Young People Must Be Long-term Greedy


Almost no one in our system of public education is teaching young people how to build lasting wealth.

While A.P. exams, private tutors and sports trainers are the current rage, Wealth Building 101 is being completely ignored.

What’s next after getting into the “right” school and finding the “perfect job”?

Young people need someone to tell them how to be prosperous over the 75% of their lives that take place outside of the classroom.

Building sustainable wealth is a key part of this success equation.

Unfortunately, the answer cannot be found in an SAT prep class or on a travel sport’s team.

Here is my advice: Be very long-term greedy!

Don’t “YouTube” your decision-making.

Flipping from someone eating way too much cinnamon, to monkeys riding dogs may satisfy your need for immediate gratification. This will come at the expense of the discipline required to build long-term wealth.

While not an easy task, it is possible to frame this concept in away young people can understand.

I call it the “golden ticket to freedom.”

Explaining the intricacies of an IRA account to young adults will not engage them. You may think they are listening but they are most likely playing Madden Mobile under the table.

Instead, frame the creation of wealth in terms like “being able to do what you want,” which can be very enticing bait.

Do you really want to be that guy in the “cube farm?”

There is a reason Uncle Bob has that drinking problem.

This can be all avoided with the purchase of that golden ticket. Though it is expensive, planning for the long term will enable you to afford the steep price.

Remember this is about THEM, not you.

Here are some key highlights from freshman life class, “Introduction to Long-term Greed”:

  1. Start saving ASAP. Compound interest runs on the fuel of time. Start saving yesterday.  A Roth IRA during the teen years is a terrific start.  Graduate to your 401k and contribute at least enough to get the company match.
  2. Avoid huge college debt.  Think long term; accumulating a huge debt load at such a young age will limit your freedom and make you a slave to your paycheck. Buying a home or starting your own business is now off the table. State schools or commuting are much more sensible options than a $300K tuition bill from an expensive private university with a good football team.
  3. Find a Mentor. Seek out someone living a life you would like to be living in 20 years and emulate their actions. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Most successful people have similar habits.
  4. Invest in yourself.  Unpaid internships and volunteer work are often the tuition to your own Ivy League school of life. The contacts and skills you learn will more than compensate you in the long run. Take full advantage of any training your first employer provides. The name of the game is building your resume of skills.
  5. Develop healthy habits.  Cigarettes, alcohol and drugs are very expensive. This same money could be used for savings which will grow wealth exponentially over decades. Your brain and body will thank you for this in a couple of decades.
  6. Understand that money does not buy happiness. Do not make important life decisions like buying a home, getting married, or taking a job solely based on the dollars it may or may not put in your pocket. Personal fulfillment should supersede the size of a paycheck in your decision making.
  7. Don’t be a jerk.  We have an oversupply as it is, so please don’t add to the problem. A great way to stand out and get noticed is to be a responsible, empathetic, and loyal person who shows up every day on time.  You just might be amazed how far these qualities can take you.

At the end of the day, your decisions to choose later over now will determine your fate in life. As far as wealth building goes, today’s sacrifices are tomorrow’s riches.

Nobody said this was going to be easy. The choice is yours.