Advice to my 18-year-old self

As a young adult, one of the areas I struggled with was financial education. During my last year of high school, general information like career advice was readily available however, I don’t recall receiving any basic financial advice. The knowledge I had at the time was based on observations from people around me.

Further education

One of the major decisions I had to make in life was whether or not to go to university. Unfortunately, circumstances outside of my control meant that I could not go to university therefore, I had to find other ways to reach my goal. I ended up getting a job with an accountancy firm that paid for my education whilst I received valuable experience. If it had not been for the situation I was in, I would not have researched other options of reaching my goal. Today in the UK, University education costs an average of £9k per year excluding other costs like accommodation, food and transport. I’m glad I was forced into looking for other options that suited my career path but I feel I could have done more.

My advice to 18-year-old Sam

  • Look at your career options and check the entry requirements.
  • List down all the costs that will be involved.
  • Find out how much the starting salaries are and calculate roughly how long it will take to pay back the loans. This will motivate you to keep costs down.
  • Speak to people in those profession to find out what the job entails and if it is something you will be interested in doing.
  • Consider work experience  in order to gain practical knowledge of what the profession entails.
  • Find out if there are other routes to achieve your goals
  • Try a find a side job or business that will enable you to keep your costs down
  • Don’t just focus of getting a job, but think of creating jobs and working for yourself
  • Look beyond people around you. Speak to professionals in the industry.
  • There is no dream too big, you can achieve anything you set your mind on
  • Network, Network, Network! Build NETWORKS across industries and with different professions.
  • ASK, ASK, ASK! Whenever in doubt, ASK!
  • Because someone has failed, that does not mean you will fail,believe in yourself!

Money management

Even though I knew what a budget was and its purpose, for some bizarre reason I always thought that knowledge was reserved for exams. In my early twenties I hardly budgeted which meant that I didn’t live within my means. I didn’t pay much attention to taking out debt and didn’t realise that it would affect my future income. I remember one day I was discussing with my family and we decided to go on holiday. At the time, I didn’t have any savings, so I paid for the holiday using my credit card. I didn’t consider the cost of financing the holiday this way neither did I consider how long it would take to pay it back.

My advice to 18-year-old Sam

  • Start budgeting and live within your means
  • Save save save! Start now and you will thank yourself later!
  • Debt solves the problem now but it will rob you of your future income. Live within your means.
  • When the bank offers to increase your credit limit, say NO!

Setting goals

In my early twenties I decided I wanted to be more independent so, I found an apartment to rent and I moved out. This was exciting for me because I felt like I was in control. I went to the bank for my regular account review and the bank staff asked me how much I paid in rent. When I told her, she immediately said if I could afford the amount of rent I was paying, I could afford a mortgage. I just brushed it off and didn’t pay much attention at the time but a seed had been planted. I looked into some of the options that were available but I managed to talk myself out of it.

My advice to 18-year-old Sam

  • Don’t be scared to dream big and to make big goals. Your current situation is just a season and if you start now, you will thank yourself later.
  • Start taking small steps towards your future goals, soon it will all add up.
  • Ask more questions about properties and gather more information about investments.
  • Start reducing your outgoings and focus on increasing your assets.

Hindsight is a very powerful tool because it enables us to look at our past and equips us for better future.

By Sam

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3 thoughts on “Advice to my 18-year-old self

  1. My 2 children in university will benefit greatly with this information which I didn’t get at this same age but thanks to DP it’s never too late.

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