Finances are your future


Joe Overway

Jr. Colin Stegenga showing off his large amount of money.

Joe Overway

Don’t struggle with your finances. Money is one of the leading causes of divorce, depression and anxiety and makes people struggle with the daily tasks of life. Don’t be a part of the statistics. Stop wasting your money on fast food and Starbucks and start looking towards your future. 

   A recent poll said that 54% of Americans believe that the next generation will have a worse standard of living compared to their parents. However, this is controversial and I believe that 54% of Americans are wrong. There has never been a better time for our generation to make money. The amount of opportunity and the many ways to make money in today’s society is unbelievably vast. From as simple as becoming a plumber and making close to six figures, to as complicated as becoming a stock market broker making hundreds of thousands a year. These jobs aren’t hard to learn, taking only a few years to become proficient Yet, people in their 20’s and above still struggle with finding ways to earn money. 

 Your hobbies are about to be your next job. Work is only work if you hate it; when you find something you love your job doesn’t feel like a job and almost any hobby can be turned into a way to make money. A weight lifter can become a personal trainer or own their own gym. Someone that enjoys baking and cooking can become a chef or a baker. If you end up enjoying a coding class in high school then computer science could be the next step for a career. There are endless possibilities of unique careers for our generation. Turn what you love into something that can make you a living. 

   High school can be one of the most dreaded parts of our day. Yet, there is so much opportunity inside of high school to learn about money, and some of you are wasting your time. There are personal finance courses that teach you how to make a budget, how to bank and how to do your taxes. There is even an advanced personal finance course at West Ottawa that goes even deeper into learning how to manage your money. The way most people lose their money is they don’t know good money management. Don’t waste your hard earned money, put some extra money in a savings account and an emergency fund, so when something unfortunate happens you’re ready.   

   The stock market can be an intimidating concept, and that fear can leave people to stray away from the possibilities of investing, so let me simplify investing for you. A Roth IRA is a retirement account that can be opened by anyone 18 or older. If you put $500 every month into a Roth IRA, by the time you are 65 you’ll have upwards of $2 million that comes out untaxed. The sooner you start, the more money you make, the more money that is put in the account, the more that money grows. That’s due to its high percentage return rate and exponential growth. 

   If you haven’t heard about Roth IRA’s, that’s because the government doesn’t want you to know. The government needs you to work. They try to work you as long as humanly possible, but with an IRA account you can retire earlier and have your finances beyond covered. The government needs people to work the grueling jobs, so don’t get stuck in the 9-5 mindset. Invest your money, let it work for you. 

   Like any good argument there is a counterargument. What about the cost of living? Well, what about it? The cost of housing, especially here in Holland, has been reaching new highs. That can be detrimental, but for myself I see opportunity. High house costs now increase the pay for realtors. This also increases the income for people that own and rent out houses. Get into the retail market. You can buy a house or a condo, rent out part of the house or part of the condo and make money back on the house that you bought. Which can help you pay for the house or even make a profit every month, and after that house is paid off you now have a constant flow of cash and you rarely have to check in. This is called passive income and is one of the best ways to increase your standard of living. 

   Your parents and your teachers will tell you that you need a job that pays you $60, $70, $80 thousand or more. They are misinformed.. You don’t need a single job that makes you that much. What you need is multiple sources of income. Financial advisers and economists will tell you that you need around five sources of income. A day to day job, investments, passive income of a sort, dividends, royalties, and property income can all be ways for you to make money. Never believe that there is only one way to earn money. 

   The standard of living in the new generation will be better than that of our parents. Now, with the wise words of the Great Walmart. Save money, live better, Walmart.