One important question I receive frequently as an entrepreneur and business coach is this:
“Looking back at your life as an entrepreneur and investor, what do you wish you would have done differently while you were younger?”
Looking back to several years ago, I wish I knew the things I will share with you now. I don’t want you to make some of the same mistakes I think I made in some aspects as relates to money and financial management.
Find below 20 plus things every young person should know about money to avoid future regrets:
1.Save, save and invest: You need to start saving and investing while you are young. I wish someone told me about the power of compound interest while I was much younger. If I had started investing earlier in life, I would have had a lot at my age now.
Little monies invested over time grows into large amount of money through the power of compounding.
No amount is too small to start keeping aside for the rainy day. Learn to invest and start now!
2.Learn more practical skills: Skills matters a lot in life. You can never be broke if you have skills that are in high demand by other. I always say that if you can do what others can’t do, then others will be willing to pay you for it.
Many times, I wish I learnt more practical skills while growing up. would have offered to work from free during holidays to gain practical knowledge.
Some basic skills young people should learn include, computer skills, speaking skills, hair dressing skills, catering and decoration skills, driving skills, tailoring skills, website designing skills, electrical skills, welding skills, etc.
3. Build useful relationships and preserve your existing relationships: Relationship is everything. Over 90% of your success in life is related to your relationships. You should deliberately seek and build solid lifetime relationships.
I have good friends current at different continents of the world and this has helped me a lot. I would have invested more time to building more of such powerful relationships over the years.
4. Don’t limit yourself to what you are studying in school: School and the general world are two different things entirely. From experience, many of us end up doing something totally different from what we studied in school.
Some engineers end up working in the bank and some of those that studied banking end up opening their own businesses.
In the outside word beyond the university, the more vast you are with other areas of life, the better your opportunities.
5. Learn about the principles of financial management: Being knowledgeable about the principles of financial management is one very key factor that differentiates the rich from the poor. This knowledge isn’t only important in your personal life, but also vital in business and entrepreneurship.
Some important basic principles of financial management which every young person should learn includes: the principles of budgeting, savings, investing, compound interest, diversification, book keeping and goal setting etc.
6. Have a global mindset instead of limited thinking only about immediate environment:
I pity anyone who thinks only locally instead having a broad view about life. The world is a global village and if you fail to be fast in adapting to new business and financial trends, then you will be left out. In this current age, information and knowledge is dynamic and failure to update your knowledge will make you obsolete.
7. If you can, go deep into information, communication and technology earlier in life: ICT drives the world and ICT is the future of the world. I started using computers in secondary/high school. This is too late a time to have started using the computer.
However, I have developed myself since then to the level that I am now. But, I think I should have started earlier. In the current age right from elementary schools kids have started using computers.
If you still don’t know how to using the computer, then you are not doing yourself any good. The reason for this is that you most technologies and businesses are becoming more ICT compliant and you will hardly fit into the current generation.
Go and learn how to use the computer and basic Microsoft applications. If you are young and you are conversant with the basic operations of the computer, you can go further to learn more advanced computer programs. Some programs you can learn include: Advanced database management, Computer networking, Website development, Programming, Software and mobile applications development, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, AI and many more.
8. Don’t subscribe to get- rich- quick schemes, no matter what: Don’t yield to the temptation to put money into any get-rich-quick scheme or ponzi scheme. It always ends in a bitter experience, even if it appears good at first. The truth is that there is actually no quick and easy way to make money legally. If it seems too good to be true, it always is.
9. Real estate shouldn’t be your first investment: I grew up with the mindset that having a house is the best investment and the wisest thing to do once you start making money. Don’t limit yourself to buying lands and building houses once you start making money.
Having a house is a long term investment. There are other good investments that you should have before thinking about having a house. I recommend that you first build a solid base of income yielding paper assets like mutual funds, treasury bills, and stocks before thinking about investing in real estate.
Having a house should be a long term goal and living in a rented apart while building a paper asset base doesn’t necessarily mean that you are poor.
If you must build early on, let it be a bungalow for just yourself and your family and not apartment houses. Building apartment houses shouldn’t be an early move, but a subsequent financial move after building a solid paper asset based.
10. Start many small businesses: I can’t stress this point enough. Many great businesses we know today started small. Therefore, you don’t need to wait until you have a large amount of money before thinking about starting a business.
In my previous article, Two unique things which great entreprenuers do to succeed , I said that great entrepreneurs don’t neglect small businesses. Don’t neglect small businesses. In fact, start as many of them as possible. They bring in monies that sum up to large amount of money and with many small businesses, you spread your business risk.
11. Deliberately build your marketing skills:
The ability to sell yourself and your products is perhaps the most important business skill!
If you don’t know how to sell yourself and your product, you will hardly succeed in life and in business.
I learnt this the hard way. I created several products while I was in my teens and twenties which didn’t succeed.
This made me to determine to build my knowledge about marketing. Today, I am happy I recognised that need and acted accordingly. And this skill has yielded me a lot of money and is still yielding me money.
