Now that I’m out of my twenties, I feel equipped to actually offer advice and I’ve been recently skimming Ramit Setih’s personal finance book I Will Teach You to be Rich (under skateboarding$3 on Kindle), which is packed with great advice.  I feel fortunate that I’ve received some great pieces of advice from friends early in my career on things like 401K’s (thanks Steve), investing (thanks Scott), friendships (thanks Mark), and lots of other things.  I was on a flight last week, and some of the things I wanted to emphasize to anyone early in the professional lives are:

  • Don’t use credit cards unless you will pay them off every month
  • Contribute to your 401K at least enough to get your company match
  • Read books about what you’re interested in (and if you find yourself never reading books in your free time related to your career, you should probably find a new career)
  • Spend a lot less time watching TV and checking Facebook
  • Surround yourself with cool people that you want to be more like, because you’ll become more and more like your friends
  • Read challenging, inspiring books like Education of Millionaires and Radical (Christian book)
  • Spend five minutes each day (35 minutes a week) to assess what it is that you want to do in your life (no really, life flies by if you don’t think about what you want to do, see http://www.csc.ncsu.edu/alumni/391)
  • Study a little about leadership, business, marketing, and personal finance even if you don’t think they’re interesting (they’re super-important to everyone)
  • Make time for important things instead of always reacting to urgent things
  • Watch Dead Poets Society (“…Carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.” – John Keating)
  • Whenever you catch yourself saying (“One day I’ll learn/do ____” or “I should do ____ someday”), decide if you actually want to do it.  If you do, make time for it.  If not, stop talking about it and don’t stress yourself out.
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