When it comes to zero reward living, I am the example of having blown more in my teens and 20s than most people make in their entire lives.  It wasn’t until I was 31, recently separated, and too broke to even afford to turn on electricity that I first encountered zero reward living — and it changed me for the better.  It changed me so much that 12 years later I went from being worth $0 to not having to work again.
In 1991 I went to the first Lollapalooza tour. I went for free because I had radio station connections galore, but I paid $31.50 for a ticket for a friend.
 
I can’t even remember that show. I remember a few bands, making out with a cute Serbian girl with a manic panic mohawk (I remember her phone number today but not her name, lol), and I think I picked up a $15 t-shirt from Siouxsie and the Banshees which I am pretty sure my ex-wife confiscated years later.
 
The $48 I spent was probably fun, but it didn’t change me. It didn’t make my life better other than making out with a cute Serbian girl with pink hair. The bands didn’t affect me or make me any better as a person.
 
Had I shoved that $48 at the age of 17 into investments, based on my return over the past 25 years I would have $5000 in the bank if I added nothing else to it. $5000 at this point in my life would be pretty useful.
 
It amazes me that every dollar I wasted on consumerism at the age of 17 would be worth $100 today at age 43. I know I wasted over $21,000 on CDs and car stereo equipment and concerts that year — nothing that actually made my life better in any way, didn’t create any permanent memory, and I can’t even remember which events I missed out on because I was too broke to go, although at the time I was really anxious and even depressed at missing whatever punk rock show I couldn’t afford to go to.
 
$21,000 at 17 would be $2.1 million today at 43.
 
Shitty to consider, isn’t it?  Parents, share this link with your 17 year olds.