Start early

Everything you learn, every cent you earn and save, and every dollar invested has the greatest value when you start early. Those who become financially independent early are the ones who start earning when still in school, save hard in the first few years of full-time working, and invest early.

Those who do well academically are often the ones who have covered the syllabus one year or more ahead of their peers. Successful managers are the ones who learn earliest to manage people and projects. Thrifty people did not become thrifty overnight but developed the habit slowly and deeply over many years.

Time is a powerful builder of wealth because of compounding. A thousand dollars invested 10 years ago becomes $2,773 now but in the same sum invested 50 years ago becomes more than a quarter million dollars.

It is most important to start earning early. Most people begin earning only after they finish formal studies. It is better to start earning before then.

If possible, start earning even when in school. There are many part-time jobs or businesses that a child can do. Well-known examples include: delivering newspapers, the lemonade stand, gardening, house cleaning, and giving tuition. One enterprising boy sold worms that he collected at no cost. I learned sailing from a high school boy who taught on weekends.

It is common practice in many countries for university students to work part-time. Examples: As supermarket checkout clerks, sales assistants, waiters, and tutors.

Look for other high pay-off opportunities using skills and knowledge you already have. Example: one of my colleagues earned more than A$200,000 from a TV knowledge quiz when still studying in university.

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