If you are under 18, it is going to be extremely hard for you to find outlets to invest financially. Age restrictions in place for trading stocks, buying real estate, and peer-to-peer lending makes it so that you must await your 18th birthday until you can invest financially in the way you may want.
Even with this, there are still ways you can invest as a youth. In today’s world, information is readily available at the click of a button, making it easy for anyone, no matter your age, to learn the basic principles of investing or other skills that can benefit you in the future. The more you invest in yourself when you are young, whether it be in your knowledge or career, the more likely you will be to succeed in financial investing as you grow older. This investing in yourself will likely pay significant compounding benefits over time.
The more you learn, the more you earn
– Warren Buffet
Simply put, knowledge is power. Those who continue to learn and grow their knowledge over time are better prepared for unforeseen changes in the world and their career. Knowledge is also the key to investing in financial instruments like stocks and peer-to-peer lending. So, the earlier you begin to learn, the better off you will be in the future.
The traditional route of learning is via a university education. While the debate rages on as to whether education is better than early employment opportunities like apprenticeships, there really is no comparison. Every major study has concluded that those with a university education have a higher likelihood of making more money over their careers than those who forego such education.
For those who don’t have the money to attend university, there are a variety of other ways to increase knowledge and learning, and many of these come without any cost at all. The internet is filled with places to gain knowledge on every subject from investing to coding. Outlets such as Udemy, Codeacademy, and even YouTube videos, provide easy and free ways to learn a variety of topics and skills.
While it may take years, or even decades, to make a significant salary working, the earlier you start, the better off you will be. Work opportunities such as shadowing a mentor or obtaining a part-time job are a great place to start. These will not only provide you with a foundation of skills and knowledge for the start of your career, but they will also give you an idea of the work you want to do (or absolutely don’t want to do) in your career.
The earlier you start your working career, the better. You will start to earn money and might even be able to retire earlier than most of your peers. Also, working at a young age will put you further ahead of your peers in knowledge and skills. By the time you are in your early 20’s, you will have years of experience that your peers will lack, making you a better candidate for employment opportunities in the future.
Sometimes it’s not about what you know, but who you know. Therefore, networking can be an invaluable tool to put you in a position for success.
Don’t be afraid that people will not want to speak with you because you are young. Often times it can be easy to network if you are willing to listen and be interested in what someone else has to offer. Also, those who have benefited from networking themselves are generally more willing to help others in networking as well. It’s an almost, pay-it-forward model, in which people want to help each other achieve their goals.
You can start to evaluate your network slowly, looking at your friends and classmates. After you have attempted to network with people you already know, you can start to attend events or public forums in the areas which interest you the most. These are places where you will find like-minded people interested in growing in similar ways as yourself. You can also use internet networking platforms such as LinkedIn, to grow your network virtually.
Networking is more of a long-term investment. Its benefits may not be seen immediately, but you never know how many years later a networking opportunity will help you land a job, meet the right person, or use a piece of advice to advance your career.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison
In the digital age, it seems that people are more interested in putting on the appearance of a perfect life than trying and failing at new things. This is because failure is often mistakenly associated with being unsuccessful.
From the outside, it appears that successful businesses and individuals have it all figured out from day one. But the reality is that these successes were only created because of the myriad of failures that preceded them. There is no reward without the associated risk to get there. Take Moonshot X at Google, a division where employees are told to fail early and often. By doing so, they are able to learn quickly from their mistakes and pivot to ideas that can provide revolutionary changes in the world.
This failure principal doesn’t just go for businesses, but personal success and failure. By pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and doing new things you will expand your horizons in a way that may spark a new interest, skill, or simply get you to think and operate in a new way. So do yourself a favor and start finding ways to fail. It will put you on the path to success sooner than you think.
Read, read, read
Reading is the easiest way to get into the mind of scholars, changemakers, and innovators. By reading, you can learn how Steve Jobs made Apple the company it is today, or how Barack Obama dealt with the presidency of the United States. Soaking in the information you gather from reading can spark new ideas and perspectives you may have never thought of before.
Lucky for you, today it is so much easier to get your hands on any book or piece of reading material you want. E-readers mean you can have thousands of books in the palm of your hands at all times, and it only takes a matter of minutes to purchase and download a new book to consume. Audio books are another way to consume new material while on-the-go, and are better for audio learners who can retain information more easily in this format.
There is always more you can do
Just because you are a young person who is restricted from traditional financial investing doesn’t mean you can’t start investing in yourself today. If doing all of the things above seem intimidating, pick one and stick with it. You might be surprised to see how failing more often or reading will push you further in your life goals.
And don’t worry, once you turn 18 you will have plenty of opportunities to put your new skills and knowledge to the test and invest your money. In all likelihood, what you have learned will make you that much more of a successful investor.