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Money Matters
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Old 09-27-2013, 08:56 AM   #1
diM3tri
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Advice for a 17 year old..

I'm 17 and I was hoping to get some life advice from some of the older members on this forum.

I'd like to consider myself pretty ambitious. Since I was 11 I started working every chance I could get to save up for my car. After making about 4,500 dollars when I was 15 with the help of my stepdad I invested that money and turned it into close to 7000. I'm constantly doing anything I can in my free time to turn a profit whether it's working on cars or mowing lawns. I want to make a good amount of money when I'm older but I also want to enjoy what I do. My parents want me to go into some sort of business career like institutional sales or hedge fund management which I'm definitely open to as I've always been fascinated with that kind of thing and I could make big money as well as my grandpa helped start a commodity trading company and my stepdad is a stock broker so they know the business quite well and have been teaching me early on. But I always had this dream to do something with cars like open a chain of dealerships or go into a classic car shipping business or something that makes a good amount of money but is also something I love. I'm wondering if there is any advice you guys can give me on deciding a career path? I always hear people saying I wish I did this or I wish I did that and hopefully I can get into a job I really love.

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Old 09-27-2013, 01:55 PM   #2
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Based on what you've described it sounds like you'd be a good candidate for business school. Whether you go the route of sales, investing or owning your own business... a solid school should teach you what you need to accomplish either one. Part of owning a business is having a good business plan, learning how to attract investors and ultimately running the business well through both operations and marketing. That being said, it may be difficult as an initial business venture given the amount of start-up capital required.

As a result, you may considering going a different route initially and building up a decent cash pot to get your business started. Certainly something like a financial advisor for a top investment group, hedge fund or even a large business can get you there faster.

Otherwise, you can make ridiculous amounts of money in sales when it's commission based. Some people are initially turned away because there is no guarantee of income short of the rather modest annual base salary you'd receive and in tough times sales can prove difficult, but if you're an all star you can make a pretty penny.

The best thing you can do at this point is expose yourself to as many avenues of business/investing as possible. Whether through direct experience or simply reading up about it. From there you'll have an idea of what truly interests you and whether you think you can excel at it or not.


edit: Final word of advice. Network as much as you can and be careful about not burning bridges with people. Even if you're still in school. You never know where those individuals might end up in life and they can open or shut a lot of doors for you.
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Old 10-30-2013, 09:59 PM   #3
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I really wish I started a roth account when I was your age and put my money in there. Compounding would've been incredible.
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Old 10-30-2013, 10:15 PM   #4
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I really wish I started a roth account when I was your age and put my money in there. Compounding would've been incredible.
The only problem is I'm 17 and have a bmw which is funded solely by me. So I don't really have any extra cash laying around to put into a retirement plan, although being tax free I'm sure it's a smart thing to so. Once I come into a good amount of money I'll have my stepdad help me setup a Roth account
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Old 10-30-2013, 10:16 PM   #5
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I'd also say business school. What you described sounds like a combination of finance, entrepreneurship, and general management. The great thing about most business schools is that you can take multiple majors in your time frame.

Also, as was said before, start networking now. Know all your step dads friends. Meet all of your grandpa's friends/coworkers. Get to know everybody at your school. No burnt bridges. I'm not sure about your school but I know most of ours have teachers that teach "for fun" who are loaded, and a couple of mine owned their own businesses. Find these teachers and talk to them. Its free advice and it gets you in their good graces grade-wise. You can also kinda tell which kids are gonna be something at your school. Know those kids. High school is a great time to make a bunch of early connections that you can foster with 0 effort through facebook and then call on them when you need something. Maintain relationships with all the people you mowed lawns for. Send out Christmas cards or some ish like that.

Your college network, especially in a business school, will be your best friend. And you want a BIG network.
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Old 10-30-2013, 10:21 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by diM3tri View Post
The only problem is I'm 17 and have a bmw which is funded solely by me. So I don't really have any extra cash laying around to put into a retirement plan, although being tax free I'm sure it's a smart thing to so. Once I come into a good amount of money I'll have my stepdad help me setup a Roth account
My next advice then would be to not waste money on material things when you're young and invest it in roth. It'll pay a ton of dividends later.

