Different Takes on the Best Financial Advice Received
I love hearing other people’s take on life and how they got to where they are today. But there always seems to be one thing along the way that you learn that really sticks with you and shapes what you do. It only seemed natural for me to ask some of the well-known financial blogger’s what had really stuck with them throughout their journey.
So I did just that – and 17 very talented financial bloggers from around the internet shared the best financial advice they have ever received. I highly recommend you check out their websites as they have all helped me in one way or another.
Here is what they had to say:
“The best financial advice I ever received was to always ask. I’m a big believer that you can compromise on virtually anything in life, so I make it a priority to always ask and always negotiate. With the mindset that I can negotiate anything, I’ve been able to talk down price off a jacket at a retail store, save hundreds on my rent and earn over $13,000 in raises and bonuses – just because I asked!”
“It’s tough to say what was the best financial advice I ever received. If you asked me at different points in my life, I would have had different answers. But today, at age 45, after having dug myself out of debt and building a huge nest egg, and after reading and writing about personal finance for almost a decade, I think the best advice financial I’ve ever heard is simple: Save half. Structure your life so that you can save half of your income.
A lot of people will argue that it’s impossible to save half, but they’re wrong. Lots of people just like them have found ways to do it. It’s merely a matter of shifting your mindset so that your spending matches your goals and priorities. By boosting your income — through salary negotiation, working a second job, starting a side business — and cutting costs on the big things — especially housing and transportation — you really CAN save half of your income and still enjoy life. The trick is to find ways to make it happen instead of thinking of reasons it can’t. And you know what? As you move toward saving half of your income, you’ll be shocked at how quickly you’re able to meet your financial goals.”
Brandon aka The Mad Fientist
“I’d say the best advice I ever received was from a blog called EarlyRetirementExtreme.com. These aren’t the exact words or anything but the general advice was “If you save really hard for 5 to 10 years, you’ll likely never have to work again.” Before I stumbled on ERE, I had been an above average saver and had a high net worth for my age but once I realized early financial independence was possible, I ramped up my after-tax savings rate to over 70% and now I’m in a position where my investments could cover my expenses forever. Life-changing advice, to say the least!”
“The best financial advice I’ve ever received was probably the one I ignored for too many years from my father when I first got a “real” job out of college. He pestered and pestered me to contribute to my 401(k) and get my employer’s match (free money!!) and when I finally listened my mind was blown. I couldn’t believe I could have an account where money just kept going up, up, up over the years without me lifting a finger! So I kept increasing the % as time went on, and eventually grew my 401(k) from $1,000 to over $200,000 before I went on to self-employment. I’ve learned a handful of great tips ever since, but this was the one that affected me the most.”
“The best financial advice I’ve ever received is just start investing. Many people will do tons or research trying to decide between load or no load mutual funds, ETF’s, dividend stocks, etc and suffer from paralysis by analysis. Start with a small amount and invest into something. Anything. The experience you’ll get from making your first trade is invaluable and you’ll learn more by doing than researching.”
“The best financial advice I’ve received is from Eric at Narrowbridge Finance. When I asked him how he gets such high paying clients, he said that “I just keep raising my rates until someone says no.”
It was so simple and brilliant. I never even thought about it but it changed the way I charge and look for work.”
“The best financial advice I ever received? Keep it real.” Here’s what happened: When I was just emerging from my year without income (well, I made about 13,000….), cash flow was picking up although I had tons of debt and no assets. I decided it was time to move out of the 800 square foot dump we were living in and rent a nicer place. I’d received a free session with a personal coach (I’m sure it was to attempt to get me to hire her….but she didn’t know I had zero money and couldn’t ever afford a coach!). On the free call I told her I was going to rent a better house that was about 1,400 square feet and in a nicer neighborhood. “Why would you do that?” she asked. I was taken aback. “I hate where we live. I can’t stand the fact that things are so bad. I think this’ll make it nicer for my family every day.”
That’s when she gave me the best advice I’ve ever received. She said, “Why would you want to pretend things are great when they aren’t? Why wouldn’t you keep that constant reminder of how bad it sucks right now? Don’t you think you’d be more motivated if that rotten rental house stares you in the face every day?”
Of course, she was right. I changed course immediately, and kept living at the house until we could afford to move to a nice neighborhood AND plan for retirement and college for our young twins. By the way….that only took eighteen months because every day when I pulled in the driveway from work I was SO motivated to make my life better….and not in a way that was just window dressing.”
“The best financial advice I ever received was actually an insight, rather than a direct piece of advice.
I knew a couple that were self-made multimillionaires. I knew that they had come to the US a few years prior with nothing, and somehow they had built substantial wealth. But I didn’t really understand how.
I was caught up in the frugality advice that says what you earn isn’t important, it’s what you keep. So when I saw this couple scrutinizing the grocery receipts, I figured that was how they have become so wealthy.
Then a friend commented that scrutinizing receipts might be a symptom of their attention to money, but frugality alone is not how they built their fortune. Lots of low income people are also frugal, but they don’t turn into millionaires within a few years.
