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Economic independence teaches the responsibility of freedom

While driving down the 85 today after work, I was really focused on the pressure of my foot against the gas pedel. I tried to step on it as lightly as I could to be as gas efficient as possible. In fact, for the past two weeks, I’ve been stretching those gallons of liquid gold. Ever since I had to commute to work every weekday and actually pay for my gas, my driving has become a lot more careful and a lot less reckless. On a good day, I would set cruise control to 65, and stay in the middle lane. It definitely paid off; I managed to squeeze out 30 miles to a gallon on this 10 year old Camry!

Probably because I was reading an article on Linkedin Today about parenting, I couldn’t stop thinking about the significance of economic independence. It teaches children very valuable (pun intended) life lessons. I’ve managed my own savings account since the first grade, my own checking account since I was 13, and my first credit card and stocks account as soon as I turned 18. I started generating income sophomore year of high school when I created a small business with my friend. Looking back, I’m glad I had that independence, because it comes with the freedom of deciding how to spend that money. What better way to learn that not eating out for a week means I could afford to book roundtrip flight to LA? And what better way to realize that the extra $300 solid state hard drive upgrade is basically coding for a day or closing two or three deals? Where else would I get the incentive to read into complicated tax laws and investment analysis if I didn’t have my own money on the line? I also wouldn’t be worrying about how much gas I use if I weren’t paying for it, and just this last semester, I attended all my lectures because I personally paid for the outrageously expensive tuition.

Sidetracking – this is why I believe free food won’t solve world hunger, but cheap food will.

This post was originally going to be a short reminder to myself that I should let my kids manage their own finances early, so I’ll stop writing here. I’m sure (and hope) that I won’t have to convince myself again 20 years from now.

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