Financial wisdom is not intrinsic to the mind, it’s learned. Most people who are brilliant with their finances received at least some third-party guidance. Maybe they absorbed the knowledge from a parent or grandparent. Or perhaps they pursued it on their own by reading personal finance books, blogs and magazines.
Either way, if you’re not doing well financially, you’re probably ready for some advice that makes sense. Here are 28 unique bits of financial brilliance from around the web, each linking back to a source article containing further instruction and insight. Enjoy.
I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something.
– Jackie Mason
- Stop buying “stuff” you do not need! – “Purchases of a few hundred dollars add up quickly to thousands of dollars. On top of that, if you carry a balance on your credit card, you will pay on average 12% to 14% interest. These rates can skyrocket quickly if you are late on even one payment. In addition, you may become subject to late fees and penalties. All this to get something that isn’t even used or enjoyed. No thank you!” – via My Super-Charged Life
- Start rolling an income snowball. – “Most people know how they’d make money in an ideal world. The problem is that most of these “ideal” schemes require lots of time, planning, risk taking, etc. On the other hand, most of us have skills that we could implement tomorrow to make money independent of an employer (this could be anything from doing landscape to hiring ourselves out as a consultant). So the first step in creating an income snowball is to write a list of things you can do to make money in ascending order of difficulty and speed of implementation.” – via The Growing Life
- A car lasts longer than 5 years. Stop wasting your money! – “Cars are simply a method of basic transportation…that’s all they are. They are assembled hunks of metal sitting on four tires designed for the purpose of transporting us safely from point A to point B. I doubt Henry Ford ever envisioned the kind of luxuries we see in today’s automobile – voice activated radio controls, heated leather seats, heads up displays, and backup cameras installed in bumpers. If families invested the $400 a month wasted on new cars into a good, growth stock mutual fund for 30 years they could easily retire millionaires. Hope you like the car!” – via Frugal Dad
- Live within your means. – “When you spend less than you make, you are buying flexibility and freedom. You gain the ability to change jobs or move to another area of the country. You are buying the ability to say yes to the things that matter because you save on the areas that aren’t as important to you.” – via Productivity501
- Debt can make you money. It’s called good debt. – “Would you take a million dollar loan at 1% interest? I would. I’d immediately put it in a few interest baring accounts that are FDIC insured (I say a few because FDIC insurance doesn’t cover a whole million). At today’s rates, which are historically pretty low, you can make a guaranteed 3% on that money. That means the debt naysayers would be missing out on 2% of a million dollars, $20,000 a year.” – via Lazy Man and Money
- Money management can have many positive side effects. – “My husband and I both work out our finances together. I’m still the budget maker and bill payer in the family, but since we make the decisions on how the money is allotted, we have to make the time to communicate, come to an agreement, and project our monthly financial plans. We’re more unified in our marriage than we’ve ever been.” – via simple mom
- If you don’t have an emergency fund, start one now! – “It’s better to be safe than sorry. Nobody can anticipate when the roof will have to be repaired or an appliance will need to be replaced. The idea is to try to find ways to live below your means so that you can save for retirement and other long-term goals but at the same time make it a priority to set money aside in the event an urgent need arises.” – via Everything Finance
- Financial freedom only solves small problems. – “You know what really determines our happiness levels? Not money, but how optimistic we are and how often we have monogamous sex. Money cannot solve big problems, like cancer or world hunger or happiness. Money solves small problems, like, can you have a big wedding, can you go on a good trip. Small problems are what people talk about when they talk about financial freedom.” – via Brazen Careerist
- Financial calculators are your friend. Use them! – “In various posts I have referenced financial calculators that I like. I’m going to put them all in one post so they are easy to find for reference. As I find more, I’ll add them to this list.” – via My Dollar Plan
- There is no specific template for business success. – “Living a life that’s not based on a template and being true to yourself may not mean paving a road in the sky like the Wright Brothers. However, if you tell everyone you want to start your own business, you will be doubted. They’ll tell you everything that’s wrong with your idea and why it won’t work: You have no experience. You’ve never run a business before, what do you know about sales? It takes money to make money. Almost no one starting their first business knows exactly what they are doing.” – via Illuminated Mind
- Carrying a credit card is safer than carrying cash. – “The maximum liability for unauthorized use of a credit card is $50 according to federal law. The Fair Credit Billing Act protects you from suffering damages due to unauthorized use of your credit card. If you report a lost or stolen card before anyone uses it, you are not responsible for any charges. If you do not report it before an unauthorized use you are liable for a maximum of $50.” – via The Consumerist
- There are numerous ways to make money on the side. – “The old phrase “spend less than you earn” is made up of TWO factors: spending and earning. Sure you can reduce your spending by a great deal, but very few people have saved their way to wealth. They have also earned additional income and then put that money to work for them.” – via The Wisdom Journal