12. Don’t limit yourself to a place of worship that isn’t allowing you to grow spiritually, financially, socially and mentally: This is very vital. Don’t be too sentimental about this. If your place of worship isn’t allowing your to grow spiritually, socially, mentally and otherwise, find yourself another one. This won’t be an easy decision initially, but with time you will get over it and be happy.
13. Indulge yourself occasionally: Life is meant to be enjoyed. What is the use of making money when you don’t enjoy it. You can have a separate account for periodic fun. From that account, you should indulge yourself occasionally.
This shouldn’t be too frequent, but should be planned and done within your budget. Go to places you love. Eat what you love and drink what you love. Just do what you love doing if you can afford it and if it is morally good. If you can’t afford it weekly, then do it monthly or quarterly or biannually or even annually. But, just indulge yourself periodically!
14. Don’t compare yourself with anybody: You are not in a race with anybody. Everyone has their own destinies and the earlier you mind yours, the better for you. Decide what your want and work towards them, regardless of what other people around you are doing.
Don’t go broke trying to look rich. Most times the people you are trying to impress don’t really care about it, because thy have their problems too.
15. Don’t lend out money which you can’t afford to lose: Not too many people realise this principle early in life. Lending money to people especially close friends and family members can be a source of misunderstanding and may lead to strain in relationship. The reason for this is that due to unforeseen circumstances, people may fail to fulfil their promise to pay back the money loaned to them.
Therefore, it is best to give out money as a gift ( which you can afford ) to people, instead of loaning them a large sum which they may fail to return.
16. Take care of your health: Eat healthier and live healthier. Go for periodic medical checks. Visit your dentist every six months for teeth examination and cleaning. This will save you years of pains and expenses.
Don’t wait until you start having teeth pains before you visit your dentist.
17. Marry the right person: If you marry someone who is given to excessive spending and someone who always want to wear the latest clothes or drive the latest cars or keep up with the latest gadgets, then you are in trouble! You will hardly become wealthy if you can’t delay your gratification and if you can’t control your spending impulses.
Don’t make mistake in marriage. Marry someone who has some skills or education to bring to the table or at least who is willing to grow or develop his/her self. Someone can have good skills and education even without going to university. I am more concerned with the overall mental mindset of the person you want to marry towards personal growth and development.
18. Don’t give birth to too many children: I shouldn’t be telling you this because, I assume you should know about this. However, in this modern age, I still see young people making this same mistake!
Recently, I learnt of a relative below age 50 who has had up to 7 children! In this current age, not too many people are given birth to over 3 or 4 children. ( anything above 4 is tending towards too many ). This is very vital.
Having not too many children will enable you to give the best welfare, upbringing and education to your children ( especially in Africa where there is hardly government support to parents for their children ). Having not too many children will help to reduce the financial stress and burden on you and enable you to live a more happier life.
19. Learn to partner with people to achieve great things: Networking is better than hardworking. This is a vital principle in life and business. Avoid the solo lifestyle. Always try to use the power of synergy and team work to achieve great things.
Don’t be too concerned with who takes the credit for any success. In life and business, there is no limit we cannot attain if we become less concerned with who takes the credit for an invention, progress or any giant stride.
When you have a team or a group, one good way of motivating the members of the group is to always give the credit of your successes to every member of the group. This is very vital in business.
20. Take care of your parents: Yes take good care of your parents while you can because, you won’t always have them forever. Don’t wait until you have all the monies in the world to start giving to your lovely parents that raised you from cradle to adulthood.
Not too many people realise the value of their parents and the need to take good care of them until they lose their parents. Don’t make this mistake.
21. Give back to your world: Give more generously to the needy with the little you have: What’s the use of having money while others around you are poor and in need?
There are several ways of giving back to your world apart from giving money. I have said it many times, that the primary purpose why I created this website isn’t to make money, but to give back to my world.
This website was created to provide useful information to as much people as possible ( especially in Africa ) about how to start and run businesses and to get better financially. When more businesses are started and are successful, more people would be employed and crime will reduce.
22. Prayer doesn’t bring money: To believe that you can get more money through prayer is one erroneous belief which many people have, especially in Africa. Yes, prayer is good but you don’t become wealthy by praying for wealth and doing just nothing afterwards. God won’t send you money from heaven, instead you need to work with your hands to make money.
God can only bless the works of your hands. However, if you sit at home and fold you hands without engaging in any useful activities, don’t expect any blessings from God, because when God comes to bless the works of your hands, He’ll find nothing to bless.
In addition to blessing the works of your hands, you can pray for God’s wisdom, favour and for business and investment ideas.
Those are some things every young person should know about money to avoid future regrets.
However, if you have made several of these mistakes, don’t worry. It’s hardly too late to become or to do what you would have done, if you have the zeal and passion. You can start right now to take steps towards becoming what you would have been or towards acquiring the knowledge you should have acquired. I have seen persons who went back to school in their 40s and 50s and even more and they are graduates today.
Set goals for yourself. Take one step after another. In few years from now, you should have made significant progress, if you are truly committed to improving yourself. When there is a will, there will always be a way.
It’s never too late to become who you would have been or to do what you would have done. It’s never too late!
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