Since we are all cooped up right now and reading, we are releasing our Money Viking book chapter by chapter for free!
School & Work
We will start at the beginning, and for most of us that beginning is school or vocational training of some kind. We have a couple of general theories on school that we believe maximize the value of education and make it pay off on your journey to financial independence.
Before the beginning
Even before school, many of our perceptions and our relationship with money is formed by our family and early experiences. Were your parents always fighting about money? Was money a cause of stress for the family? Did a person or institution tell you that money is the “root of evil”? Was your upbringing one of scarcity or abundance?
We are not here to psychoanalyze here, but the fact is that many of us may require professional therapeutic assistance to make peace with some of our money habits. I believe it is important for someone to put some thought into the questions above and at least have a basic understanding of what might have formulated our current relationship with money. Managing this and dealing with it could be the beginning of building true wealth in your life.
In general, education should be considered a life long habit that extends well beyond the walls of a traditional educational institution. In fact, in many ways the most valuable education does not really begin until we leave a school or campus.
Financial education stinks!
Let’s be real, personal finance and investing education is either non-existent in school or just plain stinks in America. There are a few exceptions and choice of major can go a long way. But in general, people go to school to check the education box on their way to obtaining gainful employment in their chosen field.
Why are we not teaching kids in high school about investing vehicles, compounding, budgeting, time-value of money, real estate, debt, leverage etc.? These are all concepts that many high school students would enjoy and would go a long way in setting them up for success. Instead our educational system prepares students to be consumers and workers vice investors and owners. Financial planning and money management subjects could be some of the most valuable time spent in the high school and early college years.
I spent many hours in high school memorizing the life cycle of single cells that form into 2 cells. Prophase, Metaphase, Anaphase, Telephase. Wow great! (sarcastic) I used that knowledge zero times in the last 25 years since I learned it. It is interesting and worth understanding, but I should also have spent time learning about earning, saving and investing.
You know what I could have used? How about a simple chart that showed if I invested some of the money from my first job as a produce boy making $7/hr. If I could have put $1,000 of it into an investment vehicle, that money today would have become an extra $10k.
The point here is you have to educate yourself about money. Apparently no system or institution cares enough to provide this structure as a normal part of our education.
Find What Fits You and Get it done!
Another point about school: There is no one size fits all. Everyone has different strengths, interests and tolerance levels for school. I believe the important thing is to find a practical subject that interests you and get the school done. Do internships and practice self discovery. If formal school is not for you, perhaps going into a trade such as electrician or plumber is more appropriate. These folks make great money and can build wealth with everyone else.
Watch the Debt
We have got to get the school debt under control. When it is too high it becomes a huge drag on your ability to build wealth after school.
Most people are not that engaged at work. I enjoy my profession in real estate, but have had my share of challenging times at work. A career is quite simply a long and strange thing. It has many twists and turns typically, which makes saving and investing that much more important.
Find work you somewhat enjoy if possible. Align the work with a greater purpose for you if possible. Try and work with some people you enjoy. Ensure you are fairly compensated and treated well. Not many of us get to work in our “dream job”, therefore sometimes it is prudent to make the best of things and pursue your passions outside of work.