What would you tell your 18-year-old self?


As I near 30, I can look back and realize that these last 11 (almost 12) years have been a learning experience. I have moved internationally several times and I have had the opportunity of living in different countries. The world really became my classroom. I got to thinking the other day that, at 18, I never would have thought I would be living in Stockholm when I was 29. I knew I wanted to leave the town I lived in but I never thought I would be given the opportunity to live in Europe. I also thought about what advice would I give to my 18-year-old self that would make my current life a little easier. 

Many 18-year-old individuals feel somewhat immortal, their whole life is ahead of them. However, you start realizing your own mortality as you age, and that living to 80 is not guaranteed. It is better to prepare that you might live to that age but that is not to say you cannot enjoy life or adhere to the #yolo mentality. 

So, what would I tell my 18-year-old self?

1.Start saving

Even if it is $5.00, start getting into the habit of saving your money. Yes, spend your paycheck but do not spend 100% of it. Your future self will thank you.

2. Invest in assets

Assets are not only stocks and ETFs. There are many different types of assets, you just have to find other ways to have your money make money. 

Some own a business, which can be an asset if utilized correctly. Others own land or  homes. If you begin leveraging a larger percentage of your income towards building income-producing assets then your future will be set.

3. Create a budget

A budget is not only used on a personal level but this is a skill set that you can leverage into your professional life. 

There is no one-size-fits-all budget. Some finance bloggers do not have a traditional budget, which is essentially an anti-budget, while others have a budget that balances to zero.

You can read more about creating a budget here

4. Learn to say 'No'

You do not have to do anything you truly do not want to do. It is okay to say no. 

5. Define what 'success' means to you

Everyone defines success a little differently. 

Merriam-Webster defines it as a favorable or desired outcome/ the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence. This is still a vague definition. There is no exact dollar sign or status that means you have reached the ultimate success.

Write down what it means to you and set a plan to attain it. Do not just say ‘I want to be successful.’ Say ‘I want to own a profitable business that specializes in ____.’ or ‘I want to save $10,000.00.’ 

Define success and then set a goal and a plan to reach it. 

What would you tell your 18-year-old self?

4 thoughts on “What would you tell your 18-year-old self?

  1. Andrew @ Takeawaymoney says:

    I like your recommendation of defining success for two reasons. First, it encourages you to make a plan on how to get there. If you know that you want to own a successful business, then you can start planning early on and start learning about it. Secondly, it will help to remove the mindset of “I have plenty of time to do that when I’m older!”, which can lead to some getting into a comfortable routine which never changes. Although it is important to say that you don’t have to be young to start a business etc, many older people do it and do it brilliantly!

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