Advice to my teenage self

By Rachel Waterhouse, CEO, Australian Shareholders’ Association
12 August 2022

In June we ran a survey of our members, asking them to share the advice they would offer their teenage selves. A number of people from their 40s to 70s shared their reflections, and we thank them for their perspectives. The advice ranged from investing early and learning patience, to getting rid of the headphones, putting down their phones, and joining the human race!  Thanks to all our members who contributed.

If I could wind back the clock and be a teenager again, I would learn…

Commerce – how businesses manage their budget and increase the value of their business. The art and science of investing – how to best invest my money.

Start investing early and let compounding do the work for you. Compounding is the eighth wonder of the world.

More about value investing, being patient, and following my investment plan. Enjoying myself while my investments perform over the long term.

How to make my savings grow – because inflation will eat them if it is left in a bank account.

How to save and invest. Because you need knowledge and awareness to manage the huge cash flow that comes your way thru a lifetime – otherwise it will be frittered away.

Listen to older experienced investors.

The power of compounding. Most people have heard of it but very few young people understand it and why starting early is so important. If you can start saving just $100 a week in your twenties and put it into a low-cost index fund, it’s very likely you’ll be a multi-millionaire by the time you retire…

Bought my 1st shares at age 18, Beach Petroleum. Just wanted to share that. Also purchased my own house at 18.  Don’t think I could do anything better than that.

To spend less than you earn. With the savings, learn to invest. Of course, invest in yourself, read.  Life is school of continual learning.

I think all teenagers today should…

Be encouraged to save and invest with the aim of becoming financially independent as young as possible. Be discouraged from using Buy Now Pay Later schemes.

Learn the importance of starting to save and invest early to maximise the time to accumulate wealth for a good retirement.

Spend less than they earn. Invest the difference. Rely on compound interest to increase the portfolio value over the long term. Keep educated and enjoy themselves.

Save 10% of their income /allowance; don’t smoke (or: stop smoking); learn to be kind; and take an interest in the elderly, instead of treating them as boring irrelevances. Get those headphones off their ears, and their noses away from the mobile phone!! Join the human race!

Be taught at school how to conduct businesses and how to invest. Economics is taught but only to a minority.

Learn to start saving and more importantly have a goal. When that is reached set another one.

Read or listen to the Barefoot Investor book and check out the compound interest calculator on the website.

Take an interest in shares and manage your finances carefully. Seek good advice, save a little and spend wisely. Try not to waste. Follow your dreams.

Should gain a base knowledge of financial literacy. Should travel to a developing country to understand how lucky they are. Take the challenge.

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