Focus on making money not saving it– When you look at the financial spectrum, most of us are barely scratching the surface of what’s possible. There are a million different ways that you can make substantial improvements to your income, there are only a few limited ways to save money. If you work and average job that pays $50,000 per year, that maximum you can save is $50,000 (far less after taxes), to even save half of this amount would take extreme discipline and careful planning every single day, depriving yourself of anything extra that cost money. Alternatively there are many different ways that you could increase your income by 50%, which would allow you to save that same amount of money and keep your same lifestyle. If someone challenged me to either save 50% my income or increase my income by 50%, it would be far easier to achieve the increase.
How and where you make your money is just as important as how much you make– I’ve had high risk jobs where I made a lot of money but could get fired at a moments notice for an arbitrary reason. The company could downsize or go through a merger, my department could get outsourced, my boss could have a bad day; people get fired all the time for things that they have little or no control over. You can create a hedge for this by creating a second source of income, a second job, side business, cash flowing investments, etc. If you don’t have a second source of income, the next best position is to have a backup plan if your current career doesn’t work out. I hear athletes and celebrities talk about how they went all in on their craft and didn’t have any back up plan and that’s pushed them to success. Don’t listen to them, these are the one in a million success stories. For everyone NBA or NFL star, there are 1,000 guys who were elite college athletes that never made a single dollar. Successful people and businesses have back up plans. They also work on things that will make them more valuable to their next employer or customer.
Focus on long term success– My grandfather went to the military, then college, then started a career in his late twenties. He worked for the same company for 33 years, then retired. He’s now in his 90’s and has been retired longer than he worked, he also become a multimillionaire in this time. Decisions he made 70 years ago are substantially impacting his life today, allowing him to live comfortably doing all the things he loves to do. You make thing whatever you are doing (or not doing) doesn’t matter but it does. You can create small successes today and leverage them into paying dividends for years to come, if not the rest of your life. Invest well, work hard, build a reputation and skillset.
Don’t let 95% of your medical expenses wait until your last year– Our system is flawed, insurance companies only pay for what is essential. You can and should invest in your health though and start young. It’s easy to let things go because the issues won’t arise for years to come. Small amounts of money today spent on healthy food, exercise, and preventative care will pay off 100x later on. Just because an insurance company won’t pay for something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Imagine if you had buy a car today and drive it the rest of your life. You’d probably make a careful choice, get routine maintenance, fix repairs before they fester and keep it out of harm’s way; you are stuck with your body forever.