Author Topic: Any Advice For Your 17-Year-Old Self?  (Read 1242 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Any Advice For Your 17-Year-Old Self?
« on: July 11, 2019, 06:43:07 PM »
Does anyone have advice for a 17 year old about to embark on his FI journey? I'm currently planning on going into investment banking after college to A. learn about investing and B. make a good salary so that I can retire by the time I'm old enough to have kids. The advice could be specific to me or just general wisdom you wish you were told at 17; I'm open to everything!
« Last Edit: July 11, 2019, 07:16:36 PM by aullrich »


  • Bristles
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Re: Any Advice For Your 17-Year-Old Self?
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2019, 07:40:32 PM »
Welcome to the forum and kudos to you for being interested in mustachianism at this age.  My advice as a mid-40's mom would be:

-If you can make it from ages 15-25 without getting addicted to drugs/alcohol, getting into massive debt, having an unplanned pregnancy, and getting some sort of training/education that will set you up for a good paying job - you have a high likelihood of success in life. 

-I love my children.  Don't have kids before age 25 -  you need time in your early 20's to just focus on yourself, get to know who you really are as an adult, hang out and have fun, build a good foundation in terms of relationship with a partner and a financial cushion.  Take at least 1 big amazing, life changing vacation before you have kids.

-As "young people" (gawd I can't believe I use that term) start getting money and jobs that pay well, a lot of them have spending that gets a little crazy.  That is typically the time they also start having access to a lot of credit, and don't have a lot of responsibilities.  New cars, large apartments, going out all the time, buying tons of electronics, clothes, etc.  Resist the urge to keep up with peers and use your mustachian ways.  Even if you can't save a lot of money - the fact that you are young and have lots of years ahead of you will be a huge advantage.

-Bad things will happen to you.  If you are lucky, not that many will.  I think sometimes people read these articles about people retiring exceedingly young and think it can happen by sheer will.  If you are only disciplined enough.  While discipline plays a huge role - there is a lot of luck involved (no one got sick, parents didn't need caregiving, no one died, etc.).  For my husband and I, our retirement is going to happen about 10 years later than it should have due to family emergencies and health problems with our kids.  Its ok, there will be setbacks.  The most important thing is to keep moving in the right direction.  I'm not sure on your retirement date, but keep in mind no matter how hard you try - it may not happen by then.  Just keep moving forward, saving those pennies to get to the big goal.

-Always use a condom.

-After you move out of your house, call your mom frequently.  She probably misses you. 


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Any Advice For Your 17-Year-Old Self?
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2019, 02:11:59 AM »
Try to spend time with people outside of your program while in college. They'll be a good source of knowledge from their programs, and you can learn from each other via the random conversations that pop up while hanging out. It also helps you be "plugged in" to the unpublished events on campus. I've been able to land internships outside of my program that way, and the reduced competition for it was welcome.


  • Stubble
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Re: Any Advice For Your 17-Year-Old Self?
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2019, 03:56:23 AM »
Read this:

Investment banking is brutal, but if you can hack it for a while and sock away your money you can indeed retire very early.  Just be very very careful about lifestyle creep because people will push you to blow money like it is going to catch fire in your wallet.

In your first couple of years you will not learn much about investing because you will be in the soul suck of modelling and due diligence.  You'll learn about investing later, but it will be useless for your civilian life since the amounts of money and complexity are staggering.  This is the other thing to look out for:  if you get into IB it means you are smart, but remember you are not THAT smart and stick to the good old boring index funds.

Learn hard math - you won't need it but it helps to be able to think fast when it comes to numerical stuff.   You will need to be a mix of disciplined, ruthless and personable (being a high functioning sociopath helps you hit that sweet spot, but it is not necessary and it tends to be frowned upon).

You'll need to go hard for IB but remember that financial services has a million flavors. Private Equity, Venture Capital, Wealth Management, various kinds of trading - all of these people make a lot of money.  That is not even to mention the operational and back office stuff - less glamorous but also a bit less intense and still paid above the average for similar positions in their same specialties.

And have some fun too.  Make lots of friends in college, and a few really good ones - those are the people you may end up crossing paths with in your professional life and may also be the ones you can always count on in your personal one. The slightly odd international student with the incomprehensible accent may turn out to be a really cool person - make friends with them; they are probably even more confused about the experience than you.

Most times, it is ok to drink but the quicker you learn not to drink yourself stupid, the better.  You will look back one day and wonder how you drank that swill in college anyway.

Travel if you can.  Hell, even take a year off and go be a bum somewhere strange and wonderful.  It may seem that you have to race to your goal now and thread the straight and narrow to get a good job, but that is absolutely not true.  Firms like people who have interesting life experiences - as long as you don't derail and let your grades go to down the toilet (keep'em high), you will be fine.  You do need to get into banking while you are bright-eyed and bush-tailed to put up with the grind, but a year or two living abroad and learning a language won't kill you (it is better to do it before your Jr or Sr year because that is when they recruit).

And if you don't make it into banking, don't sweat it.  There are a ton of good gigs out there.  Some will require you to work longer to FI, but you may actually lose the rush if you like what you are doing . If you struggle to get into the industry or are miserable in it those are probably indications that you are better suited for something else - probably lots of something elses.

Read widely.  It will make you more interesting and your mind quicker.  You may need to grasp how a laser manufacturer works one month and then come up to speed on the concrete industry in the next.  If your mind is able to grasp things fast beyond the numbers you will do well.  Besides, Plato is pretty cool, the Illiad has enough blood and gore to make Tarantino blush, and there are some great dirty jokes in Shakespeare.  Take a weird class or a few just because they have an interesting title.  "The Sociology of Game of Thrones" probably has some bullshit in it, but it is likely to be hella interesting.  Do the cool kids even say 'hella' anymore?  I feel our of the loop since "yeet" emerged and I have no idea what it means.

If you start dating someone that makes you feel bad about yourself, DTMFA.  Life is too short for shitty people.  Don't be shitty yourself.  When in doubt, always choose kindness over any other option.

Put the toilet seat down, or don't complain when it is up (depending on your persuasion). Little things matter sometimes, and sometimes they don't. Either way, don't be that guy or girl.

Live well.  More than a job training ground, school should be a place where you try to figure out what that means to you.