I first came to the United States as a student, almost 28 years ago. I distinctly remember carrying $6000 in my back pocket … that was enough to cover my University bills for a semester and then the future was unknown from there. About 7 years of of a broke student’s existence, I was ready to enter the job market and my wife also joined me then. Every little step was an accomplishment. Renting my own apartment, buying a first car, seeing a real work paycheck and realizing that it was possible to actually have more money than is needed to spend. We slowly paid off our debt, had kids, bought a house and the family setup was complete.
Looking back though, I was really illiterate regarding money and financial planning. A helpful colleague pointed me towards the pension plan and signing up for a 401k. I had no concept of a budget, or planning financially for the long term and leveraging compounding. I wish I were smarter .. but at the same time we were blissful in our ignorance.
After a 20 year career, my son is getting ready to go to college. It gives an opportunity to reflect on how his context and starting point will be different from mine, and how I can best help him. More broadly, how will the next generation be better than the one that I represented. This series will try to collect my thoughts on this topic: