Hey Buddy! -
Well - you're 17 and now that the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season is over I thought I'd send you this note. It's not about the birds and the bees - I promise! But it is a few thoughts for you in one specific area of your life - money.
I hope, first and foremost, that you know that no matter how much I bug you about your finances, I'm doing it with love and concern that you don't head down the same path I did when I was younger. I can't tell you enough how being in control of your money will make the rest of your life so much easier. You'll be able to go places, see and do things, and eventually take your family anywhere your heart desires. We've done pretty well as a family so far - but there is so much more I know we could have done had the money been set aside in the first place.
Regardless of what you decide to do after high school, don't mortgage the next 15 years of your life to pay for it. If you have to work for a year or so to save up some extra cash - then do it. You can - gulp - live at home, as long as you need, so you can start off on the right foot when you do eventually head out on your own. Your Mom and I will put up with a few more years of your messy room to make sure you can financially handle life on your own when it happens.
I understand there's a young lady in the picture right now. Great! That other talk happened a long time ago so I have no worries there - sort of. As much as you might be tempted to buy her affection, or anyone else's in the future, know that being a gentleman, paying for her dinner and movie ticket, and just being yourself is the surest way to find out if she likes you for who you are - not what you can give her. Don't get me wrong - a really nice birthday, Christmas or whatever gift can never hurt a relationship. Just make sure you plan ahead, save the money and listen to her to get ideas of what she might want or need. You will find out through experience that it's not always the biggest gift that wins her heart - but the thoughtful gifts that show you actually know what she likes and needs.
I could go on and on about money stuff like this - I do this on the internet, and wrote a book, you know!! But for now I just want to say that I will always be there for any questions you might have about money. If I don't know the answers, we will find them out together. You have so many opportunities in the years ahead. Be smart with your money and the world can be yours!
Love - Dad