #2: Charlie Hustle the Entrepreneur
Do you ever watch Better Call Saul? I like how Howard Hamlin always refers to Jimmy McGill as “Charlie Hustle.” It was originally a nickname for baseball player Pete Rose who was scrappy, aggressive, and had a burning desire to win.
It’s always a clever idea to have your own side hustle for extra money. Find ways to earn extra income, particularly in categories where you have strong interest. Create your own business offering your skill set on a contract basis. Or just find gigs that you can do to fill in gaps in your schedule.
If you do it well, that side hustle might end up replacing your primary job, providing even greater income and personal fulfillment.
One thing is for sure. It’s unlikely you will ever get rich “working for the man.” So instead, build your own business and then you can enjoy the wealth that you create.
How should you get started? Here are a few strategies:
Always be on the lookout for opportunities. Ask yourself, “What do people need?” Then find creative ways to solve those problems. Right now, there is a huge demand for skilled labor. This creates an opportunity to offer your skills as a consultant and make 3-4x what you might earn as an employee.
For example, if you have skills in accounting or construction, you can create your own side hustle as a bookkeeper or handyman. If you are a fitness buff, you can be a trainer for people that want to get in shape. If you enjoy photography and video, you can help businesses create their own content for online marketing. The possibilities are endless. All of these can be accomplished on nights, weekends, or simply when you have time.
Always be hustling.
Charlie Hustle for Teenagers
If you are a teenager, you don’t need to be grinding at a minimum wage job. You can be making so much more if you think in terms of a side hustle.
I largely paid my way through college by tutoring high school students in mathematics. My college degree is in math, so this was an effortless way to share my skills and knowledge and get paid for it. One student led to other referrals and soon I had a very busy schedule. I was able to flexibly schedule my tutoring lessons in between classes.
Here’s another idea for a teenager. As a homeowner I struggle dealing with sprinkler systems. Lines break. Sprinkler heads need to be fixed. The entire system needs to be evaluated and maintained throughout the year. This is a skill that can easily be learned and can even be fun. It’s a niche category that can be specialized. You are outdoors, not stuck in an office or store, and you are building a system that solves problems for your customer. Plus, you can make money reselling the replacement pipes, sprinkler heads, and controllers.
Even driving for Uber or Door Dash are an enjoyable way to earn extra cash on a flexible basis. But you can do better than that.
The beauty of pursuing the side hustle is that it gets your mind focused on solving problems. It is an entrepreneurial mindset that can only help you no matter how your career evolves.
Lesson #3: Put Points up on the Scoreboard
When you play a game, how do you figure out who wins? It’s always the person that scores the most points.
I used to think of saving as a chore. I was putting money aside for a rainy day or maybe a future purchase. But that’s no fun.
I never thought about savings as a way to put points on the scoreboard. This simple change gamified my savings plan.
If you burn through everything you earned, then you are right back to square one without money. So, it’s key to start saving.
A good rule of thumb is to always save at least 10%. If you make $10, save $1 and live off of the other $9. It may sound difficult, particularly when you have little in the first place. But once you start saving 10%, you simply adjust to living off of the other 90%. It’s not as hard as you might think.
Here’s the wisdom: The whole point of savings is so you can have more freedom in your life. When you have money saved, then you don’t need to desperately take that terrible job. When you have money saved, you can use that money to make more money. When you have money saved, you are now in greater control of your life.
Lesson #4: Improve Your Financial Education
If you want to learn more about finance, then I encourage you to read the book The Richest Man in Babylon. This is a classic financial management book written as a fictional story of a wealthy person in ancient times sharing stories of his financial education. It’s a fun and light read that you can finish in a few hours. The lessons in the book are excellent.
The book focuses on “7 Cures for a Lean Purse”. It’s a book about creating and growing your bank account. The author shares stores about how to make money, how to protect your money, and how to grow your money (and not waste it!).
I discovered the book in my early twenties from a friend’s mother who referenced it as a valuable resource for young adults. I wish I read this book as a teenager. The sooner you put these lessons into action, then better off your life will be.
I liked this book so much, I did a podcast episode reviewing it.
#RichestManinBabylon #Finance #Money #Career
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