We were all like you when we were young so I know how hard it is to not enjoy the BMW. But yeah, if there's one thing I would change, it would be this. It could potentially allow you to retire 5-10 years early.
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:20 AM   #7
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I'll pop in here after work this evening and give you my advice.
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Old 11-01-2013, 03:09 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by diM3tri View Post
I'm 17 and I was hoping to get some life advice from some of the older members on this forum.

I'd like to consider myself pretty ambitious. Since I was 11 I started working every chance I could get to save up for my car. After making about 4,500 dollars when I was 15 with the help of my stepdad I invested that money and turned it into close to 7000. I'm constantly doing anything I can in my free time to turn a profit whether it's working on cars or mowing lawns. I want to make a good amount of money when I'm older but I also want to enjoy what I do. My parents want me to go into some sort of business career like institutional sales or hedge fund management which I'm definitely open to as I've always been fascinated with that kind of thing and I could make big money as well as my grandpa helped start a commodity trading company and my stepdad is a stock broker so they know the business quite well and have been teaching me early on. But I always had this dream to do something with cars like open a chain of dealerships or go into a classic car shipping business or something that makes a good amount of money but is also something I love. I'm wondering if there is any advice you guys can give me on deciding a career path? I always hear people saying I wish I did this or I wish I did that and hopefully I can get into a job I really love.

Thanks!


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First off- Congratulations on thinking about careers already.

Next, I'm going to let you in on a secret. There are, in general, two types of people in this world - those who live distracting themselves from realizing they are subject to the whims of others and those who are free from needing to be subject to the whims of others. Everyone (speaking generally) can choose to eventually become the latter category if they choose to live in a way that can make that happen.

The sad part is that those who are free from the whims of others are an exceptionally small percentage of the population. Why? It's because of decisions like this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by diM3tri View Post
The only problem is I'm 17 and have a bmw which is funded solely by me. So I don't really have any extra cash laying around to put into a retirement plan, although being tax free I'm sure it's a smart thing to so. Once I come into a good amount of money I'll have my stepdad help me setup a Roth account
To become free from the whims of others you must accumulate net worth consistently and grow that net worth until you no longer "need" to work (and realize that even the self-employed are "working" and have days they hate their job). At that point you are only subject to the whims of others (whether it be bosses, customers, clients, vendors, etc) when you CHOOSE to abide by their whims because you will know that you don't have to if you don't choose to.

How does that happen? Well, first off you have to realize that building net worth is not a "diet" for your finances. Diets do not work. It has to be a lifestyle change if it is going to last. You have to commit to making building your net worth a top priority in your life. Every decision you make to spend money has to be made with the understanding that it means sacrificing the growth of your net worth and thus extends how long you will be subject to the whims of others. Is having a slightly nicer car/house worth being forced to put up with others for days/weeks/months/years longer? Is going out to the bar 5 days a week instead of just on the weekends in your early 20's worth being forced to answer to others for months/years longer in your life? etc.

Now, before the idea of building your net worth being a "top priority" in your life makes you think I would suggest you shouldn't enjoy the money you earn let me tell you that a "top priority" is not "the only priority" you should have. Increasing your quality of life throughout your life is something you should also have as a priority. I would caution you however, that increasing your quality of life starts at the bottom once you are on your own (not from whatever quality of living was provided for you before you become independent). For most this means working their first job and living in their first apartment with a roommate(s) or living in dorms going to college (i.e. the "broke student" stereotype).

When you start with that "bottom line" point, the following is my generic advice:

1. Always live "below" your means. I say this because most people do not consider money spent on savings/investments as "living" though it surely is a necessity just like having a roof over your head.
2. Save a 9-12 months emergency fund (monthly expenses only) as soon as possible.
3. Expect to make more money as time progresses, most people do.
4. When you start earning more, make sure you increase your emergency fund to match.
5. As soon as you are earning money, invest some of it. Never say "it's only $xxx.xx so it's not worth investing yet" or "I'm too poor to invest anything". If you can't afford to invest then you can't afford your current lifestyle, because investing is a bill you need to be paying yourself as soon as possible.
6. When you start making more, maintain your quality of living (i.e. allow some of that increase to cover inflation/increasing costs of living).
7. Take half of what is left over and put it in savings/investments, use the other half of what is left over to increase your quality of life. Repeat these steps every time you start earning more, whether it's from a raise/promotion/new career/etc.
8. Set goals in life but don't be blinded by them. Your goals will likely shift throughout your life and you shouldn't ignore your new goals simply because you had other goals.
9. Never go a day without a budget. If you don't know where your money is going then there is a strong chance that too much of it is being wasted.

