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5 Money Lessons For High School Graduates

by Mike

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.

 

 

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Miss T @ Prairie EcoThrifter

Great tips. I agree with everything you said. In Canada we are lucky to not have to spend a mortgage on our education. We even get part of it back from the government. I could see due to the cost why some US kids wouldn’t want to attend. However, like you said, education is important.
Miss T @ Prairie EcoThrifter´s last blog post ..Technology and the Environment- What’s the Connection

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Miss Moneypenniless

Interesting post and an interesting article. I found university a tricky place to shun materialism and consumption. At high school I mixed socially with kids who had similar backgrounds and spending power to myself. At university the game changed and I started rubbing shoulders with significantly more privileged students. Having the integrity and confidence to turn your back on frivolous spending behaviours is hard but highly beneficial.

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cashflowmantra

These are wonderful pieces of advice for anyone, not just high school graduates. I find it interesting that the Wall Street Journal with its BMW ads and conspicuous consumption would run an article like that but it is so true. I can attest to the wisdom of these 5 tips.
cashflowmantra´s last blog post ..The Folly of Using Credit as an Emergency Fund

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Ross @ Go Be Rich

It’s sad that these are tips for “high school” graduates. These are things that we should be teaching our children from day one… although I admit, it’s hard for kids that are constantly surrounded by the image of how they should be, from television to movies to the “cool” kids in school, to know and understand that one day, it won’t be about who has the cool clothes or the fast car, but who has earned success and lived a good life. In fact, there’s a good amount of college graduates I work with that still have not learned these lessons…

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Ornella

I have to agree with number 4. Excessive TV can give you the illusion of a “keep up with Joneses” reality. It definitely gives a false impression of what the real world is truly about. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met people who show off their Mercedes and mansion to only find out they are to the hilt with debt.

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Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager

Along with number five: Your friends will make you feel poor. You will always know someone who drives a better car, have better vacations, a nicer TV and a high paying job. Don’t let it get you down. Do what you love and the money will come. Or you’ll be so happy doing what you love it won’t matter that your not making big bucks.

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RetireOnTime

Great points! It’s so easy to become a slave to debt when you’re trying to keep up with everyone else – and materialism starts at such a young age. I remember wanting name brand tennis shoes in first grade, and not understanding why my parents did not want to spend (at that time, $30 and probably twice that now) on shoes I would grow out of in just a few months. Obviously it was the other parents who had their priorities wrong. I went to a good college and worked hard, but I didn’t waste my time or money on an undergraduate degree from a private school. I know the educational experience would not have been much different, and the degrees look almost identical on paper. Less debt means financial independence sooner.

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