Money lessons I learned from my mother
“Because they don’t understand their relationship to money”
“The fact is, more money isn’t going to fix anything if your relationship with money is damaged.”
“I never want my own children to experience economic terror.”
“But for money to save you, first, you have to save it.
“Consider value over impulse”
“Keep some money separate for you.”
“Just a steady amount every month, and only in stocks or securities that pay her a dividend or a yield.”
“Don’t spend too much. Mostly save. Always invest.”
Your 90-day number
“Boil your money matters down to one simple number.
“Only include cashflow that’s coming in and coming out, ignore assets.”
“I believe people raised in poverty or with parents who severely mismanaged money can be at an advantage here. They know much clearly what not to do with money; they know what kind of relationship they don’t want with money.”
“Every single thing about your beloved purchase diminishes after you throw it on a credit card — everything except the cost”
“Don’t hang around emotional spenders—friends who subtly pressure you to drop half of your paychecks on those shoes that look so good on you.”
“Put you cards in containers, cover them with water, and throw them in the freezer.”
“Austerity, yes. Deprivation, no.”
“Spend money as long as you pay for it outright, in a guilt-free manner”
“I pledge to make no purchases unless I can answer TRUE to the following FIVE statements”
1. I have given this purchase sufficient thought.
2. Buying this item will not create debt for me or anyone else.
3. I not only want this item, I need it.
4. This item is more valuable than the interest I’d earn if I saved the money instead.
5. This item will matter to me in a year.
Save your Money, Save your Life
“The stress of debt and financial hardships takes a serious toll on our health, on our relationships, and on our ability to earn the money to get out of that hole.”
“Financial health and personal health are deeply related”
“As you earn more income, remain exactly where you’re at. With every exponential increase in your salary, don’t match it with lifestyle spending.”
“Really wealthy people find that set point of “enough” and then they rarely exceed it.”
“Big money rarely dies suddenly. It’s usually drained away over long periods of time, bit by bit, penny by penny, so slowly it’s hardly noticeable.”
“I want you to start being haunted by Ghost Money, to feel its loss when you spend on unnecessary items.”
“I believe in Money Karma. If you spend a wad of cash on cappuccinos and magazines in your twenties, there’s a good chance you’ll be serving coffee or working at a newsstand in your seventies to pay for your retirement”
“Give, don’t lend.”
“You must think of your money as the very blood that runs through your body. It’s that vital.”
“You must say no on behalf of your money.”
“After becoming keenly aware of the money the Ghost Money you’re creating and pledging to stop creating more, put that money you’ve saved back into a Ghost Money fund. Change is so much easier to institute when you can see the results.”
Invest Right, Invest Now
Start investing when you’re free of consumer debt.
1. Never invest in a security/stock that doesn’t pay a dividend or interest.
2. Always save a consistent portion of your income.
3. Spend the interest, never the principal.
Ask yourself these questions:
“Who is paying you to wait?”
“ What is this company giving you in exchange for holding on to your money?”
“CEOs of companies that don’t pay a dividend aren’t thinking about the shareholder as a top priority. They’re thinking about themselves. They’re thinking about profits, their benefits.”
“Never invest more than 5 percent into any one stock and never more than 20 percent in any one sector.”
“Only bonds comprising corporate debt — average duration of less than 5 years. Find a good financial advisor to help you.”
“More bonds when you’re getting older by transferring off from stocks. Age = % of bonds. 5% gold as stabilizer.”
“I don’t recommend that real estate compose more than 20% of any investment portfolio.
“Real estate : … the only way it really works as an investment is if there are no mortgage on that investment. “
“Beans now, steak later.”
“The two traits most wealthy people possess: A joyful frugality balanced by a painful aversion to debt.”
5 investment rules to live by:
1) Diversify : 5% max in a stock. 20% max in a sector.
2) Dividends : No dividends, no dollars
3) Understand what you’re investing :
4) Don’t be greedy — buy and hold
5) Don’t believe hypes
“In fact, wealthy people often know exactly what they’re worth, right down to the last dollar in their wallet. They usually got rich because of meticulous money habits.”
“You’re powerless over things which you remain willfully ignorant”
“Teach your kids value first. Offer to pay up for a portion of a better quality item, one that will last longer and do more, if they can save up for their part.”
“Teach them the difference between a need and a want.”
“Time is on your side, but not when you’re a consumer.”
