Written by Paul Laemmle
One of the most irritating things for me as a student was hearing how old people would dish out life lessons to young people without really understanding the situation. How the tables have turned. With a 21-year-old daughter at university, I now find myself biting my tongue to try and stop making the same irritating mistake 30 years on.
However, despite the wisdom of our now young people, there are still a few lessons to be learned that can be passed on without getting the lame old-timer label. They are:
- Health and friendship are valuable assets. Great friendships develop while studying and can last a lifetime. My friends and I were always active, competing and challenging each other constantly. We lived by a rule that one must earn the right to enjoy wine and song. Not only does this attitude create wonderful experiences and memories but it also means we get to stay fit and healthy, and enjoy each other’s company for years to come. Exercise with friends and stay fit – always.
- Investing beats saving. While studying I was surrounded by people studying finance, some of whom had an appetite for risk. Student loans were used for entrepreneurial ventures and investment clubs sprang up. With the right advice, small investments quickly become portfolios. I didn’t get involved in these activities and soon found myself way behind financially. Most of their investments were successful over time. Saving is a great discipline but investing compounds the effect dramatically.
- Volunteering leads to opportunities. Young people are often busy and not always as well off as they’d like to be, which means that the spirit of volunteerism is not always front of mind. I felt exactly the same when I was young but I was pushed into volunteering when I couldn’t find a holiday job. The contacts I made led to opportunities in exciting industries. The work done helping others built a sense of responsibility and the skills gained are transferable across many different professions. Doing stuff for free is not the easiest when you are broke, but it does become an investment in your career.