David Bach, the author of The Automatic Millionaire and The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner (the latter of which I reviewed earlier this year), also writes a column on Yahoo Finance. Recently he presented five tips for college graduates just beginning their path to financial security. (This ties in nicely with Friday’s thoughts about graduates aiming for the highest-paying first job possible.)
Here are the first two of Bach’s five tips for graduates:
Choose your life. The matter of choice was one that I first learned from one of my first post-college bosses. (For those following my post-college story, he was the one at the non-profit organization.) While he was an ass, he was also motivational and philosophical. He maintained that everything in a person’s life is a choice, and we must take responsibility for everything. Feelings are choices. Reactions to other individuals are choices. Waking up on time is a choice. Getting in an accident with another motor vehicle is a choice.
While I don’t agree with his complete dismissal of the possibility of external events being out of an individual’s control, I did start thinking more about the choices I make. Bach is making a similar statement:
Choose your career (or more likely, careers). Choose where you live and with whom you surround yourself. Choose with whom you fall in love — and with whom you don’t. Choose how you take care of your health. Choose your spiritual life. Choose how and how much you give back to society by helping others.
Follow your plan. Here’s what Bach says:
I’ve got news for you: The “what am I going to do with my life” question that may loom so large for you now never really goes away. You’ll ask yourself the same thing at 30, 40, 50, 60, and so on. So get used to it — and don’t blindly follow the expectations of your parents, professors, or mentors. Their beliefs are based on their life experience, not yours. They don’t control your destiny, you do. Live your plan, and follow your spiritual purpose, not someone else’s.
Here are my thoughts: I completely agree. At 30, I do still wonder what I will do with my life. The good news is that I allow myself to keep my eyes and my mind open to new opportunities and new ideas. At one point in my life I was sure I wanted to be a music teacher. I still love teaching music, but I made this decision at a time when I probably didn’t have the maturity to really know what I would want to do when I would be living on my own and interacting with Board of Education, parents’ organizations, and the numerous obstacles that get in the way of providing a decent education in a public school system.
Updated May 31, 2006 and originally published May 30, 2006.