Now, notice that I repeatedly mentioned "savings/investments" but didn't say "IRA" or "401k" etc. I did that on purpose because saving for retirement is only one saving/investment that you will likely need in the future. Savings for a house, savings for your next car, savings for a vacation, etc are all things you should save for. Interest is the most common way people let themselves avoid maximizing their ability to grow their net worth and thus prolong how much time they will spend answering the whims of others. Interest is only a positive thing financially if it is paid understanding that you will be growing your net worth faster by paying the interest than you would by paying for the item immediately upon purchase.

Regarding your potential career paths, I won't give you any advice about what career to choose. If you're like 95% of people I've known in my life, what you want at 17 won't match up with what you want at 25, which won't match up with what you want at 35. I will say that getting a college education which is in a field that you can turn into a career (preferably a number of different types of careers) without incurring excessive debt (relative to what those careers would pay if you find a job in them) is "generally" a good investment. Though if you can manage to get that education without student loans you'll find life much simpler later on as well as probably be "free of the whims of others" sooner.

Last edited by Wraisil; 11-01-2013 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 11-01-2013, 04:41 PM   #9
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College, college college.

Stay in state and go to a public university. Nothing wrong with starting at community college either. It is cheaper and bridges the gap between high school and a university.

Take a business related class with your regular required classes each semester.

Micro Economics
Macro Economics
Business Law
Accounting
Small Business Management
etc.

They will count as electives towards any degree. If you like them go for a Business Admin + a Focus (Marketing, Finance, etc.) double major.

Unlike most degrees, a Bus Ad can be used in just about any field as it is general business knowledge. The focus will get you up the ladder faster.

In addition, it is very useful for your own business no matter how small it may be to start with.

JMO.
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Old 11-01-2013, 05:50 PM   #10
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Advice for a 17 year old..

+1 for going to a local community college! I went to a community college for 1300 a semester and lived at home with my parents and worked a full time job. Before I started going to college I knew that I couldn't achieve my mechanical engineering bachelors at my community college. So I decided that I was going to go to UD after I did every class I could at my community college that would transfer to UD. Luckily enough I lived in Dayton. Sinclair had a transfer program to UD that I did and I got 1/3 off my tuition at UD. I saved enough money working to pay for my UD expenses out of pocket.

Don't go and rack up 80k in debt just to go away to college for the "experience". Stay at home as long as you can and SAVE every dime you can while in school. Sure you will be living the "broke" college student lifestyle till you're done but you will be much better off. It was very hard to not go out every night and get sh*t faced with all of you're friends. College is like jail, just do your time and get out.


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Old 11-03-2013, 04:34 AM   #11
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^+1. Print this and tape it to your bathroom mirror.
+1 x infinity. Quite possibly one of the best posts I've ever read here or on any forum
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Christ...

I hope you come back in 5 years and read these posts.
You come off as an angry ghetto kid with mental issues.

I'm sure its really a stellar achievement to buy a five thousand dollar car, pimp it out craigslist wheels, and slap on some ebay springs.

Congratulations, your car is a disaster.
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Old 11-04-2013, 02:46 PM   #12
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College, college college.

Stay in state and go to a public university. Nothing wrong with starting at community college either. It is cheaper and bridges the gap between high school and a university..

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Originally Posted by TnT817 View Post
+1 for going to a local community college!

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edit: Final word of advice. Network as much as you can and be careful about not burning bridges with people. Even if you're still in school. You never know where those individuals might end up in life and they can open or shut a lot of doors for you.
As a converse to the cheapest/most efficient college argument, I'd say get perfect grades and go to the best college you can get into.

Networking is so important in college and if you want to know people who will be analysts and eventually directors in investment banking, PE, etc. You will have a huge advantage coming from a similar school.
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Old 12-14-2013, 02:39 PM   #13
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I'd say get perfect grades and go to the best college you can get into.

Networking is so important in college and if you want to know people who will be analysts and eventually directors in investment banking, PE, etc. You will have a huge advantage coming from a similar school.
This too.

I got my internships and my first job through networking with professors who were tied in with former colleagues still in the industry. Not to mention I hooked up with a lot of smart, business-focused people who got me into investments early on.
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