The best financial advice usually doesn’t stem from a new way of investing, how to get rich quick ideas, or any major revelations that will help you become a multi-millionaire overnight.
That sort of information may be filed under the worst financial advice I’ve ever heard.
The foundation for good financial advice stems from making disciplined, sensible decisions that will ultimately get you to that place of self-sufficiency and help you accumulate an abundance of wealth over time.
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1. Spend Less Than You Earn
Obviously, the inverse of this statement, spend more than you make, isn’t a goal that any of us set out to achieve. Spending more than you make is a recipe for accumulating debt. Making more than your spend gives you the flexibility of paying down your mortgage (and other debts) more quickly. You can then invest the money that didn’t go towards interest, create a passive income earlier on, and take advantage of compounding at an early age.
2. Insure Against The Unexpected
Life is unpredictable. Although leading a healthy lifestyle is important, there’s no guarantee that you won’t get cancer, become disabled at some point over your career, or suddenly pass away.
The time to get insurance is when you’re young and insurable. For one thing, the cost is much less and your health history is less likely to have any black marks on it. Waiting until some significant health event happens in your life, and then applying for insurance, is like having a car accident and then applying for auto insurance. If you’re sick, it’s too late.
I applied for life insurance and disability insurance in my twenties. I’d never heard about Critical Illness insurance so didn’t apply. When I was thirty-nine I had a mole on my head that I had a dermatologist remove and sent off for a biopsy. The results came back, and I found out that it was cancerous. Even though the cancer was caught in its early stages (melanoma is one of the least severe forms of cancer) it still made it difficult for me to reapply for insurance. I was no longer was eligible for Critical Illness insurance.
Recovering from a catastrophic illness can devastate you and your family financially. So apply when you’re young and healthy.
3. Work With A Budget
The key to spending less than you earn is knowing where you stand financially every month. By understanding what you make and what your expenses are, you can minimize what unnecessary or unbudgeted purchases you make every month. Another idea, if you are going to make any unbudgeted purchases of $100 or more, wait twenty-four hours before making it. Chances are that time used to evaluate will help to cease the impulse of purchasing the item.
4. Have Skin In The Game
Whether it’s contributing towards your university or college tuition, or matching your company RRSP contributions at work, having skin in the game will make you more conscious and mindful of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Studies have shown that students that contribute towards their own education are more likely to do well than kids who don’t contribute towards their tuition.
5. Accelerate Paying Down Your Debt
Whether it’s a mortgage, line of credit, or car loan, the m ore you can knock off the principle of the loan, the less interest you will pay over time.
Many believe that if you double your payment on your mortgage, you’ll pay it off in half the time. The real numbers are more like this: If you have a 30-year mortgage and double your payments each month, you will likely be mortgage-free in less than 10 years!
6. Read, Educate And Ask Questions
We’ve talked about the importance of working with a certified financial advisor in previous posts. An advisor can give you tremendous insight into working with a budget, creating a financial plan, and ensuring that your financial goals are being met. What is equally important is that your overall understanding of what and how you’re investing, and the performance of the plan. There are some very complex strategies in the financial services world, so it’s important that you understand the concepts and the risks that you’re comfortable with.
There are also some great books, audiobooks, YouTube videos and podcasts that can help to short-rope your understanding towards financial success. You don’t want to be naively led to the slaughter. It’s important in finances, as in everything in life, to be an informed consumer. Read and ask lots of questions. If you don’t understand how a certain product works, then it may not be the best product for you.