What do you wish you knew when you were younger?

wanting to get some perspectives from other more senior folks. this is a question I've been asking clients, family members, etc., and I hope this proves to be a place we can visit for years to come.

so, ladies and gents that have been around the block for a decade or more, what do you know now that you wish you knew when you were in your college years, 20s, early 30s? can be career, life, financial, however you want to answer it

[Layne Staley] [WallStreetOasis.com] CompBanker InfoDominatrix m8 neink CuriousCharacter earthwalker7 IlliniProgrammer labanker wsa007 TechBanking SSits ArcherVice Martinghoul brotherbear

will keep my comments short since I've already regurgitated the same shit 100x on the forum

  1. think long term is easier said than done but is incredibly important

  2. on investing, how to think is more important than being up to date on the news

  3. distrust all forecasters who don't manage portfolios

  4. your life won't suffer for leaving social media (wish I'd done this at 25 instead of >30)

  5. conspicuous consumption only leads to credit card debt and shallow friendships, skip that phase of your life (from which I carry zero memorable moments)

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Comments (103)

Oct 8, 2021 - 10:40am
m8, what's your opinion? Comment below:

College - I went to a target, and thought grades didn't matter (didn't know any better). Rude awakening come recruiting, but thankfully recruited into a bull market

Career - Each job will have difficult (sometimes extremely difficult) people to work with. How you manage and deal with those relationships can sometimes make or break you. I like to "kill them with kindness" and hard work. Don't let it affect you, but if it does, leave. 

Life - Don't spend your time complaining about things. Work on ways to fix it, come up with a plan that addresses the issues and start executing on it. Find a solution.

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Oct 26, 2021 - 12:33am
Z_Styles, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Good advice here, just sometimes worry how this field will go for me whenever I think about the future.

Oct 8, 2021 - 10:57am
neink, what's your opinion? Comment below:

On top of my head, might add more later:

- pick a goal, something like winning an Olympic gold medal. Pick a model, someone who's good at what you want to be good at. Copy what he does. You aren't supposed to reinvent the wheel as a kid.

- it's better to try and fail than not to try at all. You'll learn something that other don't know, it'll help you succeed later

- education is overrated, this is particularly true for higher levels. Most educators need ''satisfaction'' that you give credit to their discipline, don't expect to make much of it

- learn some self defense. Helps with confidence in male dominated environments. You won't likely get in fights, nor want to, however we aren't really that far from animals. Other males do smell danger and fear.

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

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Oct 8, 2021 - 10:59am
neink, what's your opinion? Comment below:

- learn one difficult language from birth: Mandarin, Russian, Arabic, Hindi. It'll make you stand out like no other.

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

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Oct 8, 2021 - 1:19pm
PEarbitrage, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Well there are fa few things.

1) Grades matter.

2) What people with blue hair say does not matter.

3) Network over everything else.

4) College doesn't really lead to a career

5) You are far better off doing your own thing over working for other people

Oct 8, 2021 - 1:48pm
MonkeyNoise, what's your opinion? Comment below:

1. Hard work crushes intellect when it comes to career. You can't be a moron, but I know plenty of 'smart' people (you can find them at bar trivia or posting on Reddit) that are just lazy or not very practical. If someone is hard working & coachable in their corporate job then that crushes raw ability almost every single time, even if that person is much less intelligent. Someone with a 105 IQ that busts their ass will go further than someone with a 125 IQ who is lazy. I didn't believe this at all when I was in college but it's evident when getting into the 'real world'

2. Take ownership for everything. Growing up, my dad would always blame others. Late consistently? It's traffic. No money? It's because of the stock market. Cant get a promotion? It's because of the president. Step back in life and you will find people like this all the time - and it can be anything. Oh you lost a game of tennis? The racket was bad. Oh your pitch at work didnt succeed? Clearly it's bills fault for XYZ. If you are always blaming others you basically admit that you have no control/agency in your own life - which is pathetic. Take ownership. Late to work? Leaver earlier. Cant get a promotion? Get the skills needed to get another job. Lost a tennis match? Get fucking better at tennis. Whether you fail or succeed is on you and on you alone. But with all that pressure how do you prioritize? Leads me to my last point...

3. You can have anything you want in life. I sincerely mean that. But you cant have everything. Our generation (millennials) were coddled by basically being told we can have it all. You cant, you really cant. Realize and understand the trade offs with EVERY major decision you make. Compare those trade offs to your personal values , goals, and ambitions. Then you can make decisions and be happy with the ones you made. Example being you love being close to family in Ohio but got a important job offer in NYC. Staying vs leaving there is no right answer, but be aware of the tradeoffs. Or you have a career that will involve moving several times throughout your 20s and early 30s. Dont be surprised if you are single at 35. Want kids and to drive little johnny to soccer practice? Then understand the professional tradeoffs and dont think it's unfair when janet gets a promotion at work over you. People think they can have it all and get discouraged when expectations dont hit reality. You can achieve ANYTHING you want in this world (travel to 50 countries, start a business, financial independence at 35, sleep with 100 women, become VP before 30, have a loving family, have a six pack, etc.) but you cant have EVERYTHING. Think on your values and pursue them accordingly. 

Oct 8, 2021 - 2:25pm
PrivateTechquity 🚀GME🚀, what's your opinion? Comment below:

More around developing good study habits while also recognizing that schools wasn't the end-all-be-all. But mostly just appreciating being young in the first place and taking chances, trying out more new things vs staying rigid in a sphere of self-prescribed competence. 


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Oct 8, 2021 - 2:46pm
wsa007, what's your opinion? Comment below:

thebrofessor, I appreciate getting looped in this! This is a question that at first seems cliché but when I sit down and think about it, I'm flooded with a host of things I wish I had been equipped with mentally/emotionally/philosophically many years ago that would have saved me a tremendous amount of time and suffering. Some of these I've known all along yet never really took the time to digest. Others I have picked up only after many years.

Here is what I come up with (in no particular order). These apply to my teenage years and the decade of my twenties and will probably stay relevant throughout my life:

  • Most women are superfluous and expendable. This might sound harsh but I lost track of how much time and energy I spent chasing after women. It's shameful. I never had anyone to really "teach" me how to be good with women so I set out to learn myself through the pickup industry which was largely a waste of time. I spent an ungodly amount of time beating myself up over "failing" with a women and feeling bad for myself, only to have the process repeat with the next woman. I wish someone sat me down and told me that for all the women I am lusting after, there are many hundreds more that are virtually the same, that most aren't worth my time or energy, and that the best way to be "good" with women is to actually forget about women altogether and just focus on being a bad-ass man holistically. 
  • Ego is the biggest curse of the male sex. Ego will drive you to pursue things for the wrong reasons and to pursue things that are wrong altogether. Understand ego, where it comes from, etc. then destroy it or learn to set it aside.
  • Always think of the second and third order effects. This is a more precise/specific/deliberate way of thinking long-term. This isn't easy to do and requires you to almost think of potential alternate scenarios in each situation you encounter in life where you have a decision to make, large or small. 
  • Success in any endeavor requires mastery of the basics and more often than not, the basics are usually mundane, repetitive, and a slog to get through and can take years. Those who are willing to endure the slog through discipline and focus and will are those who will be successful. This is just as true now in a world full of fickle digital distractions at the whim of our fingertips as it was centuries ago.
  • Never, under any circumstance, feel sorry for yourself, ever. It is an addicting psychological trap that spoon feeds you globs of self-medicating emotions that feel "good" in the short term but ultimately erode you as both a man and a person. Smack yourself across the face, physically or metaphorically, and get back to taking action but never wallow in self-pity, period.
  • Most of life exists on a spectrum(s). There are extremes on both sides and there is a spot in the middle, but rarely does life ever exist in one place on the spectrum all the time. Sometimes it helps to be on the extremes, other times it makes sense to be somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, but life requires you to be flexible and to be able to adjust where you are constantly on the spectrum(s).
  • There really is a matrix. The trippy part is that there are matrices within the matrix.
  • The best way to change your state of mind is to change your physical state. Sitting and meditating is great, but I've found affirmations and incantations are largely useless. The best way to elicit change in your mind and emotions is through taking physical action over and over again. The change in physical state and what that requires of you will, in turn, change your inner state.
  • You can't "fake it till you make it". Eventually you will be found out, whether by others or yourself.
  • Find your origin source. This was something I solidified through reading Mastery by Robert Greene. All the legends have a "source", some sort of origin point that set them off on a course which ultimately led them to all the great things they accomplished. Everyone has it, you must search for yours and find it. It could be a recurring theme in your life, a period of time in your life, a specific situation that you found profound, etc.
  • Growing up is a trap. If you lose the lightness of childhood with all it's imagination, curiosity, invincibility, and creativity, the world slowly weighs on you and next thing you know, you're no different than the masses, trudging through life as it if was something to get through rather than being something that should be relished every day.
  • Most of life was figured out long ago. Most of what we see day-to-day is just a repackaged version of old-school fundamentals.
  • Get off the screen. Life is tactile and tangible and to be experienced physically. Use the internet to better your life financially and in other ways as well but don't spend most of your days glued to a screen or spend hours of forums, blogs, etc. looking for the answers to life's situations. The answers are out there in the physical world. 
  • Suffer early to get your life in order. The price must always be paid so best to pay it as early as possible.
  • Health is everything, period.
  • Some of the worst people you will meet in your life, if not the worst, will be your own family.
  • Life is really, really, really, really short.
  • Theatricality and deception are powerful agents.
  • Enjoy life as much as possible, Even on your worst days, enjoy it. When I look back on my teens and 20s, I was miserable for nearly two decades (I had MAJOR family issues and lacked the guts to pull myself out). What a shame to have spent so much of life in deep unhappiness. I should have enjoyed it, said "fuck it" to many things and seen the suffering as part of the grand process. Now I have to actively work to enjoy life every day. I obviously enjoy engaging in my passions, but I have to work to pause and enjoy the day-to-day activities, the trees, animals, the weather, etc. It's all connected.
  • Become self-reliant as soon as possible. Mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, etc. It's okay to seek tutelage and mentorship, but ultimately strive to rely on your own in all things.
  • All of life is rigged. This isn't bad or unfair, but it rewards those who put in effort and pay the price early on.
  • Accept full responsibility for all aspects of your life. No blame on anyone or anything but yourself. 
  • Seek to maximize your fullest potential, again in all aspects of life. Push the envelope of your perceived limits and then when you bump against them, push them further. Always have things you're striving for and attack, attack, attack.
  • Visualization works to the extent that it is chronic. Meaning, if I want to accomplish something or become a certain type of man, it won't do anything if I take 10 mins a day and meditate on it and then forget it. BUT, if it's something I hold constantly in the back of my mind, working it's way into my conscience and then unconscious, always there in the background, always visiting it and feeding it, over time it will happen. It might take many years, but when you look back you realize it served as a sort of auto-pilot, guiding you in ways in which you weren't even aware of. 