- Dream big! It will motivate you to save. – “We know that we want to retire early, but that goal is completely intangible. If I try really hard, I can conjure up an image of me waking with a sense of freedom to simply work when the mood strikes, but that dream isn’t very action-oriented. On the other hand, I can feel the wind in my hair as I dodge my husband (cackling wildly behind me) around a tree on our custom go-kart track. Now that’s some good motivation to live simply and keep saving!” – via On Simplicity
- Financial intelligence is your most lucrative financial asset. – “Before investing in real estate or the stock market, invest in yourself by developing your own financial intelligence. As they say, knowledge is power.” – via The Change Blog
- Concentrate on your passions and money will follow. – “Making money isn’t the backbone of our guiding purpose; making money is the by-product of our guiding purpose.” If you’re doing something you love, you’re more likely to put your all into it, and that generally equates to making money. – Warren Buffett – via Success Soul
- Some sunken costs are worth letting go of. – “Persisting with bad decisions due to our irrational attachment to costs that we cannot recover has become so common that you can find them just about anywhere. Big organizations and governments excel at it. A government that insists on a war so the lives already spent “are not wasted” comes to mind, but I digress…” – via Litemind
- The best things are free. Money cannot buy happiness. – “You’ve heard the saying ‘The best things in life are free.’ Do you believe it? Spending time with family and friends, laughing, enjoying the antics of a pet, seeing a child smile, experiencing intimate and heart-felt moments with a loved one – these times are precious, and free. Money brings comfort, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying that comfort. But it’s important to spend money on the things that matter to you and let go of spending that does not add value to your life. We spend on what we need, but we forget why we are doing what we’re doing, and the spending becomes a habit.” – via Think Simple Now
- There are scores of simple ways to reduce spending. – “Use grocery store bags to line trash cans: This may not work if you use a massive trash can but we use a small sized one for which the grocery bags are a perfect fit. This not only helps us save some money, but reduces our environmental foot print and avoids the kitchen from stinking from a huge overflowing trash can.” – via Dumb Little Man
- Wealth comes with wealthy thinking. – “Ask yourself, right now, how much you think you are worth in terms of your employment. I can almost guarantee you the figure you came to was based on your current salary. Now add a ‘0’ onto the end of the figure you came to; how does that make you feel? If you thought ‘there is no way I am worth that’, then you are a poor thinker.” – via Change Your Thoughts
- Be careful when lending money to friends and family. – “It’s age old advice for a reason. The problem with lending money to loved ones is this: If you lend serious cash to someone you care about, you still expect it back right? Sometimes the people we care about expect the relationship you have with them to excuse or “forgive” loans that you have no intention of forgetting about… especially if you can’t afford to. Tempers flare, words fly like knives, and those knives sever relationships. Sometimes those wounds heal, and sometimes the damage is permanent.” – via In My Heels
- Spending less keeps you grounded to what matters most. – “I like being frugal, living simply, spending less than I have to because it keeps me real. It keeps me grounded. Adds humility to my life. It’s like sticking my fingers in my ears and sticking my tongue out at pretentious people who think money is all that defines a person. I don’t want to be flashy and flaunty and feel the need to show what I have or make to find worth in myself. If that’s how I am trying to value myself, I might as well give up now, because it makes me worthless.” – via Remodeling This Life
- Bike to work… or anywhere for that matter. – “I bike somewhere between one and three times a week to work. It’s a nine mile ride one way. Taking in the cost of gas in our area (currently $3.85/gallon), and wear and tear on the car, I estimate I save close to $4.50 each day that I ride my bike. And this does not take into account any residual health benefits that will down the road in life make the cost of any potential health care I might need lower due to being in better physical condition. Cost savings alone should make biking at least a consideration for anyone who lives within a few mile of their work location.” – via The Jungle of Life
- Sit on purchases for at least 24 hours. – “When making a large purchase, it’s far too easy to get caught up in the emotions of having the item, which results in bad decisions. For any large purchase like a car, TV, new furniture, laptop, etc. implement a 24 hour rule. Instead of buying the item right away, go home and wait 24 hours to see how you feel about it. Chances are you’ll talk yourself out it, or maybe decide to purchase something a little less expensive.” – via Gather Little By Little
- Don’t fall victim to advertising tactics. – “Big companies try many tricks to get us to buy goods we don’t really need. For example, don’t be swayed by 50% sales promotions; just because it is on sale doesn’t mean it’s good value or that you need to buy it. Don’t get excited over every 3 for the price of 2; otherwise you will just start to accumulate things you are never going to use. If you feel pressured by salesman, walk out — if you really want the product you can always come back.” – via Pick The Brain
