NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- When I graduated high school, I was one month away from turning 18 years old. At that point, I already had my future mapped out for more than a decade. I was going to be the next Howard Stern.
Less than two years out of high school (1995), I moved to Miami and took my first full-time radio gig doing nights on a sports talk station. The next several years of my life looked a lot like the movie Private Parts, minus the lesbians and ultimate smashing success in the radio capital of the world, New York City.
I even dealt with program directors like "Pig Virus." (He's a real person, by the way).
At day's end, I had a moderately successful career, but after about a dozen years on the radio I decided it was not for me. Or maybe radio decided "I wasn't for it."In any event, before I left home my radio jobs paid by the hour. I think the most I made was $15 per. My summer job at the local housing authority delivered a better wage. In Miami, where they pay you with sunshine, I made a wimpy $26,500 a year. Welcome to the big leagues, kid! Through it all, I invested in DRIPs (Dividend Reinvestment Plans) and a smattering of mutual funds. As I made more money, I started buying stocks. As I made more money, I bought more stocks. I became obsessed with the stock market at a relatively young age. I enjoyed more than moderate success investing. I only got my rear end handed to me once -- actually several times. Each time came during the 1999-2000 dot-com boom. Other than do not chase IPOs, the biggest lessons I learned were: