Author Topic: Starting Young  (Read 4453 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Starting Young
« on: September 09, 2014, 09:11:53 AM »
Hello Mustachains! First off let me say that i found Mr. Money Mustache early this year but hadn't got into it until recently. Ok, so i'm in need for some advice. let me tell you a little about myself, I am 16 years old, now that school has stared i work only on weekends and make $9 and hour for 9 hours a day, i have $1000 in savings and $500 in the stock market right now (20% of my money goes into the stocks every month). So if anyone has any advice on anything that would help me it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Starting Young
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2014, 09:23:59 AM »
In my opinion, the most important thing you can do in the next few years is to make sure you can get yourself into a good paying career, with minimal debt.

There's a ton of options without going to college, MMM has an article on that. If you have a specific idea in mind, that has some good earning potential, but requires a college degree, at a young age it can make a ton of sense. If that's the case, figure out what state schools and community colleges might be good ideas for the career. If you have no idea what you want (which is normal for a high schooler), it might make sense to spend some time figuring out what sorts of things interest you.


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Re: Starting Young
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2014, 09:54:40 AM »
+1 about community college and public universities. Save yourself the trouble of student loan debt by going to community college for two years and getting the basics out of the way. Does your school offer dual credit? (Taking college courses for free while in high school) If so, this will save you thousands and could potentially lead you to enter college as a sophomore, rather than a freshman. 

Also, since you are working, consider making Roth Ira contributions. You will need a parent to be the guardian until you are 18, but it's a great way to start saving for retirement. We are doing this for my 14 year old sister.


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Re: Starting Young
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2014, 09:56:32 AM »
Welcome Travis! It's absolutely fantastic to see people your age on here. Let me tell you one thing for sure, if you follow even half of MMM's recommendations / examples starting from 16, you will without a doubt be leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else and early FIRE will not be a problem.

First, I would strongly advise you to open a Roth IRA with Vanguard. It may need to be opened by your parents "in trust", but if you have employment income this is the best place to save for someone your age. Max out the contribution and invest 100% of your portfolio in VTSAX. You probably have read it many times before on here, but it's low cost, boring, well diversified, and based on your timeline it's by far your best option.

Try get into the habit of saving 50% of your income. Some may say it's stupid to save so heavily at your age, but form good habits now so they stick with you for life. Keep contributing, but don't ever withdraw. Try live off that other 50%.

Focus on school and get good grades! Take AP courses if you have that option. It's great to build a good work ethic and work on the weekends, but make sure you are not doing this and sacrificing grades in the meantime. You won't get rich off $9 /hr, but you will making $30 /hr+ by getting good grades and working towards a good career. Focus on going to a cost-efficient college like your state system and pick a good program. Fields like engineering, sciences, etc are the way to go. Maximize scholarships and grants. It's quite easy to land a few $1000 scholarships, just think how many hours you need to work to earn that same money at $9 / hr.

Don't buy a vehicle. Do whatever you can to avoid purchasing a vehicle for a long as possible. For most people this means you can go without at minimum until you graduate from college, maybe even for life.

Most of all, have fun and enjoy your age. The only thing you really want to do at this point is form these good financial habits. The rest will come easy once you have a career.


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Re: Starting Young
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2014, 10:08:44 AM »
If you plan to go to college, start taking dual credit courses while in HS if those are available to you.  You will get college credit (very inexpensively) and credit for your HS requirements usually.  You can even take courses online at a great discount at many state schools if you are still in HS... I have seen freshmen come to college with 24 hours of credit already just from dual credit and AP exams... and with dual credit courses, you get the credit you earn in the course with no exam at the end like AP/IB, etc...


  • Bristles
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Re: Starting Young
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2014, 10:24:24 AM »
Just some general tips that helped me while I was in high school:

- Ignore trends as they're ephemeral and costly. Eventually, no one will care what you wore/listened to/whatever.
- Be the kid who goes to the library. You'll save money and probably be more prepared for future schooling.
- Pack your school lunch every day.
- Ride the bus to school, no matter how uncool it might make you look.
- Riding a bike is cool no matter how old you are. Trust us ;-)
- Get a Roth IRA.
- If you're considering college, start looking for scholarships even if you have no idea what you want to do. is an amazing resource for this.
- Be the fellow student no one has a problem with. This is harder than it sounds (because you can't please everyone), but being friendly with everyone will win you good friends and connections for the future. You never know who you'll end up working for/with.
- Enjoy the ride. High school is actually a pretty great time of your life.
- Have fun!


