Got another juicy email from a reader and thought you’d enjoy the Q&A :)
What would you tell this guy if you could?*
(*you can – just leave your thoughts in the comments below! ;))
Hello… My name is Jonathan (stalk my Facebook if you like) and I need to get my life together.
I have recently turned 17, reside in the UK and have only just stumbled upon your website. I have just touched upon the surface of your content and am already interested as to how I can better myself. I have just completed my first year of sixth form (similar to college) and am not continuing on next year with my studies (I’m the first person in my family to academically even get that far at this age, my mother is the only person in my family who went to university at around 32ish and now is a primary school teacher).
I live at home and its highhhhhly likely I’m going to get kicked out soon. I do not have any university savings and to my name have around 850£ of which is not currently accessible. I have opted for an apprenticeship and am currently awaiting a reply from them where I want to pursue the boring 9-5 (it’s actually pretty nice there and I could gladly spend the next 50years of my life there). I do want a weekend job to go along with the Monday to Friday gig and am currently looking for a side hustle (I have a few cheap ass watches which I’m going to try and move for a profit of 50ish£ if I can) but with an office based apprenticeship and career the money is really bad.
I guess I’m looking for a few questions to be answered and any advice would send me literally over the moon. I’m essentially a hustler with barely any shame, have a really strong work ethic, and all the youthful drive in the world… If Dominos wanted me to have the special deal sign on and dance in the street I’m down. I should also mention I have not previously been employed and come from a very working class dysfunctional family.
- Number 1: in my position what would you do?
- Number 2: what are your biggest mistakes so I can learn from them without going through the same?
- Number 3: do you have any major regrets?
- Number 4: could you provide me with a dummy dummy guide to money?
- Number 5: if I do get an apprenticeship earning around 11,000£ a year, what the f*ck should I do with that money (currently my urge is to put most of it into my body as tattoos)
- Number 6: what is your biggest accomplishment and why?
- Number 7: should I say f*ck it and hold a petrol station clerk at gunpoint and risk it for an uncertain amount of money with a 98% chance of a long prison sentence?
These are all genuine questions, if you could help even just a little it would truly mean a lot.
– Jonathan, the 17 year old looking to get his life on track
Here’s what I shot him back:
Can’t say I saw that email coming :)
Good for you for wanting to do something about your situation and taking action – always a smart thing to do, no less at your age!
Answers to your questions —
Number 1: in my position what would you do?
I would hustle every angle you can until you find your rhythm. Doesn’t matter if it’s the apprenticeship, or weekend work, or any other project/company you end up at. What matters is that you’re putting yourself out there and being open for all opportunities that come your way. Some will be amazing and others will suck ass. But you’ll get farther than anyone else if you keep going after things until you know whether it makes you happy or not (or pays the bills). I’d do my best to chase what *excites* you btw vs the money… Usually if you can find something you enjoy AND are great at, the $$$ will come.
Number 2: what are your biggest mistakes so I can learn from them without going through the same?
If only it were that easy :) You just gotta keep trying things and seeing what sticks… I will say that waking up early every morning has done me much more good than harm, and also not buying crap just cuz it’s cool or gives me temporary pleasure. Remember that the less $ you need to live off, the less you need to make! Which means you can be ‘free’ for a looong time once you learn to live on less… Lastly, don’t chase the get rich quick stuff – they never work out and complete waste of time. You will get lucky with stuff here and there, but most things come with hustle and passion. Do your best to take your time and do things “right.”
Number 3: do you have any major regrets?
Not that many, no. I only wish I opened up my eyes earlier and realized how much control we had in our lives – and that you don’t have to follow what everyone else is doing if you don’t want. I waited way too long (my mid-20s) to try and figure it out. So that fact you’re 17 and thinking of this stuff is great! You’ll go much farther than I did at your age.
Number 4: could you provide me with a dummy dummy guide to money?
Sure – spend less than you make and save the difference :) That’s all there is to it. Just gotta widen that gap by making more and spending less. Then it’s a matter of doing it over and over again and letting time work its magic. None of this is hard in theory, you just have to actually DO IT.
Number 5: if I do get an apprenticeship earning around 11,000£ a year, what the f*ck should I do with that money (currently my urge is to put most of it into my body as tattoos)
Allocate a portion of it for fun stuff like that, and then bank every other dollar that comes in. The more you have saved/invested the more freedom you have to do as you please!! But you can’t get hardcore in either direction – if you save too much you’ll go crazy, and if you spend it all you’ll always be someone’s bitch. Gotta find that happy medium.
Number 6: what is your biggest accomplishment and why?
Besides having kids, starting – and sticking to – my finance blog, budgetsaresexy.com. It’s been the biggest game change for me in terms of life and career and lifestyle, and totally opened up the doors to incredible opportunities. I had no idea you could do this stuff for a living and was totally accidental. But again – when you put yourself out there and try all different kinds of stuff, you eventually land on something great and can then run with it. It’s taken me over 30 jobs to find this one!
Number 7: should I say f*ck it and hold a petrol station clerk at gunpoint and risk it for an uncertain amount of money with a 98% chance of a long prison sentence?
No, never (I hope you’re kidding). There is nothing better than freedom no matter how crappy your life is. Don’t chase the money and get-rich-quick stuff – focus on living a great and productive life! Go out and learn stuff and try changing the world for the better – there’s enough nonsense in this world. None of it’s about the money – it’s about finding your happiness.
I know you won’t listen to all of this stuff and may think it’s garbage (I probably would have at 17!), but just remember you’re always in control and can change your life for the better or worse. No one will care about yourself as much as you do, nor will they be affected as much by your actions as you will. So own them all and just do your best. You’ll fail and you’ll win, but just keep on going. I’m double your age and still learning something new every day!
Reading this back I kinda wish I addressed the whole college thing and asked him why he’s not coming back (or why he’s about to be kicked out of his house, for that matter?) but seeing how we come from such different backgrounds anyways I suppose it wouldn’t have helped much… Regardless, I give this guy major credit for reaching out and searching for answers, and even more impressively at 17! I wasn’t nearly as confident/honest with myself at that age. And his rawness, wow.
If you’d like to share any of your own thoughts, or even answer these 7 questions yourself, please do so below as I’m sure he’d love to see them :)
Maybe you were in a similar position yourself at that age, or you currently are now and have found some things that have been successful? What would you wish you had known at 17?
Just another reminder that everyone’s working out some sort of problem… We’re never alone in that!
PS: The above photo is not of Jonathan. Just a pic of what a 17 y/o looks like to me :) Though interestingly enough it was shot in the UK!