That was when I learned the importance of focusing on your earnings, building multiple sources of income.”
Get an infographic-style version of all of this great advice by downloading the printable “Quick Tips” Guide here.
“The best financial advice I’ve ever received was from David Bach. David preaches automatic savings as a way to actually make savings progress. And it’s worked in my life better than anything. Better than “trying hard” or budgeting. Paying myself first through automatic savings withdrawals has been the game-changer for me. So I say regardless of your current financial situation, stop down right now and setup some automatic savings deposits. They can be small amounts. Just get started.”
“If you want to make real financial progress, get clear on your goals. If you know what you want and why you want it, the financial steps needed to accomplish the goal will be fueled with motivation and power. If you’re simply trying to achieve someone else’s goal for your life, you’ll feel as though your feet are anchored in a bucket of concrete.
When you decide that you don’t really care that much about owning a house but that you really want to backpack around Europe, your previously anemic efforts to save a down payment will be transformed into a Wolverine-like intensity to slash expenses and pile up cash. After all, every $4 you save by avoiding the 15-minute Starbucks coffee guzzle today buys you an idyllic morning sipping espresso in street-side cafe in Florence.
The key is clarity. When goals are real to you, they have power. But, if you’re following someone else’s goals for you…well, let’s just say they might be able to mark their goals as completed but you’ll still be wandering.
I’m not saying that you should avoid the “responsible” things society and we financial planners suggest you consider. But, before you start saving for that mythical idea of “retirement,” wouldn’t it be wise to first figure out how to build a life you don’t want to retire from?
It’s quite simple, really. Pen. Paper. Make a list of everything you want to be, do, or have. Then, figure out how to use the money and time you have to start marking your own goals complete. That’s the starting point for a rich life.”
“Figure out what YOU want from life. Too often, we go along with what society tells us want, whether it’s a certain type of car, a certain number of TVs in the house, or any number of things. Stop spending on what you “should” have, and think about what YOU really want your life to look like. Then put together a financial plan — one that involves saving, investing, and smart spending — that can help you achieve your ultimate goals.”
“My best piece of financial advice was something I learned from my father. He has since passed away, but taught me more about personal finance than anybody. He taught me to be frugal, but to also enjoy the money I earned without going into debt. It’s something I still try to think about and do in my day-to-day-life. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and that can be done without spending a ton of money.”
“The best financial advice I received was from my father, who said: “Always value your time as you do your money!” This quote has resonated with me over the years as I strive to build my wealth and save my money. I’m a huge advocate for doing things yourself and learning how to complete tasks.
Having said that, ever since I became an entrepreneur, I realized that my time is as valuable as my money. I judge how to complete a project based on the hours it would take me versus how much I can pay someone else to do it. If I can make more money in the time it takes to complete the project than what it costs me to hire out the work, then I will hire someone. It’s a basic cost-benefit analysis, but now I just value my time on the same level as my money. In essence, my time is money as I have created systems to make money in my spare time when I want to, not when I need to.”
“When I was getting out of debt..
Dave Ramsey said something like you need a bigger shovel to get out of debt faster.
I was so focused on saving every cent from the budget – I didn’t realize how much MAKING MORE would create a bigger dent.
Once I focused on more revenue in business and more money in extra ways- it not only helped to pay off the debt – it also helped for having money AFTER I paid off the debt!
I created a business that was an asset that keeps on producing. :)”
“The best financial advice I ever received came to me over a period of about 19 years, where I was raised in a household that taught me the value of hard work, honesty, and finding joy in relationships instead of material things.”
“Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment. Your money, budget, debt, and even your career, are not set in stone. Be open to experimenting, trying new tools, applying new strategies, and changing your mindset about money. Be flexible with your spending habits, and work towards creating a lifestyle that makes you happy, not towards having a certain number in the bank. If you’re not thankful for what you have now, what makes you think having more of it will make you happy either? One of the best things I’ve done for my career is to constantly experiment with new ideas and methods. That’s when you really find what works and what doesn’t!”
“There’s a lot of “rich tips” floating around and Geico certainly does a good job helping you save on car insurance but I don’t think there was ever a single tip that changed things for me. The best financial advice I ever got was kinda philosophical and on the face pretty obvious.
My dad told me to be patient and while I could see where he was coming from at the time I only truly understand now in hindsight. I had purchased $3k in Apple stock in 2005. 10 years later that lot is now worth over $60k and while I did certainly get lucky, the most important thing I did was wait patiently doing nothing. There were hundreds of opportunities to sell during that time and often times the “analysts” recommended it.
Most of my investments haven’t done nearly as well but in the past 10 years they have all made money and the huge trick was in just sitting by patiently, ignoring the sensational news and just letting my investments slowly grow. The easy part is putting some money into an investment, the hard part is sitting by and doing nothing. Just being patient.”
Want more of the best personal finance advice tips?
Get an infographic-style version of all of this great advice by downloading the printable “Best Financial Advice” Guide here.