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If married do not get divorced, THE worst financial move, unless your only alternative is jumping off a skyscraper.
I think this is my top 10 12:
Max out your IRA, or 401K, most “stuff” you buy you won’t like or need in a few years, invest in yourself, take your health seriously.
One of my favorite pieces of advice is to save first, and save automatically. Automate as much as possible, so savings and expenses, are taken care. You may have a meager take home paycheck, but you will learn to live on it, and feel really good watching your savings grow.
Second your suggestion for automation. When you don’t have to think of it regularly the savings can be essentially painless, and hopefully when one does look, for example with an annual “tune up”, they find that this pot of money has grown.
Max out your Roth IRA and invest as much as you can in your Roth 401k.
Read the book “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham – twice!
When looking for proven voices of reason on how to think about investing it is the “Bedrock” of value investing and explains about what risks you should consider and how to think about the market.
Do not get a single credit card till you’re certain you can and will pay the full statement balance every month. Running a balance on credit cards, with their exorbitant interest rates, can quickly spell financial ruin as you dig yourself deeper and deeper into the hole.
And when you do get a card, get one with the best rewards. There is great satisfaction in having the credit card bandits pay you every month!
There’s plenty of good advice to offer, like save diligently, diversify broadly, fund your employer’s 401(k) and so on. But I’d probably start with two key phrases: “Keep it simple” and “keep your confidence in check.” It’s all too easy to assume we know where markets are headed, which investments will outperform, what we want from our financial life and what the future holds for us. These assumptions will almost certainly fail the test of time. Faced with that, our best bet is to buy a few simple low-cost investments (think target-date funds, total market index funds, money market funds) and save like crazy.