SHARE your best advice or tip about Life or Money below!
“Start Saving Now!” That’s the best financial advice I have ever received for two reasons. First, it puts you in a position of financial strength in that it causes you to live within your means (especially if you couple that advice with “just say no to credit card debt”). Second, saving is a habit that – like using sunscreen – may not seem to have any immediate benefits but after practicing for a number of years, you will be thrilled you did it. Importantly, there is no amount that is too small to save, as it really adds up over time.
I recently spoke at the Women’s Leadership Institute and talked with my long-time mentor and friend, now retired. As someone with 10+ more years of work remaining, I am considering what I want my next opportunity to be, and thinking about options in very different ways than I have previously in my career. She said to me “Don’t let your career past necessarily define your career future at this stage. Sit with the present, envision what you really want to be doing and how you can truly make a difference with joy, and then start to make that happen.”
Lynn - I love that advice. I am almost 50, have been home with my kids for the past seven years, and am in the process of creating an online micro-business. It can be such a burden to define yourself by what you did in the past, Just this weekend, I took all my papers and other 'relevant' stuff I had in my office, packed them in boxes and put them in the attic. The empty space has given me room to focus on the present and think more clearly about the future.
The best advice I ever received about money, very early in life, was to live within my means, so that I could always afford to save money for later in life. In reality, this means that we all should live below our means to ensure we can always set aside something for the future. Over the years it’s been tough at times, but it sure is nice to have the peace of mind, of a financially secure future.
Never stop learning. It’s not specific, but it’s true and something I really believe. For me, the advice can be applied to every aspect of life. Whether it’s how to be better at your current job, or how to better to move into that next position – never stop learning on what it takes to move yourself to the next level. And never stop learning about your own financial situation as well, or stop taking the time to educate yourself.
The importance of delayed gratification. I saw my parents struggle through economic hardship in the early eighties, and while they ultimately made it, they really struggled. I witnessed, and they shared with me, the strength in the notion of never knowing when you’ll need that cushion. Making sure that you have resources when you need them is so much more important at the time of struggle than the moment you want that latte or new shirt. The bottom line is: delayed gratification is important. You never know when it will help you to have those resources during unexpected down turns.
My Father taught me, “It never hurts to ask.” Don’t be afraid to ask for a better deal, don’t be afraid to ask for additional information, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Asking for a better deal should occur in every aspect of your life. Small purchases like grocery shopping (coupons and price matching), to larger purchases like purchasing a home (negotiating) helps you pay less. Asking for additional information helps you communicate more efficiently, makes you more inquisitive and helps you become a better decision maker. Asking for help when you need it takes honesty and humility.
The best and worst financial advice I ever got was, “Shop at Off-Price Retailers.” Off-price retailers offer high-quality goods at low prices, and the number of off-price retailers selling apparel, accessories and home furnishings have grown in recent years.
The advice was well intentioned and intended to instill the notion that you can’t buy good taste, but you can be resourceful and get designer goods for less.
It’s a fair point, but because of something deemed “decision fatigue,” it can also be perilous. Turns out, driven by behavioral economics, a little shopping leads to a lot of shopping. We tend to lose perspective the longer we’re in the store.
That’s the reason you’re actually more likely to make a $150 purchase after buying something that’s $500, than $5. Why? Because it feels more affordable on a relative basis, especially when decision fatigue kicks in.
I don't recall any specific financial advice from the parents. I just observed how they just kept plugging away and taking care of us. Even though Dad would have to go far away for months each year to provide for us due to the low wages where we lived, I never ever heard a complaint from either Mom or Dad. Nothing like living the advice.
Then their was my other personal experiences that taught me more than I can imagine about money, people, dogs, and accounting ins and outs, my paper route. I used it as my sole means of spending money from the mid-grade school days well into high school. There's something about just living it and solving the problems although some might say they are minor but they meant a lot to you at the moment.
Then there was the cleaning and cash register job at the local drug store to accumulate funds for college. It didn't last even a year, but I worked my tail off for sub-dollar/hour wages and worked many hours every 2-week pay period. When I graduated from college, I figure that the top-secret government agency that I had applied to sent the FBI to talk with my manger there. It must have been good because they gave me an offer, but I was already with another quality organization.
I guess when thinking back on my experiences and including my own employee-hiring experience that there were a few employers that took notice when I said that I had paid my way through college while living at home and working as a student there. So I conclude that all "advice" is not necessarily verbal. Those early and in the scheme of things rather minor experiences or "advice" can count more that you can imagine to your success. :-))))
thanks so much for sharing JerryD!
Happy holidays and New Year!
W2W Community Mgr
Best advice? Understanding the difference between saving/investing and PLANNING.
True "Financial Planning" - a legal term defined by the SEC - can be a DIY but it takes time and isn't easy. It used to be known as "estate planning" until industry folks decided that sounded too much like just making funeral arrangements, LOL.
Doing FP as a DIY process is a lot of work. It can be done, but not easily or well without a lot of research, effort, and discussion. Even with professional help, it takes research, effort, and discussion! An FP is a "road map" on how to get yourself from your current Point "A" to future points (e.g., goals) D, E, F, etc.
It requires an honest analysis of your current situation and your short-, medium-, and long-term goals. It demands impartial evaluation of your physical morbidity and mortality factors. It is useless if you forget to treat it as a living document, that may see changes as life-changing events occur. It necessitates you face up to how much risk you have in your life in all areas, and forces the need to prioritize how much you are willing to spend to reduce your biggest risk areas, in order to increase your chances of successfully achieving those goals you decided on.
We never made as much money as other middle-class people we know. We never saved as much as we should have (we have always been spenders. Always!). But we stumbled through the beginning steps of financial planning in our late 40's, slowly learned more/thought more on it/talked over issues, and kept working at it - sporadically, but periodically - until the retirement income #s got clearer and we could see that "light at the end of the tunnel."
Because we got an early start on planning, along with a little good luck, we were able to weather the 2008-2010 market and RE downturn without changing our plans for early retirement. As a couple it's incredibly useful to sit down and really discuss your personal goals for retirement, not just financial goals but what do you want to do, where do you want to live, HOW do you want to live?
Financial plnng proved to be a process of communication discipline for both of us to work together. This was surprisingly useful when my MIL came to live with us and we ended up slowly taking over her affairs due to her dementia. We had our "process" in place and over 7 yrs there were plenty of discussions about "is it time to do this for her, too?" We could disagree without damaging the communication lines, while still working together on her care issues.
I received two pieces of advice that have shaped my life and I often recommend to others:
1. Save. Make it a habit and do it! When first starting out after school I'd struggle to pay my monthly expenses, but no matter what I invested $50 each month. It came directly from my checking account and I had no choice but to save. It didn't take long before that amount increased and I'm now well on track for a comfortable retirement.
2. A friend recommended the book "Your Money or Your Life". This clarified for me what was important in my life and aligned my spending with my values and with what's important to me. Over the years this advice has resulted in significant savings and allowed me to leave a high pay / high stress job for something more fulfilling.
thanks so much for sharing, Joan & jkom51!
Be more than a consumer- save for that special event or rainy day, unexpected event. Also share this advice with younger people.
Make sure you have long term care insurance. My grandma needed care for over 17 years, so chances are pretty good that I will need it as well. It feels really good to take care of long term planning!
thanks for sharing, zebrasenior and pianist3!
The key point is that this decision should be strongly based on your family circumstances. Others may be spending excessively for this insurance and may have alternative strategies to cover for them less likely events.
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