1. Finances:
    1. Set aside even more money, earlier on, so you can retire earlier. You’ll be financially safe, even if Social Security isn’t secure when we hit retirement age. We didn’t sacrifice comfort, but we might have been able to retire earlier if we’d done without a few luxuries and put aside an extra $25/week in our twenties.
    2. Get a second job and use it to fund that earlier retirement and affording the musical and photographic toys you enjoy so much. Performing music or taking and selling photographs isn’t a bad idea.
    3. The stock market will crash or slump several times. Stay out of it in 1980-82, 1990-91, 2001, and 2007.
    4. Get out of the rat race by living someplace where you’re in the deep woods. By living in an area so nice that people want to visit that part of the world on vacation. Don’t live somewhere that comes with stress, bad drivers, crime, and neighbors with whom I feel you must compete.  For me it was “Head North, Young Man!”
    5. Loans: 
      1. Never buy a new automobile—the depreciation makes it a bad investment. Buy one that’s two years old, with mileage between 20,000 and 30,000. Buy less than you want, and only what you need, and be done with a car or toy loan in two years or less.
      2. Pay extra and have your home paid for in fifteen years—it works. Don’t question it—just do it. Then put the extra money, after things are paid off, towards retirement and travel.
    6. Stock Market:
      1. Buy deeply into Apple Computer stock in 2000. Sell them in 2017. One dollar will get you $220.
      2. Buy IBM in 1991. Sell in 2010. One dollar gets you $180.
      3. Buy Microsoft in 1989. Sell in 2018. One dollar gets you $120.
  2. Laws:
    1. ALWAYS obey the speed limit. Doing so saves you loads of problems. And probably an accident or two in rural Minnesota or at a McDonald’s restaurant.
    2. Integrity and honesty will serve you well. Never make an exception to this. You’ll always keep your integrity intact and people will have no reason to disrespect you. It’s a nice feeling!
    3. Don’t get into the front passenger seat of any vans without seat-belts and you won’t lose your eyebrows (and you won’t get to enjoy having them sewn back on in the E.R.) after you fly face-first through a windshield in 1975. Novocain needles into the eyeballs—that’s something to avoid by wearing seat belts. Stick with the front passenger van seat-belt advice in 1983 and ‘84, and you won’t have to worry about late-night ice-road accidents. Make it simple and ALWAYS wear a seat belt—or don’t ride in that vehicle.
  3. Find an exercise program wherever you live and be actively faithful to participation. Always!
  4. Forty years (and counting) of a successful marriage is something many people can’t claim, but you’ll be able to when you stay true to the girl you’ll meet in college.
  5. Have your children early. Have them in your twenties instead of in your thirties. They’re inevitable, because “If the Mama ain’t happy, ain’t NOBODY happy.” So get over it. Having them when you’re younger has some important benefits (as well as a few consequences if you happen to be selfish instead of selfless). They’re worth it! Never let ‘em outnumber you! The world has plenty of people, and two kids are enough for you.
  6. Don’t trust printed or online car or truck value estimations or reviews. The companies that make them end up being owned by the same companies that make the cars, and their advice is no longer independent.
  7. Treat everyone the way you like to be treated. That includes NOT saying everything that may come to mind. A great guideline to use before saying or writing anything:

Is it true?

Is it helpful?

Is it inspiring/interesting?

Is it necessary?

Is it kind?

  If you’re saying or writing something and you can’t answer “Yes” to all the above, reconsider your actions. Don’t write or say it. Modify what you’re offering to others, so you CAN answer “yes” to all of the above.

  • That's a perfectly acceptable philosophy for you to follow.  It definitely takes some major life events to achieve a different point of view when one's culture  promotes a thing controversial to other cultures.

    I expanded (in the comments of this thread) on my concept of speed versus safety, planning ahead versus rushing to make up for lack of planning.  My comments to my younger self are only that.  Pure fiction, and directed only at me.  If others choose to agree or disagree, I've sparked a conversation and learned new points of view--I thank you for your response!

    Flying face-first through the windshield of a vehicle traveling too fast was a personal major life event that helped me achieve a different point of view about speed. 

    May you and your friends and family always be safe, and never experience a negative event associated with you or a stranger driving faster than conditions allow.  Blessings upon you and them for safety.

  • One of the challenges in investing more as a youth can involve the feeling of sacrifice or deprivation without an immediate return on the investment.  Yes, today (40+ years later) I'd see the benefit.  But only a month or a year into the investing it was hard to justify--right up to the point where I got a better job and I could afford that investing without cutting into my daily little luxuries that seemed to help  each day be a little sunnier.  If I had to do without them then, and be required to invest the expenditures per the above ideas, I'd be wealthier today.

    But would I be happy enough back then?

  • It's true:  a little sacrifice in one's youth can result in a huge benefit in the future.  The power of compound interest is something that really ought to be taught from a practical "home economics" point of view in middle school or grade school.  It should be mandatory.

  • One thing I totally glossed over, Rick, was your very first statement:

    Set aside even more money, earlier on, so you can retire earlier. You’ll be financially safe, even if Social Security isn’t secure when we hit retirement age. We didn’t sacrifice comfort, but we might have been able to retire earlier if we’d done without a few luxuries and put aside an extra $25/week in our twenties.

    Just doing some quick TVM calculations, if you had put that "extra" $100 per month away, at even a modest 4% RoR, you would now (I'm assuming you are into or close to your sixties, based on dead reckoning ;-) have an ADDITIONAL ~$120,000.  Not too shabby considering that a lot of folks sqaunder that much (or MORE) per month on Fourbucks coffee!  If you wouuld've been able to invest and get 8%, you'd be looking at an addition ~$350,000.  That's a pretty nice travel/leisure fund, I'd say!

    If only the younger generation would take our advice...and there's nobody on this thread that's part of the younger generation, is there? ;-)

  • I believe you are 100% correct when you conclude it's important to have kids with the right person than the wrong one.