Personal finance - What advice would you give your younger self

Came across a Business Insider article listing a recent retiree’s list of advice he would give his 35 year old self. His top 3?

  1. Max out retirement savings
  2. Live simply, spend less
  3. Talk openly to his partner about money

What advice would you give your younger self?

Article link: https://www.businessinsider.com/retiree-wishes-he-saved-more-spent-less-and-talked-money-with-wife

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Smart. I like those. How about-- always pay off your credit card balance every month, don’t pay interest…have an emergency fund for unexpected expenses.

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I like those too, Karen. That emergency fund always feels like a game of catch up for me these days!

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Personally, I have 2. One is read everything about your benefits at every job. Even if you think you can’t afford it, if an employer offers 401K matching, contribute up to their match. Otherwise, you’re leaving money on the table.

Second is, you’ve gotten through every financial obstacle you’ve faced so far. Save to prevent obstacles, but worry less about, “How will it all work out?”

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The most important one is try to prevent debt. Rather create a pre-saving bucket. Waiting to buy things with money you have is so much cheaper than buying things with money you don’t have.

The other one is put money aside in a place where it is inaccessible to withdraw it easily

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INVEST INVEST INVEST.

if you keep your money in a bank account you are literally losing money as deflation and inflation take their natural trajectory. You have to make your money work hard for you. compound interest is your moneys best friend.

Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks

don’t take credit (mortgages excepted) period. If you cant afford it don’t buy it

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

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actually i just had another thought.

I had a damn good time as a young guy. it wasn’t financially very rewarding but you’ve got the rest of your life to worry about money.

I’d tell myself that. Just enjoy yourself…it wont last :rofl:

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That’s a tough one… I’m waiting for Elon Musk to branch out into high st banks. I would expect the
first one to be on Mars. Now, that would really be a way to make your cash inaccessible.:money_with_wings::100::point_up:

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Well that is a bit more inaccessible than I was thinking :slight_smile:

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After watching sci-fi movies, invest in those companies you forsee to achieve those technologies, be patient and stick with them!

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I put some money into a little tech startup called skynet that seems quite promising…

What could possibly go wrong? :thinking:

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I love this topic, it’s a good exercise to consciously think retrospectively, and then apply from today going forwards, not just when it comes to life.

I’ve lost and made money on investments over the years, a mixed bag. Some thoughts that immediately spring to mind;

  • research is key obviously, where I have won it has been where I have read extensively on the subject and have a solid to expert understanding. The old adage ‘never invest in what you don’t understand’ certainly rings true. Where I have made impulsive decisions, or have been ‘sold’ investments they have inevitably back fired. If it feels too good to be true, it usually is.

  • Knowledge gives your the power to anticipate the future, by understanding the underlying fundamentals it gives you better insight to what will likely happen and ‘get ahead of the curve’. If you are coming in to an investment opportunity late and once it has become mainstream then you have missed the boat. Those that came into buy to let property, crypto, gold etc. before the booms happened made money, those that came in once that knowledge became mainstream loose. If the man in the pub starts to tell you about Bitcoin, you know it’s time to sell:’) So when I’m thinking about investment opportunities I always think what are the emerging growth opportunities over next 5 and 10 years and get in position well ahead, then enjoy the ride. So timing is key.

  • I’m echoing some of the above comments above, but I would advocate getting rid of all debt first before investing (mortgages aside which are arguably ‘good debt’ since against an asset), avoid consumer credit as always v expensive and once in high debt very hard to get out, it’s designed that way!

  • Max out on tax free govt. support initiatives, so in the UK that would be ISAs. And if a company is matching on pensions, then maximise your contributions to enjoy the benefit of that (this one I didn’t do and now regret!)

  • Diversification is key, obvious point but so many people miss it. Again, another one I didn’t learn until later in life and wish had done when I was younger. I put everything I could into property when I was younger and then 2008 hit, ouch! Not only across asset classes, but geographies too…

  • compound interest is key and can only be achieved by income generating asset classes e.g. dividends on stocks. Also, be aware of fees and exactly what paying for, over time they can significantly eat into your returns

  • always take account of inflation in your country i.e. what is the real rate of return

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I think (particularly with property but also applies to other investments I guess) once you have an idea of value of your asset always try to be in a position to sell on your terms. When 2008 hit many people list money because they HAD to sell. The people that rode it out and sold after or, better still, bought during the dip, made money.

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Buy the dips! How did I forget that one :man_facepalming:t2:

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Some themes emerging around our best financial advice to ourselves:

  1. Avoid Debt
    a. Pay off credit cards, from @KarenM and @Think_Pynk
    b. Buy with money you have, from @Maurice and @Al_Wallace
  2. Have an emergency fund, from @KarenM
    a. Make savings difficult to access, from @Maurice
  3. Take advantage of employer retirement matching, from me and @Think_Pynk
  4. Make money work for you
    a. Earn interest on your reserves, from @Al_Wallace and @Think_Pynk
    b. Take calculated risks, from @Al_Wallace
    c. Invest in future tech, from @Tradelta and @Think_Pynk
    d. Do your research, from @Think_Pynk
    e. Capitalize on your expertise, from @Think_Pynk
    f. Maximize tax incentives, from @Think_Pynk
    g. Buy the dips, from @Think_Pynk
  5. Diversify yo’ bonds (:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: sorry I couldn’t resist), from @Think_Pynk
  6. Learn from mistakes, from @Al_Wallace
  7. Stress less, from me and @Al_Wallace

Thanks everyone. I’m sure there’s more out there, keep the advice coming!

This whole discussion also begs follow up questions. For example, how would you communicate your advice to your younger self? I’m considering some follow-up discussions to continue fleshing out the advice we’re generating. Stay tuned!

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Here are some to add to your list @Think_Pynk.

  • Live within your means, or below your means. (Think Warren Buffet)
  • Don’t spend frivolously (sorry guys, that includes Lambos) :scream:
    How to communicate advice to yourself: make your list, refer back to it often until it becomes a habit. Check yourself every 6 months to see that you are still on track with your list. Make any necessary adjustments.
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How to communicate this advice to a younger me?
Knowing how unlikely I was to listen to any kind of advice from anyone as a young man I’d probably have to use water boarding or some other kind of torture :rofl:

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You guys have said it all. Since I am still young, I will take the advice for myself. :smile: Thanks for sharing

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Hey @kaabayahaya, being that you are ‘young’, had you heard of some of these tips yet?

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