Last week a great friend in the UK turned 40. We have known each other since we were 11 and sort of grew up together with some seminal moments in our lives. Leaving school, learning not what to drink too much of, and learning the hard way that we were never any good at chasing skirt to leaving home and going to university to buying first houses and getting married to having children.

Throughout that time, one thing stands out; “you learn by your mistakes”, and boy have we made some huge fubars. Now look at yourself.  You may be successful in both your work and personal life, but wouldn’t life have been so much easier and more fun if you had the knowledge that you have now, but 20 years ago? What would you tell a younger you? Here are some of the things that I would tell a younger me.

Money doesn’t buy you happiness. It gives you options and time to choose the correct path in your life.

Set small manageable financial goals. Once you are used to setting and obtaining small manageable goals, you will be able to increase the time scales and size of the goals and work to them.

Stop buying rubbish.  Impulse purchases do make you feel good at the time, but if you need something instead of just wanting something, buy with quality. It will last longer and give you more pleasure over a longer period of time. It also helps you to build great memories, not just build up what you have.

Get away from the TV.  Read a book, go for a walk, or spend time with people you like and love. Observing and talking to people is a great educator and gets you interested in things you may have never thought off before.  It also gets you away from some of the most aggressive advertising campaigns that make you buy rubbish.

Don’t smoke. You are literally burning money.

Learn from your financial mistakes, you will make them.  Don’t just keep on doing them over and over again expecting a different outcome. That is classified as insanity.

Be happy in what you do.  Having a job with a great salary that makes you unhappy makes your life miserable.  You are much better off in a role that you enjoy and are happy with. Your productivity will go up and this will be noticed by your employers and your peers and you will be rewarded accordingly.

Compound interest is your friend. You will not see it straight away but start small and start early if you want to retire young.

Trust me, it works. I am the older you and know better.  Also, if you want to get more women, get rid of the tartan trousers and ingenious dance moves.

Paul McLardie is a partner at Total Wealth Management. Contact him at Paul.mclardie@t-wm.com

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