Question/Comment: As a graduating high school student, I am concerned about what the future has in store. With the economy changing the way it is, what can I expect to see in the next few years? What would be the best course of action to take regarding my future?
Paul Solman: As I’ve often said and written (quoting Harvard legend John Kenneth Galbraith), there are two kinds of economists: those who don’t know the future, and those who don’t know they don’t know. I’m firmly in the first category. But I can offer some advice.
Go to college and pay attention once you’re there. Without an education, you’ll be hard-pressed for skills to sell in the world economy.
Become financially and economically literate. You’ll have a leg up on most everyone you’ll be competing against.
Learn about the rest of the world, since more and more of the world’s economic growth will happen there. Learning about China seems to be an especially good bet.
Cultivate good habits like saving instead of splurging. It’s amazing the extent to which early habits determine future behavior.
Do I sound like your grandmother? I hope so. You asked for advice, didn’t you?