If you are like me you probably spent the bulk of your childhood in school. And if you are like me you also probably spent the bulk of your time in school being told that you had to do good in class so that you could “get into a good college” or “get a good job.” From the time we are young, we are ingrained with the “what do you want to be when you grow up” mentality. The funny thing is that by the time we grow up we usually become more and more uncertain about what we want to be. Most of us decide that we don't want to be anything at all or that what we want to be can't support our material needs, so we settle for something that pays the bills. This is obviously not always the case, but it is a huge trend I have noticed in my own generation.
This is the position I found myself in about two years into college. I am a business major at a major college in the United States and after my sophomore year of college, I was no closer to deciding what I wanted to be than I was when I began. After working internships I hated and spending endless hours searching for a job I thought I might like, I finally gave up. And it was only when I gave up on traditional methods that I finally figured out “what I wanted to be.”
I realized that what I wanted in life and who I wanted to be had nothing to do with a specific job or career. What I wanted was to be free. I wanted to be free to pursue the things I wanted in life, be that travel, relationships, health, or simply binge watching Netflix. However, I also realized that all the things I wanted out of my life had one thing in common, they cost money. Therefore my first step on the way to the life I wanted was establishing financial stability.
So again, I was back to the whole “what do you want to be” question. I thought that maybe if I just finished college I could find a nice six-figure job and settle for pursuing my interests on weekends and I would be more or less happy. But then I looked around and realized that this was a fantasy. Most people I knew who had graduated college had followed the traditional path, and I would describe none of them as happy. Most were in serious relationships, living in a one bedroom apartment or townhouse with one pet and had a rather boring but stable job. However, these people were also constantly stressed out, constantly worrying about how to pay their bills or debts, and constantly looking for ways to save money. So I decided this was not the way I wanted to I've my life.
My next question was this “how do I become financially free without chaining myself to a job?” So I looked at the people whose lives resembled the life I wanted to live. I looked at rappers, Instagram models, web developers, and all the young people I knew who I envied. I found that these people all had two things in common:
- None of them were employees.
- All of them owned something.
Out of all the people whose lives I wanted to have none of them were directly employed. They may have been contractors and they may have been being paid by people, but they did not work for anyone. Furthermore, all of these people had ownership in something tangible, be it companies, or their own social media pages.
So I had decided that I wanted to own something, and the easiest way to become an owner is to invest. But now I encountered a new problem, in order to become an owner I had to invest, and binge-watching, I had to have capital (money). It seemed that part-time I had to give up exactly what I was trying to gain. So I got the highest paying part-time job I could find, signed up to be an Uber driver when I wasn't working, and saved every penny I could. I spent my time reading everything I could get my hands on about investing. I read books, articles, and reviews. I even went to a couple seminars which turned out to basically a scam. But the result was that by the time I had saved up enough money to begin investing, I already had a full arsenal of ideas and strategies.
When I quit my job and began my investing experiment, I only had about $1000 and a lot of ideas. As of writing this, I have been investing for about seven or eight months and last month I made a little over $3,500 in profit without working for anyone but myself. If you add it up, that's over 42,000$ a year. This comes from over 20 different investment sources many of which are non-conventional and won't be found in any book. I am continuing my college education and still plan to get my Bachelor's degree, but I am not longer stressed out about classes because I already know what I am going to be doing after graduation.
That brings me to the point of writing this article. I want to help others realize what I realized and I want to help the people of my generation and all the young people who don't want to follow the traditional path. Also, I want to share my knowledge anyone who wants to learn how to invest and I want to help them avoid the mistakes I made (because I did make quite a few). I am not trying to sell anything, I am not a financial guru promising you'll get rich with a few quick steps. I'm simply a college kid who was creative and very lucky and spent the time to figure out how to make my situation work for me and I want to share my knowledge with you. Check out more of my posts for the specific methods and vessels I used to begin my investing career.