Good luck Buckaroos
By Tim Linscott
Graduation season is upon us and I try to annually give a message to young adults heading out into the world.
For all the graduates heading into the world I tell you this: you may think you know everything, but trust me, you do not.
I remember when I was 18 (at my age that really looks like I am an old fuddy-duddy writing that statement) I thought I had all the answers.
My father and I talked just before my high school graduation about the future and all of the things I would be dealing with as the big day approached.
I thought, “What does he know?” figuring he didn’t have a clue of what I was going through in the modern day and age and he was too far detached to have a true understanding of ‘kids today.’
As I got older and found out more about my father and his life, I began to realize his situation was a lot worse than mine would ever be and it was because of his situation that I really had nothing to complain about at 18.
He made sure we had it better than he did and that is a goal for all parents. He worked hard, went to college after the military and wanted to get good grades to get a good job to take care of his family he would someday have when he married.
I began to really see this big picture when I met my wife. We dated over three years before getting engaged and during this time I began to see why I should have worked harder in high school and college and built up my financial situation a lot sooner. I needed to get a good paying job to support the young lady I wanted to marry. I wanted to be able to support our children if we had any and I wanted to some day be a grumpy old man telling his kids about ‘when I was your age.’
Pushing 40 and looking back at community leaders I knew as a youth, I have a bit more respect for them as they looked to the future and did not let hasty decisions ruin their future.
That being written, there is something about the impetuousness of youth. I made a few stupid decisions in my youth, nothing that would forever ruin my life, but it was just being a dumb kid. I did not have a good fashion sense. I dated a few girls and I am sure we both cringe when thinking back on the situation.
Be mindful of your choices but, most of all, learn from them.
Use the knowledge you gain in these years to not repeat mistakes as you get older and think of consequences as an adult. That Justin Bieber portrait tattoo may look awesome today, but how many people will know who he is in 25 years. Heck, who will know him in three months?
I met a young professional and his wife a few years back. Very nice couple, you would even call them ‘Yuppies’ (young, urban professionals). They were wonderful kids and I noticed the husband had an Insane Clown Posse (ICP) tattoo on his calf. ICP was a group of gangster rapping clowns back in the late 90s, early 2000s.
Embarrassed, the young man said, ‘Stupid college years.’
Think before you ink.
A very good piece of advice given to me at the age of 18 was, “Put 10 percent of your earnings away now.” In my late teens and early to mid-20s I attempted that, but not making a whole lot, it is hard to not live hand-to-mouth. After I married, we saved as much as we could, but 10 percent was tough.
Save as much as you can, take a set amount each year (say $2,000) and set it aside in an IRA or savings account. If you can drop chunks of it in quickly and reach your goal, you have the rest of the year to not worry about putting it somewhere safe. Even if you have a penny jar or sock filled with cash under your bed, save some money.
Incidentally, my father used to have a sock filled with cash under his bed as a young, single man in case he ‘had to get out of town quick.’
This stems from when he fought professionally and went up against a local guy in the middle of nowhere in South Dakota. The place was filled with the guy’s family, friends and townsfolk. It was my father and his corner man alone on this jaunt. Within 10 seconds of the bell sounding my father knocked the guy out cold. The place nearly rioted and my father and his corner man ran down the street with a mob chasing them. My dad still had his trunks and gloves on running for his life.
He was afraid the people would find him at his home, so he had a sock full of cash to take a train out of town.
This may not be warranted for graduates today, but having a little emergency cash on hand never hurts.
Finally, graduates of 2014, I leave you with the immortal words of Buckaroo Bonzai, comic book legend and movie icon. Ok, well, I may have been the only one to read the comic or watch the movie, but he is an icon to me.
Buckaroo was a scientist, brain surgeon, rock star, race car driver and all-around hero.
He had the prolific quote, “Remember; no matter where you go, there you are.”
Take heed of these words young graduates: No matter your decisions in life or where fate takes you, you have to deal with that situation in the here and now.