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.

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