- Position yourself as a “corporation of one.” It can be far more valuable and satisfying than simply getting a job.
- Credit cards and debt are not necessarily bad. You want to establish good credit now and show you can manage debt responsibly.
- Owning a home is not the American dream if it doesn’t give you the freedom to move around easily. Don’t overlook renting.
My mentor told me that when he was growing up, his grandmother really wanted him to work for the railroad. She wanted him to put his 40 years in, get a gold watch and then retire. Of course, the single-employer career path is pretty much a myth these days, and I’m glad my mentor ignored his grandma’s advice and became an entrepreneur. Today, it’s all about what you do, where you do it and how you do it. Don’t buy into common myths like these below:
What you do.
Myth #1: Get a job. No! Instead, become a corporation of one. Today’s careers are much more fluid than they were for previous generations. You need to build unique skill sets based on what you really love to do—skills that you can take with you from job to job throughout your working life. On top of job skills, however, you need money skills such as cash management and tax planning. A solid understanding of these lifelong money skills will help you have the freedom to make a living doing what you love to do, wherever you want to do it.
Where you live.
Myth #2: Buy a house. Isn’t that the American dream? Not necessarily. Renting gives you the flexibility to move geographically as opportunities arise—and it frees up cash flow. That’s important if you’re a corporation of one. If you’re going to buy a house, make sure you’ll be there at least five years so you can get your value out of the property.
How you do it.
Myth #3: Don’t get credit cards or incur debt. Wrong! You want to establish credit and show that you can manage debt responsibly. I’m not advising you to rush out and get a card with a $30,000 limit. Maybe start with a limit of $1,000 or $2,000, pay off your balance every month and establish a good credit history.
The American dream is freedom; it’s not necessarily owning a home or working for a big corporation. Part of that dream is having the freedom to borrow responsibly to gain the financial leverage you need to do things you otherwise wouldn’t have the cash on hand to do. As Archimedes, the ancient Greek mathematician, famously said, “Give me a lever long enough, and a fulcrum upon which to place it, and I shall move the world.” In future posts, I’ll give real, concrete steps for making smart decisions about your money as you move through life.
Until next time, enjoy. Gary