That's what I have for now! I could probably spend an entire day digging these out of my brain and it was actually very helpful to put these on here so I am appreciative of the opportunity to partake in this! These are my thoughts and platitudes thus far in life. They may not be for everybody but they are things that I live by and most certainly wished I knew at least a decade ago.

Oct 8, 2021 - 2:55pm
Arroz con Pollo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm unable to vote for some reason but your comment belongs in the WSO best comments section. 100% agree with everything you've said, and implementing much of what you've addressed has improved my life dramatically

Oct 10, 2021 - 7:07pm
wsa007, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This might be something that only makes sense in my brain but I'll do my best to embellish. To me, the matrix is a set of narratives and constructs thrust upon and widely adopted by society. We have all fallen victim to this matrix and have participated in it in various degrees through the systems we partake in such as the educational system, healthcare system, financial system, etc.

With the advent of tech and things like social media, you get another layer to the matrix where you've got people trading real, tangible time from their lives in exchange for interacting with digital projections in order to mostly live vicariously through the lives of other people, fully believing that what they're seeing is an accurate representation of reality. To me, something like social media is a matrix within the matrix because it's such a unique layer that only removes you further from what is truly real.

Oct 10, 2021 - 10:40am
iercurenc, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Basically don't focus your attention on getting a woman. Focus on a real goal, whether it's your GPA or recruiting or a hobby. Become an accomplished person through your real goals, and the women will follow.

The more you shower a woman with attention, the less she will want to be with you. This is the Fundamental Law of Vagina. Just don't give too much of a shit about them and I promise it will boost your confidence and likability. If your relationship with one women doesn't work out, don't worry, there's another one out there who you will like just the same. Just don't give them more attention than they deserve.

