MY FIRST JOB WAS in 1963, at age 12, delivering newspapers for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. There must have been at least five children from my neighborhood who were newspaper carriers. Today, you rarely see anyone delivering newspapers. The Herald Examiner went out of business in 1989.
My next job, as a teenager, was working at a machine shop that made tools for aerospace companies, such as McDonnell Douglas and Rockwell North American.
AROUND THE TIME of my birthday each year, I request a copy of my Social Security Statement. This year, as l reviewed my report, I realized many life stories lie behind the numbers that appear in my earnings record.
The first year I had taxable earnings was 1985, the year I graduated high school. Minimum wage was $3.35 an hour and my annual income that year was $861. My earnings over the following seven years were meager,
MUCH PERSONAL finance literature, including most of what I write, focuses on how to handle money—how much to save, which investments to buy, and so forth. But what if you have a more fundamental question: How do I earn more in the first place?
To help answer that question, I have five new summer reading recommendations. Each of these books offers strategies to help you increase your productivity—and your happiness—on the job. That, in turn,
IF WE’RE TO RETIRE in comfort, we need to be deadly serious about saving money for perhaps three decades. That leaves a little wiggle room: If our careers span four decades, we might have a decade or more when we can be a little less focused on making and saving money.
The question is, when should this “goof off” period be? Conventional wisdom has its answer: We should pursue our passions in our 20s,
ON THE AFTERNOON of Sunday, Sept. 28, 1941, it was cool and damp in Philadelphia. Inside Shibe Park, where the hometown Athletics were suiting up to face the Red Sox, all eyes were on Boston’s 23-year-old slugger, Ted Williams. It was the last day of the regular season, and Williams’s average stood just a hair short of .400, at .39955.
According to baseball’s official rules, this would have rounded up to an even .400 in the record books,
EACH SPRING, I WATCH a fresh crop of college graduates transition from the world of fulltime academics to the world of fulltime employment. Eager to begin “adulting,” many of them focus on the salaries offered by their employer-of-choice and give little consideration to the various benefits that supplement that salary.
That’s a mistake. As someone who’s been employed fulltime for the last 26 years, I’ve learned the importance of performing a cost-benefit analysis on the perks offered by various employers.
IT ALL BEGAN WITH an afternoon phone call between Andrew, my twin brother, and me. I made an off-the-cuff comment about starting our own company. For the previous eight years, both of us had worked at a large lawn care company and then, for a few brief months, at a medium-sized landscaper.
Neither of us doubted we would be successful. But we were taking a large financial risk: Starting our own company meant leaving the security of a regular paycheck,
I WAS LESS THAN 10 years old when I decided that I wanted to earn some extra cash over and above my weekly allowance. I took day-old sections from the Washington Post and went door-to-door in my neighborhood, selling each section for a dime. Not many fell for it, but there was a couple who were willing to hand over a dime to a young boy looking to supplement his allowance.
I doubt that I earned much from this endeavor.
LAST YEAR, I MADE the jump from employee to self-employed. Professionally, I felt ready. But what about financially? Here’s what I did to make sure everything went smoothly:
1. Eliminate Overhead. Success as a freelancer or business owner is never guaranteed. To give my business a chance to succeed, I wanted to save enough to sustain myself for at least six months.
My salary was fixed, so I had to make adjustments to my spending.
YESTERDAY MORNING, I spoke at career day at the Philadelphia school where my daughter teaches. My two fellow panelists were a city planner and a fundraiser for a local ballet company. What did we tell the 11th grade kids? Interestingly, all three of us focused on the same four themes:
You’re unlikely to have a single career. Instead, you’ll switch direction as you discover what you’re good at, the world changes around you and you grow weary of your current job.