So you now have your lucrative oil platform jobs. That’s great! But don’t rest on your laurels. Remember that all booms are followed by busts. Remember the example of IT and finance in the dot.com boom and bust in the 90’s. Remember the previous oil boom and bust. It will be no different this time round. But don’t panic! According to the top economists and fund managers (like the legendary Jim Rogers who has bet a large chunk of his personal wealth on the current boom in commodities like oil), this oil boom is likely to last until at least 2014.
1) Savings (401k). This means that you have quite a number of years to save up for the future. Set up your 401k (or whatever they choose to call it by the time you read this) and split up your remaining savings between government bonds and mutual funds and you will have an easy and effortless road to a decent retirement package. With the typical salary an oil worker earns, you can even hire a financial planner to give you impartial advice.
2) Further education. If you want something better than your savings account, remember that those of you working on offshore oil rigs have one very great advantage over most other workers. Not only do you have great salary, you have about 6 months of free time every year, typically spaced out in 2-week to 6-week chunks. All this time is yours to do as you will, including continuing your education, setting up your own business or investments for your future. Unlike an office worker, your 2-weeks on 2-weeks off schedule is ideal for short intense certification courses and part-time correspondence diplomas and degrees. This extra education will be useful to help you find new jobs after the oil boom ends.
3) Investments. A more risky way of spending your time and salary would be in investments. While your 401k and simple index funds give you an effortless and autopilot way to save for your retirement, you can get better returns with options trading (different from day trading) and real estate investing. Both options trading and real estate have a steep learning curve, but unlike office workers, you have more free time and an above average salary to play with. In other words, after you learn the theory from available courses, you have more money to experiment with until you learn how to do it right.
4) Business. An alternative plan would be to set up your own part-time business. Three main methods come to mind: a normal offline part-time business (perhaps run from your garage), an MLM business, or an internet marketing business (for example selling goods using eBay). If you like interacting with people, an MLM business would be good for you. If you choose to run your own small business from your garage, your local community college should have some helpful small business courses to help you get started. If you choose internet marketing, you will find a wealth of cheap online courses available. Just type in “internet marketing” or “make money online” into Google.
No matter how great your oil platform job is right now, do remember that it will not last forever. Make sure you are prepared for the eventual end of the oil boom. Don’t be caught with your pants down like so many dot.com workers.