Oct 10, 2021 - 11:54am
wsa007, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The gist of that point was that most women are fairly generic. Hell, most people are fairly generic, hence why the very successful have very small circles. As such, sinking large amounts of time and energy into pursuing women when you can instead be focused on building a business, building yourself, etc. is simply not worth it. It's easier to distance yourself from people not going anywhere in life, but women are much harder since you're fighting biology. You can replace the word "women" in that point with "people" and it applies just the same. Don't sink massive amounts of time on people who won't amount to anything who are more/less the same as everybody else. iercurenc also did a great job on summarizing my point. Don't give your power, time, and energy chasing after most people, be they women or men because odds are, there's another person just like them around the corner. Highest and best use in all areas of life is important, especially your time. 

Oct 10, 2021 - 7:25pm
Drumpfy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Another thing: 

the best way to be "good" with women is to actually forget about women altogether and just focus on being a bad-ass man holistically. 

This is patently wrong.  Sure, being a better man will make it easier to get dates, but the best way to get better at talking to women is.... talking to women.  Lifting weights will make you a better athlete but to do well in football, you'll have to practice playing football.  That's why you see so many people here scratching their heads and wondering why they're still virgins even though they're successful by other metrics.

Oct 13, 2021 - 12:58pm
Plz Fix, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I will revert back this reply often. I could read it all day

Oct 23, 2021 - 8:08pm
domesticatedfire, what's your opinion? Comment below:

i rarely comment on this site, but I just wanted to say this is one of the greatest things I've read, period (in or outside WSO). Thanks

Oct 24, 2021 - 7:21pm
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:


I will echo the comments on Robert Greene - that book had a massive effect on me too and I credit it as one of the reasons I went from being outside of Banking/Finance to being at a BB now. For anyone reading this, if you take just one thing away from this thread, then pick up the Robert Greene book and read it. 

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  • Intern in IB - Cov
Nov 13, 2021 - 11:21pm

This advice gives me flash backs to working with attorneys. Is this mostly for AN/ASO or higher level deal makers?

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Oct 8, 2021 - 5:33pm

Not a boomer like everyone else in the thread but...

1. Mentors are key, whether its upperclassmen or alumni. Everyone at your school will want to help you.

2. Grades matter, fuck that 3.5+ mentality. Go for a 4.0 so you fail into success. Hard work is hard.

3. TALK TO PEOPLE, same as #1, but network with alums, network with upperclassmen, these are the people who're gonna hire you 2, 5, 10 years down the line

5. Culture matters more than prestige IN THE LONG RUN, of course you should prioritize prestige for your first job out of college in finance because you aren't gonna stay there (99 times out of 100), but keep track of the bigger picture.

6. Old(er) people are often wrong. Take everything everyone says with a grain of salt, and understand that your life is different from theirs.

7. Never listen to a college student on an online forum because he is most likely just spewing BS.

Oct 9, 2021 - 4:17pm
MonkeyNoise, what's your opinion? Comment below:

lol ironically I believe the opposite. Fuck the 4.0, go for the 3.5. I was a 4.0 student and regret it because it came at the expense of other areas.

It's better to be good at everything than to be great at any one thing (grades, work experience, hobbies, social skills) but deficient at the others. IF you can be 4.0 student with a healthy social life, captain of the club rowing team, good internship experience, volunteer on weekends, etc. then more power to you. More isn't worse. But for many - the difference between a 3.5 and a 4.0 is negligible on a resume as well as later on in life. What matters is making sure you are well rounded 

  • Intern in PE - LBOs
Oct 8, 2021 - 5:34pm

Not a boomer like everyone else in the thread but...

1. Mentors are key, whether its upperclassmen or alumni. Everyone at your school will want to help you.

2. Grades matter, fuck that 3.5+ mentality. Go for a 4.0 so you fail into success. Hard work is hard.

3. TALK TO PEOPLE, same as #1, but network with alums, network with upperclassmen, these are the people who're gonna hire you 2, 5, 10 years down the line

5. Culture matters more than prestige IN THE LONG RUN, of course you should prioritize prestige for your first job out of college in finance because you aren't gonna stay there (99 times out of 100), but keep track of the bigger picture.

6. Old(er) people are often wrong. Take everything everyone says with a grain of salt, and understand that your life is different from theirs.

7. Never listen to a college student on an online forum because he is most likely just spewing BS.

Oct 8, 2021 - 9:31pm
CuriousCharacter, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Business is War - The best companies (that is, the companies that pay the highest wages, offer the most room for advancement, and are stacked with the most talented people) are EXTREMELY political environments, and anything you say can and will be used against you, so don't bring your personal baggage to the office, you're there to do battle.

