The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article called Money Lessons for Every High-School Graduate. Below I’ve listed the 5 money lessons discussed in the article along with some thoughts of my own.
1. Debt is slavery. Perhaps slavery is a bit strong…I prefer the term indentured servitude. But however you put it the fact remains that debt will keep you from achieving your goals. The more money you have to shell out each month to pay interest on your debt the less you will have to save for your future. Debt can get away from you quickly and I’ve seen it make people physically sick and even suicidal. And once you fall into the debt trap it can be very, very difficult to get out.
2. College debt takes its toll. The price of a college degree continues to skyrocket while unemployment levels remain high. As the student loan payments begin to kick in many graduates are left wondering if it was all worth it. Well, I’m a big believer in education and self-improvement so I always recommend getting a degree. But I don’t think it is wise to spend more than you can afford. Pick the best school you can afford and work your ass off. You really do get what you put into it.
3. Rich friends may be broke. As I wrote in my recent guest post at Free Money Finance, trying to one up your neighbors’ lifestyle and spending habits is a loser’s game. You might not be so jealous of his BMW and his carefully manicured lawn if you knew he was up to his eyeballs in debt and he had trouble sleeping at night. Appearances can be deceiving.
4. Materialism is misery. They say the best things in life are free and the older I get the more I realize how true that is. Don’t get me wrong, I still like nice things and I don’t see anything wrong with splurging once in awhile. But if the only way you feel happy is when you are buying the newest gadgets, shoes, or whatever…eventually it’s going to get a bit tiresome.
5. TV makes you feel poor. Advertisers know what they’re doing. A carefully crafted commercial can make you feel inferior and fill you with an overwhelming desire to buy a product that you had never even heard of to solve a problem that you didn’t even think you had until you watched the commercial. I’m convinced that people who watch an excessive amount of TV are less happy and more prone to spending beyond their means.