- Untargeted capital allows for a flexible lifestyle. – “Some people target all their saving and investing at something in particular–buying a computer, buying a new car, putting a down payment on a house, sending the kids to college. These are all worthy goals, but the sequence of them can easily eat up all your savings for virtually your entire life. I think people who do this miss out on certain large advantages that come from having some untargeted capital. Having a little capital saves you buckets of money. It also gives you a lot of flexibility in how you live your life.” – via Wise Bread
- You have to decide what you really want. – “What would you like your net worth to be? When would you like to retire? How much money do you need to finance your life goals? What investments would you like to make? Are you going to create multiple streams of income? Are you going to invest in stocks and/or bonds? Are you going to invest in real estate? Are you going to hire a financial planner? Is your goal to create enough passive income so that you don’t have to work another day in your life?” – via Abundance Blog
- Discuss money openly with your partner. – “Money can’t buy you love, but it sure can tear it apart. And while I can’t claim that my wife and I are perfect when it comes to money and relationships, I can say that we’ve come a long way, and we rarely ever have money disagreements anymore. It wasn’t always that way, and we’ve had our share of fights along the way, but we’re in a much more solid relationship these days because we learned how to talk about money, and how to align our financial goals.” – via Zen Habits
- Saving your health can help you save your wealth. – “How many motorcyclists, bicyclists, skateboarders, etc. do see foolishly blazing around without wearing any form of protective body gear? It’s your life. A quality bicycle helmet will cost you $40 and 2 seconds of your time to put it on before you ride. If you don’t wear one and end up crashing and cracking your head open, it could cost you thousands of dollars in medical bills and take months, if not years, for your body to fully recover.” – via Marc and Angel Hack Life 😉
Photo by: TW Collins
Creating financial order in your life is one of the best things you can do to reduce stress, have peace of mind, and be on your way to living your optimal life. You’ve collected a lot of good advice here. Thank you for the link!
[email protected] says
Thanks for the mention. There is a lot of truth in the words you’ve collected here. The kicker is WILL WE PUT THEM INTO ACTION?
Sara at On Simplicity says
Thanks for including me! I never would’ve guessed that out of the whole blog, that’s the paragraph that resonated with you, but I’m definitely glad it did!
Love the idea for the article (and I am not just saying that because I received a mention 🙂 ). You’ve introduced me to a couple of new sites that look very interesting…
Frugal Dad says
I loved the messages in this post, and the unique way you presented such a great collection of quotes from other writers. Thanks for including me.
Very cool collection of wisdom. Glad to have been included! Thanks!
Flora M Brown, Ph.D. says
Thanks for this great list of financial wisdom. Your last point, #28, reminds me of my mother’s advice about not being pennywise and pound foolish. She believed that it made more sense to spend more on something of quality that will last than go for the cheapest alternative that will soon fall apart.
This is a great reference list you’ve put together! And, thanks for including me amongst all these fine writers.
Now, I’m off to check some of these out…
Point number 3 about not wasting money on a car is actually a direct quote from Dave Ramsey. (see DaveRamsey.com)
Great list of articles! Thanks for including mine.
@Everyone except Bill:
You all rock! Keep up the wonderful writing!
I’m not sure what part of #3 you are refering to. This piece came from Frugal Dad, not Dave Ramsey.
Very comprehensive list. A lot of the ideas ring true to the book “The Millionaire Next Door”. Thanks for compiling the list!
There’s some real good advice in here. Am also finding some new interesting sites.
I have to disagree strongly with number 8, as quite the opposite is true. A person with huge plans to make positive change in the world isn’t going to get that far without some dough.
Look at Gates, Buffet, Oprah. They’re all doing awesome things for this world, but would they even be able to come close to achieving what they have without their power and money?
When it comes right down to it, big changes require the right minds and inevitably big $.
Michael Hassler says
Great stuff – save cash, by simply not buying all the junk you don’t need anyway. Though you should still hold on to yourself, and keep dreams B I G.
This is the kind of advice we need in these times of economical crisis.
Bill in Detroit says
#20 carries an extra whammy.
If relatives come to you for money, it is usually because other lenders have already determined them to be poor credit risks.
If the banks don’t want anything to do with them, why should you?
If the loan is for anything other than the essentials of life, loan them only what you can in good conscience throw away.
If it is for the essentials of life, make certain that they are not keeping the cable tv, designer clothes and leased SUV while asking you for money for food. They’ve got to do -their- best, too, or the ‘tide me over’ loan will only foster their continuing financial irresponsibility.
Swap Savers says
Great post! In relation to the credit cards you can also earn a lot of money with cash back cards (of course you need to pay your balance in full every month).
Great post. After recently relocating and all the turmoil with the economy, my wife and I are trying to simplify our living and thus our spending. Trying to keep up with the Joneses is too much work!
Good read. In my opinion financial wisdom comes from experiences (most bad and then good). Bad experiences can teach you to avoid the mistakes you made in the past and gain financial power.