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Altra's Advice for Graduating Seniors

Welcome to the stage of your life we call being an adult.  

Here's some financial advice for high school students. What does that exactly mean?

Being an adult. It means making your own decisions and taking responsibility for the consequences of those decisions. Chances are good you have more time to invest than money right now. And how you invest your time - and your money - in these early adult years is going to have an impact on the next 50 or 60 or 70 years. 

I can’t tell you what the right choices for you are because I am not you. But I can urge you to make conscious decisions about how you invest your resources.

I can also tell you that when you look back on your life, it will be moments and the people you shared them with – not things – you remember.  The songs you sang in the car on a road trip with friends...  Doing the thing you didn’t think you could do and conquering a fear...  Seeing the Grand Canyon or the Eiffel Tower or the Pyramids for the first time... Serving dinner at  a homeless shelter and sitting down to hold someone’s hand while you listen to their story… Your son’s first steps…  That quiet evening on the front porch with your grandma that you didn’t know would be the last time… 

Creating a life with the freedom to have those moments requires thoughtful investment. As you move through life, don’t ever stop asking yourself if you’re spending your time and money on things that are truly important to you or to someone else’s idea of success.  When you take on debt, remind yourself you are giving up tomorrow’s time and money. Ask yourself whether what you’re getting now is worth what you’re giving up for it. Weigh the little things against the big things…  would you rather have a couple of hundred lattes or a trip to Paris?  

That’s all I’m asking. Think. Have goals. Have dreams. Make conscious choices. Learn to invest your time and money in the things that will mean the most to you. Create a life you’re going to love looking back on some day.

 

”This speech was written as part of our submission to NerdWallet's Gen Y Credit Union Contest."