Cash is King - Life is non-linear for most people, and if something unforeseen happens, having two years worth of living expenses in the bank is the best thing ever.

Think Long & Hard Before Taking on Debt - *Getting* to work a high paid prestigious job can be a dream come true... HAVING to work a high paid prestigious job can be a true nightmare. Act accordingly.

Don't Rush Into Marriage + Children - I didn't make this mistake, but I have plenty of friends who got married and had kids in their early/mid 20's who are now stuck with spouses and children they hate, or lost 50% of their net worth plus x% of their future earnings in nasty divorces... it's not a good look.

Opportunity favors the prepared mind - I've interviewed at dozens of companies over the last decade, and only 3 were true standouts... that's one every five years. I see one amazing investment every 12-18 months. I am many millions of dollars poorer today and missed out on some potentially fantastic relationships because I wasn't ready to act when opportunities presented themselves. When you see it, you HAVE to be ready.

Sales is an S-tier Skillset - The talented sales reps I know in big tech are all pulling in 500k-1.5mm per year working *very* reasonable hours. Even if you don't want to be a career salesperson, the skillset is extremely valuable.

Get Rid of Toxic People Post Haste - I held on to toxic relationships from my teen years into my late 20's, and it was a terrible mistake. If you want to move up in the world, you're going to have to leave people behind, and that might mean kicking your own family to the curb.

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Oct 11, 2021 - 6:39pm
CuriousCharacter, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you have a high paying job just hire the best sales trainer you can find.

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Oct 8, 2021 - 10:49pm
Pinstulol, what's your opinion? Comment below:

There is not a magic switch that will make your life amazing, try to live every fucking day instead of thinking that there is that magic thing that will  completely change your life. I used to think that entering a top university, making xx money, relationship were magic switches they are ok-ish but it is nothing magic. Why is so important  that I learned this from my young obsessed/A-type  personality? First, you start to live in the moment. Second, a natural consequence of this thought is that  there is not a magic switch that will make your life the worse thing ever either so in bad moments if you live everyday trying to be as good as possible you can be quite happy.

Disclaimer: if you are living in REAL materal/health poverty I do not think that this applies, if you can not eat 2 thoudand calories a day or you have Malaria it is hard to be happy..

Oct 9, 2021 - 12:35am
Small Cape Valeyou, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Your well being should be your number one priority over anything. Take care of of yourself first so you can give 100% of yourself to your cause (job,family,relationships)

There will always be stress. Learn to cope early. The farmer will worry about rain. The engineer that the bridge won't fall down.

Focus on things that you can control. Anxiety is born is out of things out of our control and the unknowns. The further out you project or forecast the more unknown variables. Trust that doing your best is all you can do and ask of yourself. Most of the time, it will be more than enough. Sometimes it won't be enough, and that's ok.

Oct 9, 2021 - 6:56am
deltaberry, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you want to make money. You need to take risks. If you want to make lots of money, you need to take lots of risks. Unfortunately, a stable job in something like M&A is as riskless as it can get so you're defn not maximising your potential or coming anywhere close to making the money that you otherwise could.

Sure you may make more than other risk-averse people who have less pedigree in a lower paying job, but you're never going to make as much as someone taking risk (whether it's gearing their eyeballs out and buying the biggest property they can afford or doing business). The recent rise in US home prices is case in point.

Oct 10, 2021 - 1:18am
red_bandit, what's your opinion? Comment below:

M&A careers at big BB doesn't attract risk takers by nature

Oct 9, 2021 - 3:42pm
GoLiftSomeWeightsBro, what's your opinion? Comment below:
  • Start doing more endurance training earlier
  • Stretching 
  • Morning cold showers
  • Jacking off less 
  • Actually doing what you say you are going to do 
  • Get lean asap, build muscle later, don't fall for the bulking meme 
Oct 11, 2021 - 8:44am
thebrofessor, what's your opinion? Comment below:

sure thing. I wish I realized the shallowness of conspicuous consumption, which I define as spending money without a purpose that's meaningful to you or showing off. things like grabbing random people's drinks at the bar to try to impress people (even when you're in a committed LTR so why tf would you care), buying clothes you don't need, and so on. I had a lot of pride in my early 20s and had not let lost my ego nor gotten to intrinsic validation instead of extrinsic validation

I carry no regrets, my point is if I was speaking to a younger version of myself, I'd drive this point home and say "hey man, in 10 years no one is going to give a fuck about _____ you bought but AMEX is still gonna want their money, and I know you don't have it right now. so stay home this weekend, crush a couple workouts, and spend time with your REAL friends at the house, it'll be more affordable and give you way more memories."

