Back To The Future :: Give Yourself Financial Advice

Over at Consumerism Commentary, Flexo is currently running a giveaway where you have a chance to win a copy of the book Cash, Cars & College: A Young Person’s Guide to Money.

In order to enter the contest, Flexo asks that you answer the following question:

What single piece of (financial) advice would you like to tell your thirteen-year-old self if technology afforded you the ability to travel in time and meet yourself without any adverse effects, such as destroying the time-space continuum, and why?

As I thought about what I would like to go back and tell myself, I considered what I was like as a kid and what I was doing around the age of thirteen. With the spirit of being an entrepreneur, I had been running my own lawn-mowing business and also was making a nice little amount of money selling candy to friends at school.

In addition to that, I thought about the one financial mulligan that I would like to have and would try to advise myself against taking the path that I did regarding this decision.

While I am not sure that I would have been interested in listening to some *old man* preach financial advice to me as a thirteen year old kid, this is how I imagine the experience would take place:

mnc31: “Hey kid, how are you doing? You’re a handsome little guy aren’t you?”

mnc13: “Uhh…yeah. Sure, whatever.”

mnc31: “I know this is going to sound crazy but I have a few suggestions for you that will help you out financially as you get older.”

mnc13: “zzzz…”

mnc31: “Okay, I know you are making some good money right now with your lawn mowing business and selling candy to the kids at school. The problem is that you aren’t saving ANY of that money. The thing to do is set aside 30% of your money for long-term savings, 10% to give to those in need and then you can spend the rest.”

mnc13: “Dude, you’re old.”

mnc31: “Yes, I am getting up there in years and I probably feel as old as you think I am right now. But if you follow my advice of saving, charity and spending then you may be in a position to retire by the time you are my age. How does that sound?”

mnc13: “Hey, that sounds pretty cool. So that was save 30% of my money, give away 10% and I get to spend the rest?”

mnc31: “Right.”

mnc13: “Cool, I can do that.”

mnc31: “One more piece of advice that you will thank me for later. When it is time for you to go to college, give serious thought to the state college as opposed to that nice private school you are likely going to prefer. In the end, you will receive a very similar education but save yourself the $20,000 in student loans and the high cost to your parents. They will thank you and you will be happy. Plus, you’ll probably spend most of your time at that state school partying with your friends that go there anyways so give it some thought.”

mnc13: “Whatever man, I’ve got $60 that I need to go spend. Are you done?”

mnc31: “Yeah, best of luck to you kid and I’ll be seeing you around.”

Would I have listened as a kid? I’m not really sure but I would like to think that some of that advice would have found it’s way into my life.

What would you tell your thirteen-year-old self?

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