If you could go back and talk to your teenage self, what would you say? I can think of a whole host of things. My guess is many of us would tell our teenage selves what to do differently.
“Don’t bother with that girl, she’s a heartbreaker…”
“Don’t ‘borrow’ mom and dad’s car without them knowing, you’ll get grounded for a month…”
What would you tell yourself about money? Maybe you’d impart some wisdom about credit cards, or mortgages, or how to buy furniture without financing it. Maybe you’d say you need to have a plan for your money.
Ultimately, I think we’d all agree that the most important lesson we’ve learned since growing out of that younger-looking body is that we should’ve saved more money. Even if it was just $20 here or $10 there; I have yet to meet someone upset by how much money they’ve saved.
I spoke to a group of 30 teenagers the other day on preparing for the financial responsibilities of life outside the nest. Did you know that if a 16-year old began saving $1,000 a year until she turned 21, that $6,000 would grow to nearly $550,000 at retirement age? If she puts that in a Roth IRA, that money is completely tax free. Why parents aren’t teaching their kids this simple, fundamental principle of wise financial management is beyond me.
I told the teenagers I met that the writing is on the wall – Social Security will be a shell of its current self when they retire. They understood that they are on their own for their retirement savings, but didn’t know where to begin.
So, if you could go back, what would you tell yourself? Is it any different than what you should be telling your kids right now?