Oct 9, 2021 - 11:41pm
wsomaster, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I would have still lived, but been way cheaper, saved way more, and dumped as much as I could into ETFs in brokerage not 401k/IRA

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Oct 11, 2021 - 1:14am

I'm probably not qualified to give advice, but here is one thing I wish I knew 8 years ago:

Be willing to be patient with answers to your questions. You may not know all the answers right away, but that is not the excuse for not doing the right thing. If you read Rainer Maria Rilke, this kind of saying might ring a bell.

Background: 4 years ago I got an interview from MIT for a master's program. I didn't get a spot in the program. Thinking back, other things aside, my coding skills were definitely below average. I actually started out as a computer science major in freshman year but hated it so much because I didn't know what I could do with it. I didn't want to devote all weekends writing dumb programs that I didn't like.

Now: I spend my weekends --- when I have time since weekend work is a real thing in investment banking even in a relatively chill group that doesn't have a maniac MD --- self-studying coding because I've realized how useful it is and how interesting it is. I'm paying my dues 8 years later. I also have ideas to start a business, but coding is a prerequisite.

Man, I wish I knew. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Oct 12, 2021 - 12:50am

Two reasons. 

Assumption: talking about a scalable software/tech business here.

1. It's a skill I want to learn and learn well.

2. I don't think outsourcing source code is a good idea. It's okay to outsource certain parts. Might be a perspective thing. Anyway, for me it's important o know how to code or get a tech co-founder. 

I know that Patrick outsourced coding, but WSO's websites and mobile apps could really get some uprades...

Oct 12, 2021 - 11:37pm
IBD-Athlete, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for the thread brofessor. These aren't my words, but those of a much more notable Wall Street character that I've found practical. This was a letter Richard Jenrette left on his desk before passing in 2018 (one of my favorite parts of Wall Street is its history).

"What I learned (How to Succeed)

(and how to live a long & happy life) -Richard Jenrette (1929-2018)

  1. Stay in the game. That's all you need to do, don't quit! (Stick around! Don't be a quitter)
  1. Don't burn bridges (behind you)
  1. Remember – life has no blessings like a good friend!

a. You can't get enough of them

b. Don't leave old friends behind – you may need them

  1. Try to be nice and say, "thank you" a lot
  1. Stay informed / KEEP LEARNING
  1. Study – stay educated. Do your homework! Keep learning!
  1. Cultivate friends of all ages – especially younger
  1. Run scared – over prepare
  1. Be proud – No Uriah Heap for you! But not conceited. Know your worth.
  1. Plan ahead but be prepared to allow when an opportunity presents itself
  1. Turn problems into opportunities. Very often it can be done. Problems create

opportunities for change – people are willing to consider change when there are


  1. Present yourself well. Clean, clean shave, dress "classically" to age. Beware style, trends. Look for charm. Good grammar. Don't swear so much- it's not cute.
  1. Be open to change – don't be stuck in the mud. Be willing to consider what's new, but

don't blindly follow it. USE YOUR HEAD – COMMON SENSE.

  1. Have some fun – but not all the time!
  1. Be on the side of the Angels. Wear the "White Hat."
  1. Have a fallback position. Heir and the spare. Don't leave all your money in one place.
  1. Learn a foreign language
  1. Travel a lot – around the world if possible
  1. Don't criticize in front of others
  1. Don't forget to praise a job well done. (but don't praise a poor job)
  1. I don't like to lose – but don't be a poor loser if you do.
  1. It helps to have someone who loves you
  1. Keep your standards high in all you do
  1. Look for the big picture but don't forget the small details"

Richard Jenrette co-founded the investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette in 1959. The legendary banker spent four decades on Wall Street and died in 2018 at age 89. He left behind on his desk, these 24 rules to succeed in finance. DLJ was originally a research firm, and was taken over by Jenrette in 1973. In the late 80's DLJ acquired Drexel's high-yield bond team, which gave them an advantage in high-yield trading and underwriting. The slow dissolution of DLJ resulted in a sale to Credit Suisse, however many of DLJ's alumni left for UBS. Famous DLJ alumni include Ken Moelis, who left for UBS before founding Moelis & Co.

