Here are the tips from the article and my commentary:
- "No matter how much or how little you make, always save a little bit." Fully agree. As I've written before, saving is the starting point to creating wealth.
- "Save hard for the first 10 years of your adult life." Agree. If one can do it for ten years, it will be come a habit. My definition of "saving hard" is 12% or more of gross income.
- "Know the difference between needs and wants." Definitely. I am a strong advocate of buying only what I need.
- "Think of the true cost." I didn't understand this one until much later in life. Most of what I have acquired, house, car, collectibles, and other things all have an after purchase maintenance cost. Nowadays, I will choose to rent versus own for items I use infrequently.
- "Live within your means." Simple, timeless, and absolutely essential.
- "Don't pay interest on anything that loses value." Definitely agree for credit cards. In my twenties, I had taken loans for a house, car and education, and would do so again. Nowadays, we pay cash for our cars and plan to fund our child's college education by saving from the time she was one.
- "Don't co-sign a loan." I would co-sign on certain loans, if I received ownership interest, e.g. a home. My parents "co-signed" my first home mortgage. In return, they owned 50% of the of the house. I paid them rent equal to 1/2 of the mortgage and property taxes. Thus, I did cover 100% the loan and they never paid any money.
I would not co-sign a credit card or a car loan.
- "If you need more money, then go out and make more money." I attended college in order to get a higher paying job. About the middle of my career, I also learned it was beneficial to usually accept the offer from the higher paying job.
- Increase one's effectiveness by outsourcing important work to those with greater expertise or efficiency. Although directed at small business owners, it can also apply to personal finance. I use a financial advisor because he can analyze a wide range of investment opportunities more efficiently than me. I know others who use a tax advisor for the same reasons.
- "Own your own business -- including the building it's in." I've never had my own business on which I depended for my livelihood. However, I do know that two of my dad's best investments were real estate properties.
- "Don't gamble more than you can afford to lose." This is a great tip. For me, fear resulting from risking something I can't afford to lose often causes me to make less than optimal decisions.
- Don't hope for luck or others to solve one's financial issues. It's better to learn good financial skills and avoid the issues. Otherwise, one may never become competent in personal finances.
For more on Ideas You Can Use, check back every Tuesday for a new segment.
This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.
Copyright © 2008 Achievement Catalyst, LLC