Friday, November 24th, 2017
The key to building wealth is to start young. But how many young people actually do it – let alone write about it?
Jahnome McEwan is a 22-year-old York University student who not only saves and invests, but he's also the author of the e-book "50 Rules for 50 Fools: Financial Tips for Young Adults" and a blogger at wealthyfools.com.
Getting Young People to Think Critically
The word "fools" in the title isn't meant as a put down. It's a call to action to admit we all behave foolishly with our money sometimes, and to resolve to change.
"The point of the book is to get young people to think critically about money and how they use it," McEwan says.
McEwan admits to some foolish money thinking and behaviour in his teens. "I was working at different retail places, and making lots of money. But I was spending it on things like expensive watches and eating out."
Developing a Passion
That all changed after he came across an interview with a young boy, whose mother had taught him to trade stocks. When the interviewer asked why he wasn't playing video games, the boy replied that he'd rather own the company that made them.
"I liked where he was going with that and thought that would be something for me," says McEwan. "So I started reading financial books which led me to discover my passion and what I wanted my own future to look like, so I really cut down the spending."
Postpone Instant Gratification
Since discovering his passion for investing, McEwan has become very future oriented. "Over the past year or so, everything I think about is long-term," he says. "It's kind of hard when your friends want to enjoy everything now."
McEwan is determined to stay the course, convinced he'll come out ahead by thinking ahead.
"The majority of my peers are thinking only about now, and I believe that has deterred a lot of them from managing their money well."
On top of that, they're hanging around with like-minded individuals.
"Their friends are just like them, partying and having fun and doing the short-term things, saying they'll give their future some thought after they graduate," says McEwan.
Learn Investing While You're Young
McEwan is all for starting to invest while in university, even if that means making a few mistakes, because you'll learn valuable lessons when the stakes aren't too high.
He also believes young people can learn from the wealthy. "They may have inheritances or networks we can't tap into, but they also have wisdom and knowledge about how to make money work for them, and understanding that can help young people grow financially and personally."
Accepting Personal Responsibility
Living at home with his parents while attending school has helped McEwan avoid graduating with an enormous debt load, but he still has $7,000 in student loans to pay back. He expects to pay his loans off within a year of graduation and to continue building on the savings he already has.
"I'm thinking ahead, but a lot of my friends just accept what is and are not working towards changing and will be paying off student debt until they're 65."
McEwan believes this can be avoided if young adults take more personal responsibility for educating themselves on finances. "We're in the age of information, so there's really no excuse," says McEwan.