No. of Recommendations: 2
The advice you're getting here is very conventional but it is not completely accurate. Since you are just starting out, let me be explicit about something the others are assuming you already know -- and if you do already know it, that's great, move on to the next post.

OK-- here goes--

An 18 year old is not necessarily helping himself by avoiding all debt. He can be severely injuring himself and his future. Unless you're heir to wealth, then you need to indebt yourself to acquire such assets as an education and a house. The person who chooses the cheaper higher education to avoid debt often learns that his cheap degree gets him no more than the high school graduate. "Everybody" has a degree these days. Today you have to get the best possible degree at a school where you have a chance of making those all-important contacts.

That is your best investment in your teens and early 20s. Even if you have to go $100K into debt. It is the only way you even have a chance of having decent earning power unless you're a natural salesman, which is a very rare personality type.

Don't go into debt for a new pair of shoes or a CD collection but don't hesitate to go into debt for your education or to get an early start on home ownership.

I know lots of people with paid-off homes who live well in retirement on just their Social Security. The renters do not do so well, not by a long shot.

Put the horse in front of the cart, not the other way round.
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