“Don’t tell others about your Secret 10.”
“Make saving as important as brushing your teeth.”
“Good money boundaries, understanding who pays for what.”
“It’s importatnt to tell your kids that credit cars are good for only 2 things : to save you from having to carry cash and to establish a credit rating.”
“When planning finances and setting aside money for special occasions and shared purchases, include the kids as soon as possible.”
“Begin to show them how and why to set aside a certain amount in savings. Show them how to budget their money so it lasts.”
“Kids pick up on their parents’ attitude about money.”
The high cost of higher education
“It’s not a break between childhood and adulthood, or an opportunity to take it easy before real life kicks in.”
“You have the time, you’re just not allocating it properly.”
“Deal with balance and quality-of-life issues when you’re out of debt”
“Only 43% of jobs require a degree. Don’t forget that 100% of student loans have to be paid back.”
Boomers and boomerangs
“That’s how true self-esteem is established : by doing estimable acts for others, not by hearing how amazing and wonderful you are from people who are going to say those things no matter what.”
“Don’t move back to your parents’ house when times are tough. Instead, borrow from your parents and promise to pay them back at a certain interest rate.”
“If you did move back, give yourself a deadline to move out. Have it in writing before you request to move back. Offer to pay for something. Help around in the house. Find old friends and look for a job.”
“Getting your deadbeat kid out of the basement is tough love at its harshest, but it’s truly the only way.”
10 steps to kick your kids out:
1. United front
2. Charge rent at market price
3. Set eviction date.
4. Car keys only for house/job search
5. Don’t pay for their bills
6. Treat them like a landlord
7. No free meals, laundry, cleaning services.
8. Remind yourself it’s all good.
9. Change the locks
10. Sell the house.
Young love and money
“Earning money isn’t the same thing as having money.”
“Work like a dog when you’re young, you’re not going to be able to when you’re old”
“Fifty to sixty hour work week, not forever, just for now”
“As long as you have student loans, you live like a student”
“Grow your money, not your lifestyle.”
“Talk money, the sooner the better”
“Guy pays for first date, girl offers on second date”
“ Take turns paying for stuffs”
“Split according to earning power.”
“Sign a cohabitation agreement to protect any assets that you bring to the arrangement and keep you from absorbing any of your partner’s poor financial decisions.”
“Create a will when you decide to live with someone”
“Don’t move in together because you think it’ll better prepare you for marriage and diminish your chances of divorce. That’s a myth… I suggest you do it only if you are indeed planning to get married.”
“Get over your fear of talking about money as soon as possible.”
10 Questions to ask:
4. Bankruptcy/Credit Rating
5. Borrowing from friends/family?
6. Gambling habits
7. Pension/retirement plans
9. Student loans
10. Spending habits
“What you’re looking for is balance. Neither too cheap or too generous. He or she doesn’t throw away money, but also doesn’t hoard it.”
“Dating is a time of discovery.”
Marriage and Money
“It wasn’t so long ago that marriage was only about money.”
“Encourage open communication between couples about money, before they take the big plunge… Sidelining money discussions before marriage, at any income level, is dangerous. And prenuptials arrangements can go a long way toward exposing and sometimes amending these issues.”
“Remember, the most important financial decision you’ll ever make is who you’ll marry.”
“You must both agree to delay big purchases until debt is paid off.”
“If you can’t talk about money, what other important subjects are off-limits?”
“Prenup as possible insurance against probable change.”
“Prenup as a way to rationally consider the worst while you still really love your partner.”
“Say no to sunset clauses.”
“Call your lawyer only when you have an important legal question, and never, ever use your lawyer as a therapist. It’s too expensive!”
“Sleep together, keep your money apart. Keep your own savings and investment accounts.”
“Open a joint checking account in which you’re each responsible to deposit a certain amount from your paychecks. Use that account to pay bills. ”
“ Be separately responsible for your own debts, and jointly responsible for any debts incurred in the marriage. You’re doing this to preempt disaster. Delay the wedding until the debt was gone, marry someone else, or pay off the debt as a gift.”
“If you’re not going to have kids, don’t get married.”
“Don’t marry anyone you’d be afraid to divorce.”
“Couples may think they’re creating “lasting memories”, but what they’re really doing is creating a one-day spectacle to show off status they don’t have”
“The focus was exactly where we wanted it to be: on us, our close friends and family, and our commitment to each other.”
