Having grown up on welfare, I learned that anything I wanted in life, I’d have to make happen for myself. I had to work harder to climb the professional ladder. I had to teach myself the tricks of the trade. I wasn’t given anything out-of-pocket, and I didn’t have the safety cushion of friends to call on for fast favors. Ultimately, these hardships gave me more motivation and grit along the way.
In my formative years, while my friends went out, I would bury myself in books. In doing these studies, I realized at a young age that I had a gift for math. Leveraging my learned perseverance with my natural talent for numbers, I went from an entry-level job as a new accounts clerk at Lehman Brothers for $10 an hour at 21 years old, to a self-made millionaire by 27.
While it’s true that the millennial generation is entering the professional world with an average of $37,172 in student loans coupled with a hangover of the recession, I can say with certainty that there is no excuse not to make the best of your situation, especially with the education and tools to go about it.
As a (successful) entrepreneur, I had to make many sacrifices to get to where I am now, and you’ll find that my tips for introductory investing involves many of them:
- Educate Yourself in What It Takes to Invest
Start with simple and accessible mediums. Use Google to learn the basics (such as the differences between stocks, mutual funds, options, CDs, etc). Read a few books on investing, especially ones written by Warren Buffett. Do some research on local brokerage firms (like TD Waterhouse or Scottrade) and ask if they offer courses for first-time investors. These are core first steps for any beginner investor.
- Dive In Early
While it’s a modern trend to be the founder of the next big startup, Wall Street is still one of the fastest ways to make it rich. By staying at home with family or finding an inexpensive living space in the city, millennials can save money and take the risk of investing that cash into real stock options. The earlier you start, the better chances you have to make it big.
- Be Ready to Take Risks
The saying, “No risk, no reward” is a mantra for a reason. Investing takes a lot of risks, but without such risks, there would be fewer rewards when it comes to earning lasting wealth. Millennials should embrace stocks and get aggressive. Walking down Wall Street, after all, is where one can spot the wealthiest.
- Make Smart Savings to Allow You Space to Invest
Millennials tend to already save in some smart, small ways — like leading a minimalistic life and being frugal with everyday expenses (such as cooking at home rather than excessive dinners out). Those savings can be used to invest in the stock market as aggressively as possible, which I suggest doing before the age of 30. Those savings can also be used to open a Roth 401K or IRA. The money you put away there will grow slowly, but surely, over time.
A recent survey shows that only 26% of young people (under the age of 30) are investing in stocks. This is alarming. Generation Y is our future, and we need to change that statistic now to pave a healthier financial path for that future. There are hundreds of success stories of young people who’ve succeeded in the stock market. It’s all about educating yourself on how you can make the most of it. No one is responsible for your success and financial future except yourself.
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