Oct 13, 2021 - 9:47am
FinancialModelzNbottlez, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I wish I wasn't so money centric.I graduated from an ivy in 2014.

I went into IB like everyone else and now am in PE.I've made 100k, 200k and even 7 figures once.(Invested into a company that was acquired plus my larger salary). I also wish I didn't go collecting Rolex Dayton's and pateks. Try to save guys. Health issues can be a thing later.

I still have never taken more than 2-3 days off of work. I can crush my work but it's clearly unhealthy.

Just remember to take care of yourselves guys. Money and prestige are not as important. HCOL is not either when you're entering your mid 20s and can pull a CF position that matches IB (or within 20%).

Oct 13, 2021 - 10:43am
m_1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Should have been more comfortable with raising equity. Could have raised a handful of times when younger but didn't think the businesses were VC appropriate (they were, I was just stupid). Would have been 3x - 5x further along career wise if I had...even if those companies tanked for w/e reason.

Oct 13, 2021 - 11:27am
Plz Fix, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Don't ever become content, always stay working because happiness may be temporary but it will not last forever. Don't beat yourself up because something didn't work, use it as experience to grow and be better.

Oct 13, 2021 - 4:30pm
InfoDominatrix, what's your opinion? Comment below:
  • If you've never heard or read The Paradoxical Commandments, take a moment to read them -- https://www.paradoxicalcommandments.com/  -- the younger you are, the more likely that you'll find them cheesy and contrived.  Only with experiences and time will you realize that there are far worse "rules" or concepts to guide your actions, words and thinking.
  • It's never too early to start saving money for retirement.
  • It's never too late to reinvent yourself, when/if need be and more than once.
  • Listen to as many varying takes and opinions as you can, but remember to always make decisions based on you and your situation, not what friends/family/podcasters/politicians/business people tell you that they would do in your situation, they are not you, their circumstances are not yours, even when they might seem similar.
  • Find the right balance for yourself, between hoping/planning for the best and preparing for the worst.  Some things in this life simply can not be anticipated and it does you no good to constantly dwell and stress on things that you can not control or things that are too far into the future.  Planning/saving for the future will definitely reduce your stress versus not planning/saving and leaving more and more to chance.
  • Cultivate and nurture things/people/places that you enjoy.  Make time for family and friends.  Develop hobbies or plan outings/trips with others, actively make a point to do things that feed your heart and soul and never let someone tell you that this is selfish.  If you're going to work hard, you need other outlets in life so as not to burn out.  Feed yourself, water yourself, move your body daily in some way, shape or form.
  • Don't expect others to automatically help you.  Be open to learning, to being taught and always appreciate the fact that you will never know everything.  Don't allow what others have or haven't done for you negatively color your own generosity in mentoring others, supporting others, showing others the ropes, etc.  Pettiness is not a good look on anyone.
  • DO NOT take life too seriously.  NOBODY gets out of this alive, no matter how much influence, money or power you accumulate.
Oct 15, 2021 - 2:44am
patrickb8man, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I want you (the person reading this). To tell your mother you love them today and also to the people you love and matters to you. Spend more time with them and not focusing on others that doesn't mean to you. Don't hurt the people that is kind to you to impress the ones that hurt you. Love your own kind. Make friends and be kind, and hardworking. Because there will always be someone kinder, prettier, and hardworking than you are. More life my friends :)

Oct 15, 2021 - 4:17pm
wsomaster, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Luck plays a much bigger part in life than we would all like to believe, but how you respond to bad luck and circumstances will define you

Oct 24, 2021 - 7:39pm
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm not nearly as prolific as some of the posters called out in the OP but I am on "the back nine" of my career so I'll throw in a couple:

  • If I could do it all over again, I wouldn't get married until my 40s. You are not the same person at 20 as you are at 40 and neither is she. Divorce is one of the hardest things I've ever been through and I wouldn't wish it upon anyone. Get married as late as possible in life and be the second or even third husband - get the "Disney princess marriage" out of your wife's system first. 
  • Generally speaking, people are cowards. If you put someone in a flight-or-fight scenario, they will flee. It pays to be aggressive; you don't have to be a superhero to do that, you just have to have a little less fear than the other guy.
  • All you need in life is just 1 really good friend. Having a large circle of friends - which are really just acquaintances - is highly overrated (find yourself a friend that won't flee!) 
  • Your later years are all about quality-of-life. Lots of people make it to their 80s, convalescent homes are filled with them. It's not just making it to 80, its still being upright when you get there! You don't have to be some amazing athlete and a vegan, just take care of yourself in a reasonable way - your body is the only one you've got. 
  • 5
Oct 28, 2021 - 2:46pm
MonkeyNoise, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Like the advice but dont see how getting married at 40 and wanting to start / raise a family can coexist.

