THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.
Author’s note: My wife gave birth to our second son on Saturday. We are over the moon. Now that it’s our second time around and I know what I’m getting myself into, I am twice as excited.
With the first kiddo, I was super nervous. I wasn’t even sure how to hold a newborn or really even how to change a diaper. After gaining some valuable experience with baby #1, I feel much more confident.
I wrote a letter to my oldest son on his first birthday about how he could become wise. I thought it would be fun to write something for our newest addition as well.
Son, (or as your Mom calls you, “Mom’s Best Baby”. Yes, I know Mom refers to all of her children this way, so it’s hard to truly know who is the best.)
When I was growing up, I always wanted a Power Wheels Jeep. Heck, I would have been happy driving around in the Barbie Jeep. But your grandparents told me that they couldn’t afford one.
You, however, will be able to ride around in a Power Wheels Jeep. That’s not because your parents are fabulously wealthy. You get to ride around in one because your Mom is an incredible deal-finder. She was able to leverage Craigslist and other websites to acquire great items at fantastic deals. In fact, the Power Wheels Jeep that you get to ride around in was completely free.
Why am I telling you this?
I have no doubt to you will have fun driving around in your Jeep. Your brother has already determined that you will sit in the passenger seat and enjoy listening to some sweet classic rock with him. However, I want you to know that material possessions matter far less than your friends and family, and most importantly, your relationship with God.
When you pass by a huge mansion or luxury car, just remember, it’s all just stuff. It can disappear in a matter of seconds. Life isn’t about impressing people. While having a lot of money may be nice, real greatness stems from the positive impact you can make as a result of it.
“In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. That means we have 1,440 daily opportunities to make a positive impact.”
Seek to make an impact every moment that you can. That is your legacy here on this earth, not your material possessions or the amount of money in your bank account.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. The most complicated task can be broken down simplistically.
That concept applies to investing. Investing may seem confusing. It’s not. Invest in the S&P 500. If history is a guide, you will be fine. Little by little, you will see your investments rise over time.
With that said, I will try to teach you as much about the financial world as I can. You can make a lot of money and still be poor. You can make a little bit of money but be rich.
The secret is you need to spend less than you make. Create goals and benchmarks for your life. If you want to have a certain amount of money by a certain age, you need to work backwards from your big picture to determine the details of your plan.
Making a Fast Buck
You will probably have friends who will hustle to make a fast buck. Whenever you think about trying to make a fast buck, think about whose food you like eating.
Anytime that I cooked, it was normally not very good because I rushed through recipes and tried to take short cuts. In contrast, when your Mom cooks, she always takes her time, uses the proper ingredients, and it turns out much better.
More often than not, someone who attempts to make a fast buck takes short cuts, doesn’t fully understand the risks, and while sometimes things turn out right, more often than not, there is a disaster afterwards.
For instance, back in the 1990’s, everyone suddenly became day traders. In the 2000’s, everyone became real estate experts by flipping houses. Most failed.
I don’t know what the hot investment will be years from now. However, if a friend says they’re making tons of money using debt as leverage, mark my words, they will probably be poor within five years.
After you graduate college, you will not have the same lifestyle as that of your mom and me. It took your mom and I many years to create the lifestyle that we live today. Don’t expect it immediately, or you will be sorely disappointed. It takes a lot of patience and hard work to attain a comfortable lifestyle. Relax and enjoy the journey there. That’s half the fun.
Goals and Results
I know we live in a results-oriented world. However, while you are growing up, I will emphasize your effort more than the results. This is to instill your work ethic. Yes, in the “real world”, effort and results will matter. Instead of setting you back, I can assure you that you’ll come to realize results often follow hard work and effort.
The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Once you reach some of your goals, chances are you may not be satisfied. Don’t be like me when I was younger. Stop and celebrate your achieved goals. Life is fun. Celebrate any chance that you get. You will always be able to set up another goal.
If you fail at one of your goals, don’t worry. The bar isn’t set high enough if you can reach all of your goals easily. Always stretch out of your comfort zone.
Like I told your brother, you will probably make mistakes with money. Everyone does. Whether it’s buying a home at the wrong time or purchasing the wrong stock, don’t get discouraged. Be patient, but don’t let paralysis by analysis ruin your life.
Remember, the most valuable thing in the world is time, not money. Who cares if you make a million dollars if you aren’t able to spend your time the way you desire? Try to find a job that you’re excited to go to each day. Make sure it allows for a healthy work-life balance. Just remember though, there may be some tradeoffs along the way.
Finally, if you’re still reading this, let me conclude with this thought. Being wise with your finances is one of the most important ways to leave a strong legacy for your children, and even your children’s children. That may seem very long down the road, but even your smallest financial decisions can have a big impact. So, my son, be wise.
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.