“Memories are created by people, not products.”
10 ways to minimize wedding expenses:
1. No engagement rings
2. No bands, just do a DJ.
3. No honeymoon: stay at your friend’s house.
4. No flowers.
5. Get married in the weekdays.
6. Minimize guest list.
7. LOTS OF ALCOHOL!
8. Money rituals.
9. No bridemaids, groomsmen.
10. Don’t get a divorce.
House poor, House rich
“While a home is an important investment in anyone’s portfolio, it must be seen in a different category from most investments… So it should be considered as a safety net, not your primary investment.”
“Historically, house prices have tracked inflation,meaning that a dollar invested in your home today will still be a worth a dollar when your great-grandchildren inherit it.”
“Mortgages are banks’ number one moneymakers, they’re easy to get and hard to get out of.”
“A home is a good long-term beg, not a short-term investment.”
“If you don’t have the fortitude to cope with the insatiable costs of a house, you’re better off renting.”
“If you have debt, you should rent.”
“Invest the difference between rent and theoretical mortgage payment.”
“There is no scenario in which you will be guaranteed a higher return on your investment than if you pay down your mortgage. ”
“Switch to biweekly payments. It will have you making an extra mortgage payment every year without even feeling it.”
“Round up your payments too.”
10 ways to renovate:
1) Count on paying at least 20% above budget.
2) DIY: painting
3) Do your own shopping.
4) Apply for proper permits.
5) Pick your rooms.
6) Buy smarter: discounts available for contractor ( up to 20%)
7) Hire architects for blueprint.
8) Pay cash
9) Go easy.
10) Put it up for sale: do small renovation : painting, regrout, toilet seat, shower curtain.
Cash in the Cradle
“If you’re ambivalent about the idea of parenting, and especially if money is a real concern, consider not having kids at all. No kids mean more money to save, invest and retire on.”
“Used stuffs from friends and family that are still in good conditions”
“Your first no matters. It lays the groundwork for all future financial negotiations with your kids, so it’s go to have strength.”
“Before your children participate in the adult consumer culture, they must be taught about money, its value, and who holds the purse strings in the family. And they must know it’s not them.”
5 ways to minimize baby-spending madness:
1) Clothes: Cotton onesies
2) Strollers : Used
3) Daycare: family/friends. Pay them.
4) Toileteries: No-frills.
5) Toys : newspaper, cardboard boxes.
Avoiding Money Pits
“The first price is never the final price”
“If you’re driving an older vehicle whose resale value is less of a concern, skip collision coverage. It’s often cheaper for you to pay for the ding out of pocket than to pay for the insurance cost over time.”
“Buy a home near all the amenities you need.”
“Leasing a car means there is certainty.”
“Skip that huge outlay of cash, or put it toward a true investment.”
“If you want to go cheap, buy the diamond separate from the setting and bargain hard for both.”
“Gyms are expensive social clubs.”
“If you really want to get fit and save some money, start walking everywhere. “
“Boot camps in parks and informal running clubs : no monthly fees, pay-as-you-sweat $15-$20/class.”
4 money pits to avoid:
1. Vacation property : consider renting.
2. Swimming pools.
3. Expensive sports: unless they’re really talented.
4. Special diet plans: just go consult your doctor/nutritionist for a diet plan.
Midlife and Money Karma
“Altruistic people live longer, healthier and happier lives. “
“A pet is an expensive story with an expensive ending.”
“Adopt your animal from a reputable shelter where it’s sure to be spayed or neutered and arrive with all its shots. Or better yet, volunteer as a dog walker at your local Humane society. Or foster an animal…”
“If all else fails, get a fish.”
“The only companies that don’t suffer much during hard economic times are those in the beauty industry.”
“You’re going to get old anyway, so why waste money avoiding the inevitable? Instead be graceful about getting old, because when it comes to feeling youthful, vital, and energized, no amount of Botox beats money in the bank.”
“Some people aren’t cut out to for marriage.”
“The best way to minimize cost is to seek as much parity as possible before lawyers get involved. Counseling and mediation are infinitely cheaper.”
