Things I Wish I knew when I was 16

Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds via Compfight cc

When I turned 16 I didn’t have a huge party and nothing really happened. I’ve heard of crazy parties as big as weddings (or bigger) when people turn 16. Nothing like that for me! It was pretty uneventful and I really don’t remember too much from it actually. All that talk about sweet sixteen and for me it was just like another day.

By sixteen I had already been working a part-time job for half a year. I had also started to learn how to drive and eventually that same year I got my driver’s license. Big milestones for a teenager! I really don’t recall exactly what I spent that money on. My parents paid for all the essentials so it was probably most likely spending it on clothes, gifts for friends and family, eating out, and random drinks I didn’t need to buy. I put some of the money I earned into a savings account but it certainly disappeared very fast! There’s so many things I wish I had known back then.

Retirement is all up to me
Pensions and social security have gone the way of the dinosaurs but they don’t tell you that when you’re young. I didn’t learn about roth ira’s until a few years after I started working too. Wish I had known about them to start my retirement savings earlier! I doubt my sixteen year old self would have done too much about it but who knows what I would’ve done if I had at least known about it.

The only person I can count on for retirement is myself. Even now my grandparents are barely living off social security. Through the years the payments have gotten less actually. They’ll never go hungry because of their family, but it’s certainly a wake up call knowing someone who actually gets social security and how little the amount is.

Compound interest
This isn’t a concept that they teach in school. Actually there was no such thing as a personal finance class at all! Wish that there was! Would’ve learned a lot about how to handle money. I knew about interest that you could earn on savings, but I didn’t know about the concept of compound interest. Perhaps if I did it would’ve helped me start a retirement account. Technically I could have started a Roth IRA earlier than sixteen depending on my money earning situation, but definitely at 15 and a half.

Don’t spend it all on random items
Ooh how I frivolously spent money once I had money! I saved up for larger items every now and then, but when you have disposable income and your parents pay for everything necessary you end up spending it on random things. All things I don’t need at all and wish I had saved the money instead. Funny how things I bought back then seemed so important and now I wish I had just kept the money.

It’s admittedly been quite a few years since I was sixteen years old! It’s always fun and interesting to think back and wonder if I would’ve done anything differently if I had known more. I’m not going to going to mull over it but hey I can wonder right?

What are some things you wish you had known when you were sixteen?

2 thoughts on “Things I Wish I knew when I was 16

  1. I really wish someone had shown me one of those compound interest charts and how big your retirement fund would be if you contribute X amount of dollars a year starting at 16. I had no clue about any of that and really think that if I’d seen those things then, I would’ve done them.

    Sigh. Silly 16 year old Mel, the easy road to retirement would’ve been such a better investment than all those trips to Rita’s.
    Mel @ brokeGIRLrich recently posted…My Dear Debt Letter at Dear DebtMy Profile

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