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Re: Starting Young
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2014, 01:31:29 PM »
Continue learning.

Continue saving.

Enjoy yourself.

Make a difference.

If you aren't enjoying yourself, or making a difference, what's the point?
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.


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Re: Starting Young
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2014, 07:04:29 PM »
What is your economic background? If your household is on the lower end and you have great grades you can get a full scholarship to a private University. For example Harvard has free tuition for any student who has a household income of less than 40k. Having good grades is good to continue into college as well, as the highest paid jobs are competitive and will want to see your gpa.

Also if you are going to college consider the ROI of the institution.

At 16 I think internships, travel opportunities (rotary club youth exchange), community work and school clubs are what will take you to the next level, and will make you more desirable to employers, and provide networking for you.


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Re: Starting Young
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2014, 07:19:00 PM »
This is awesome! I'm 24 and wish I had heard of FIRE at your age.

A couple things:

  • Get prepared to get a good-paying job (most likely through education). The better your job pays, the faster you'll reach financial independence. Be doing a lot of research and effort to find and prepare yourself for that good job and it'll save you many years of working down the road. I chose high-tech, but choose something which doesn't require many years of expensive education.
  • Get started on your lifelong habits. The sooner you start the easier they will become and the more skilled you will be. Learn to cook, and cook for yourself (and/or family & friends) regularly. Bike everywhere now, and even learn to repair your bike! Develop some useful, Mustachian skills and they will serve you your full life.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Starting Young
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2014, 06:35:25 PM »
As perhaps the second youngest Mustachian on this forum, I may be able to offer some advice from a perspective others can't. I'm 18 now but I got into personal finance and FIRE at 17.

First of all don't worry about your parents, as long as you convince them that you know what you are doing and stay out of the way they live their lives you'll be fine. My parents know I'm into FIRE but I don't try and get them to be Mustachians as well, and they don't bother me about my plans.

Also It's my personal experience that it's significantly more valuable to spend your free time in high school working on cool hobby projects in an interesting discipline of your choice than it is to work at a low-wage job. I spent most of my years in high school programming during my free time and my hobby projects led to me getting fairly well paying internships during my final two summers of high school, including an offer to come back during my first university work term. I earned around 2x minimum wage the first summer and around 3x the next one, which was much better than I could have earned had I not spent my free time earlier on working on side projects.

Hobby projects can also lead to great opportunities (like getting featured on MMM.) and are also much more interesting and fun than working a low-skill job. Working is MUCH better than sitting around doing nothing and playing video games, but it's not the best option.

TL;DR You have the ability to work on whatever you want while your parents pay for all of your expenses, don't waste this literally once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

If you or anyone else have any questions for me about being a young Mustachian I'd be happy to answer them.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 06:39:16 PM by trishume »


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Re: Starting Young
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2014, 07:54:03 PM »
not sure where you are in Missouri (I've in KC so I know KC schools have IB, so does Springfield and St Louis but I don't know about other cities in state), but if you have the IB program in highschool, do it. It'll help you with college credits, and more importantly, it got me a full ride through college because of the extra activities I did, I scored well on ACT/SAT (got grants) and got other scholarships based on things I did as well. You can double/triple up the college credits too, doing IB/AP/college credit all from the same class, I entered college as a junior (it didn't all count as degree specific credits though) and let me take classes I wanted and not "required" classes.

I'd not worry too much on actually making a lot of money yet, it's better to learn good work ethic IMO because later on, you'll make in a week or so what you are making in a month/summer as a part time highschooler. Learn how to talk with co-workers, learn from them and such is what I got out of highschool job and not actual monetary amount.


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Re: Starting Young
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2014, 03:17:19 AM »
School matters. All your dropkick mates who think studying is uncool will be unemployed/unemployable 10 years down the track. Trust me, I know.

Watch other people very closely. Take note of how people interact and be aware of how you interact with others.

Read Dale Carnegie's How to win friends & influence people. It's fucking ancient, but it works.

Smile. Look people in the eye. Don't just grunt and nod like 99% of teenage boys.

There was a Pizza ad down here about 20 years ago. It had a young kid who was doing his first pizza delivery, which happened to be to his family home. His father answered the door and paid him the correct change.

The boy *coughed* and said "hey dad, how bout a tip?".

The father patted him on the shoulder and said "work hard, be good to your mother".