“With caution, respect and whatever amount of love you can still conjure from the early days you were together. It’s hard to believe, but the person you’re pulling away from was once the love of your life, if you can exercise a bit of compassion, it’ll go a long way toward reducing the most painful costs, especially if you’re the one pulling away”
“As for property and marital home, even if you paid for the whole thing, it’s usually divided equally. “
“Seek expert financial guidance to divide assets. Don’t do this yourself. Property settlements are final and can’t be renegotiated. Rewrite and refile a will.”
“Find someone who has a collaborative experience.. The goal of a collaborative divorce is to avoid court at all costs, regardless of how acrimonious things might get.
“Anytime there’s a financial disparity of any kind between a couple, caution must be exercised.”
“The only surefire way to “out” a gold digger is to slap a prenup”
“Overreaching is a legal way of saying he build a legal fortress around his fortune, one that would be impenetrable even to a clever judge.”
How to spot a gold digger:
1. Living beyond their means
2. No goals in life
3. Bring up money way too soon.
4. Expect you to pay for everything.
5. Hinting at things they’d like you to purchase for them.
6. Older dates
7. Cagey about discussing future/past.
8. Less interested if you stop the free stuffs.
9. Won’t sign a prenup.
Debt, divesting, downsizing
“The best antidote to panic is realism”
“If you hit the age of 65 in good health, life is just going to be a lot cheaper to live. If you’re realistic.”
“Retire debt before you retire. If you have debt, you need your job, so you have to do everything in your power to keep it.”
“When you’re sixty years old, broke, and contemplating a sparse retirement, you start thinking about all that stupid crap you bought when you were younger. You have to stop that cycle of regret. It leads to a hopelessness that can only trigger inaction and depression. That money’s gone and buried.”
“ If you’re single or widowed, consider getting a roommate or a student boarder. Radically cut down on all your expenses.”
“Be closer to your family, all the better. You’re going to need their help and they may need yours.”
“But don’t skimp on insurance or extra health care benefits, such as dental and a prescription drug plan. This is the decade when health surprises aren’t really surprises.”
“Get used to deprivation before you’re deprived. You’re trying on what it feels like to live within your new means.”
“More important, start making new friends. It’s never too late. You still need a social life and a new connection to people your own age. Life’s not over. This is just a new phase.”
“Even if you’re mortgage-free, you’re not expense-free.”
“Sell your home. Get an apartment or condo— something you buy outright, so that your only output is the monthly fee”
“If you have debt, sell as much stuff as you can before you downsize”
“Hire financial advisor, either fee-based or someone who will manage your money for 1 percent or less per year.”
“No inheritances, not a dime, until: You’re completed covered financially for the rest of your own long life, accounted for your own emergencies, big and small, paid off all your debts and funeral, and accounted for well-deserved fun and freedom.”
“If your retirement plans don’t include having someone to look after you if you become too old or sick to do it yourself, you don’t have enough money to give to your kids. Please don’t assume your children will be able willing to take on the task of looking after you when you’re unwell, let alone have you move in with them. They may be in no position to do that, and you don’t want to place that burden on them anymore than they want to take it on.”
“Dealing with long-term care of our elderly is a decision that’s always going to be fraught with emotions.”
“Pay ahead in advance (if you can).
“In a time of grief, the first skill that goes out the window is decision-making, so it’s always good to bring someone else, a trusted friend, with you when making arrangements.”
“If a funeral home says you must buy a casket from their company, find another funeral home. The markup on an average coffin is between 300 and 500 percent.”
“There’s nothing more disrespectful to the dead than using the inheritance they intended as proof of their love for you to line the pockets of strangers.”
10 Crucial Financial Questions you must ask about late-in-life care:
1. How much money do you have?
2. Do you want to be resuscitated?
3. What kind of care do you expect?
4. Are you expecting to live with your children if you can’t live independently?
5. What are your financial expectations of family?
6. What will happen if you’re less mobile?
7. What other income/subsidies are you eligible for?
8. Are you willing to move?
9. Are you papers (will) in order?
10. What do you want your financial legacy to be? ( trust?power of attorney?)
Getting to enough
“When you get to a place of “enough”, you will stop having money problems”
“Another way to generate a sense of having enough is to cultivate gratitude for what you do have.”
“The best part about getting older is this: If you have lived a full life, if you’ve made mistakes and learned from them, and if you’re lucky enough to surround yourself with people who really know you and love you, something magical happen — material things no longer matter as much. What does begin to matter are the things in life that are free — things like love, respect and integrity— and no amount of money can buy you those.”