I have less than a month left of being 30. Before I was pushed down the old man hill by time, I decided to put positive energy into the atmosphere instead of dwelling on the fact that I’m officially “old old.” So, I reached out to 30 people that I consider mentors, family members, and knowledgeable people and gave them the opportunity to step into their youth again. I presented them with a simple question; what would you start doing or continue to do if you were 30 again? The usually first response was, “Oh oh, man a lot!!!” – in their Kevin Hart voice. Some people said the same points, while others added new perspectives to the list. But my ultimate goal in putting positive energy into the atmosphere is passing these points to you with my interpretation of how to you can accomplish what our elders wish they could have. So here we go!
1. Exercise routine
To start the list off, we want to focus on you and your body. As we go down the path of being “old old.” It’s very important to take care of your body for the long run. It’s a no brainer that exercising regularly will help with your health and stress levels. The ability to get in three to four, 30 to 60-minute workouts a week will go a long way for your health and family photos.
2. Continued Education
For a lot of people undergraduate school was enough. Shoot…for some high school was enough schooling, but to be the best at being you, you have to continue to grow. One of my favorite quotes about development is, “If you are not growing each day, you are sinking each day.” Basically, if you are not applying your mind, you are losing out on the potential power of your mind. Education does not have to be tied to school only, but just applying yourself and mind to learning something new that can help you in your job or social life. Plus, having a master’s degree will take you more places than a high school diploma.
As you can see a trend from the first couple points, really wanted to focus on you first before we start with the “adulting” points. Vacation is one of those things that if you do it you do it, and if you don’t you don’t; but vacationing can be more of a stress reliever than exercising routinely. Vacationing allows you to see the world outside of your day to day and gain new perspective and appreciation for things you might disregard. Also allowing yourself to step away from day to day, and recharge will go a long way in boosting your energy and positive thinking.
4. Start 401k Contributions
Now here comes the “adulting” points. A lot of us have grown up in the culture of get it blow it and do it again. But reality is, one day you will be old and will have to cover bills and might not have the health to work to pay those bills. This is where your 401k comes into play. Yes, it may seem like the 401k is an insurance policy for if you make it to retirement, but I can honestly say from people I know who are over the age of 50-55, those who have it are in a way better place mentally than those who don’t. Also, at the end of the day, it’s all about building wealth, and the true way to build wealth is over time and through generations. So if you are unfortunate and do not live to see retirement, you will be passing that money to your kids or ancestors to give them the head start at wealth that you didn’t have. At a minimum, you should contribute the matching value of your employer. Who doesn’t love free money?
5. Savings Account with 3-6 months of bills
Again, this is totally opposite of the culture we live in, but honestly the rappers who are not broke probably have a year of savings in cash available investments. You will not see the benefit of having all this money in the bank doing nothing, until life happens, and you need money. Remember it’s always better to borrow money from yourself than to borrow it from family, friends, or event the bank. Plus, having this nest egg is another step at helping yourself be less stressed.
6. Kid’s College Fund
If you are fortunate enough to not have kids yet, skip to 7. But for those with kids as myself, let’s start giving them the head start that we didn’t have. Think about how stressed Sallie Mae makes you feel every month after you finished school. Do you really want your kids to feel the same thing?
7. Max out 401k Contributions
Early we said start your 401k contributions, but now that you have a good savings account and started your kid’s future; why not avoid Uncle Sam by any means possible. Most 401k contributions are tax deferred and help lower your total income for the year. That means a higher tax refund check!
8. Stop using credit
This point is straightforward. If it’s not a house, business, or offering 0%, you should pay cash for it. Using credit to buy cars, furniture, and other things actually takes more money from your pocket. Most of the items are not necessities and spending additional money on them only harms you in the long run.
9. Negotiate everything
While buying those items that you usually use credit for, try negotiating the sales price. You will be surprised what you find out. I was shocked when I heard the story of how furniture companies add additional pricing to items before offering their 0% financing. You can literally walk in the store ask for the cash price and save money!
10. Start your own business
Now before you go and quit your job, our elders who said this were not necessarily talking about full time. Now if you are tired of working for the “man”, sure do what’s best for you, but overall the gist is having something that you control and can see the direct benefits of time to money. The more time and effort you put into your business the more return of your investment you shall see. Unlike your job where you have no control on the outcome of your pay sometimes, with your own business you have total control on how much effort you put in can result in more rewards. Last thing; make sure the business is a passion and not a get rich scheme, because you might end up in debt higher than the money you have in your savings and 401k.
11. Start buying stocks
Starting a business might not be everyone’s passion but having a part of someone else’s business might be. Plus, we all spend our money on these companies anyway, why not own a piece of the company you are constantly spending your money. I’m talking about owning a piece of Amazon, Nike, and countless other companies. Owning a piece of the company is not even the main focus, but the money you invest making more money for you is. Who wouldn’t want to make more money, but simply loaning these companies money to pay you back with interest if you invest correctly?
12. Investing in real estate
So now we have talked about having your own business and buying stocks, but those still might not be your forte or passion. But maybe making money by simply buying houses and renting them out might be. Another awesome way to build wealth is buy investing in things that return on your investment, and with inflation strategic investment in real estate will definitely give you return on investment.
13. Keep family first
The last point is definitely self-explanatory. We are constantly thinking of how to better ourselves all the time, but it’s hard to find someone complaining about not putting his or her family above themselves. Our kids are our true legacy left on this earth and providing them with everything that we did not have will make the generation better and instilling the same values in them will make sure every generation behind you will exceed the things you have done on this earth.
Article written by Will Thomas
Podcast recorded in Black Legacy Studios