Year of Investment

Encourage young people to work full-time for one year, living as inexpensively as possible, and investing as much as possible in a retirement account. The idea is for individuals to begin their adult life with a positive net worth, a significant nest egg, and with the insights gained from a year's worth of hard work and thrift. This is a stark contrast to the tendencies of many young people to take on debt carelessly, enroll in college without much purpose, and/or use their first earnings to seek comfort or social status (car, place of their own, etc). This effort could be coordinated by a non-profit that:

1) provides personal finance workshops for participants and high-school-age youths and their parents

2) matches participants with employers

3) provides community to participants

4) coordinates with investment brokerages and employers to provide participants with opt-out payroll deductions for simple, long-term, diversified, tax-favored investment

5) promotes awareness and societal acceptance of the program

6) tracks the actual earnings, expenses, and investment behavior of participants

7) seeks grant money with which to provide employers and participants with additional incentives

8) tracks the effect of the program on participants' net worth and happiness

Once the program was mature enough, it could potentially facilitate an experience wherein willing participants are randomly matched with an employer outside their region, working alongside other participants with different backgrounds. Benefits of this approach may include increased social support, softening of in-group biases, and distancing from negative influences at home.

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