There are trade offs with everything. Aster enough women and experience you (and hopefully your partner) knows the fairytale stuff is BS and relationships take work. Sure by waiting you can develop career, experiences, have more freedom, etc. But you also lose out on being young and full of energy when your kids are growing up.

Just my 2 cents. No answer is the correct one per say. Just go into it eyes open and aware of the tradeoffs. 

Oct 28, 2021 - 3:31pm
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yes, it's true that getting married later and having kids is tough proposition. But I would still prefer that over going through a divorce and putting your kids through a split home (and I'm assuming the custody battle would be amicable, otherwise its a whole other deal). So, yeah, there's a trade-off but I think most posters on WSO are smart enough to realize that. 

  • 1
Nov 4, 2021 - 12:24pm
PrettyBoy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Relationships are the biggest time sinks ever. No, you're not going to find your soulmate to marry at 21. Only time you should date is when you're dating to get experience, or to have fun.

Nov 5, 2021 - 4:09pm
euinvestor11, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I could probably write a book as an answer to this question, and I am only in my 30s. The answer would also vary a lot depending on the area of focus (career, women, you name it). Here are some of the most important lessons, subjective to me. I would say the core lesson revolves around time. 

  • You have enough time in life to do what you want, however at the same time you run out of it quick. The biggest mistake in life is wasting time, because time is the only real wealth anyone has, even wealthy old people have less of this wealth than young people and cannot get it back.
  • Do well in high school, take all classes seriously, and try to build an idea of what you want to do in life based on subjects of interests.
  • Get work as soon as possible, as this life experience will help you actually choose a career properly (by teaching you about the value of hard work, money, etc).
  • Ideally in your 20s you should be on the path towards your career goal, and then put in the work (20s and 30s) in your chosen work. If you do that in 30s and after, its going to be more painful and difficult.
  • This is entirely subjective, but if you are a young male and want to experience the military, do it when young (18-25). It's a young man's game. It's a great experience for later in life.
  • I'm going to be vulgar here, but if you are anxious, stop giving a F*** so much about everything. If you want to date a girl, go for it. Seriously, all those times that you didn't do something (whether with women, career, etc), you will regret your indecision later. In my experience, all the good things in life come from having guts & courage.
  • Nothing worthwhile career-wise is reachable easily and takes hard work (medicine, finance, etc). If you go for the easiest path, you will be a bored salaried person like many.
  • One of the most important things to reach a proper career and be fulfilled is to know yourself. Know your values, passion, and psychological aspects such as IQ, MBTI type, etc.
  • Seize the moment (Carpe Diem), don't waste your youth, and value the life/youth of your parents, grandparents, friends, before they suddenly leave the world.
  • Life is full of regrets and misery if you disregard time and the shortness of life. You can wake up at 30+ having not achieved much and alone.
  • Intern in IB - Cov
Nov 13, 2021 - 11:30pm

I am on the younger side, 21, but don't take health for granted.

I thought I was unstoppable and had an unlimited time horizon. Then I got into a big accident, almost died, and have fucked up health since. One of my biggest regrets is that my first call (after the ambulance was on its way) from inside the car was to a co-worker about not being able to make it to a meeting, and not my family. Whole experience highlighted how fucked my priorities were. 

Nov 30, 2021 - 7:10pm
Purple9988, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Earum harum velit praesentium corrupti. Voluptatem et quas fugit pariatur asperiores. Nihil eligendi consectetur asperiores et quisquam.

Nov 30, 2021 - 7:29pm
Teller in Branch - Personal Loans, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Porro officiis qui laboriosam aut voluptatum et porro. Qui iste eaque quas est tempora alias.

Earum asperiores omnis quae in corrupti. Odit consequatur eum consequatur. Rerum hic aut delectus voluptas inventore est. Est eveniet iusto esse pariatur et pariatur quis a.

Nov 30, 2021 - 7:54pm
Teller in Branch - Personal Loans, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Mar 9, 2022 - 9:56pm
paulsy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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