Best Financial Advice You Wish You’d Taken

August 21, 2009

What’s the best financial advice that you’ve heard, but then ignored?  Can you think of a piece of advice that you wish you had followed?

Of course, you may have more than one but what’s the discarded advice that really sticks out in your mind, or that would have had the biggest financial impact?

Here are some good questions to ask:

  • Why didn’t you take the advice?
  • Do you see now why it was valuable?
  • Will you ever heed the advice?

I can think of more than one for myself but the prinicple that sticks in my head most is one that I totally ignored about 10 years ago.  I knew I was supposed to diversify my investments but the tech market was going gangbusters.  As a new college graduate with a good computer programming job and few expenses I opened an online brokerage account and plowed a lot of my salary into tech companies.

Of course you all know how that story ended.  After the tech buble burst and my hard earned money evaporated with it I learned my lesson, diversify dummy!

What about you? What’s the best financial advice you wish you’d taken?


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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10 Responses to Best Financial Advice You Wish You’d Taken

  • Holly

    Angela, I hear you!

    My parents let me go through all of the important financial milestones with my head in the sand. There was absolutely noone in my circle who gave me at least one good or important piece of advice. My parents were in the midst of a divorce during my senior year of H.S. and were involved in/other relationships. Seems they had no interest in helping me navigate my college years and beyond.

    Too bad we don’t get a do-over…we just have to take our lumps and make do!

  • Ben

    @Skeemer118 , @brooklynchick, @frugalgrad you’re not alone. credit card debt plagues many people.

    @thisguy, 25% of your take home pay, that’s awesome!

    @Dee, good point on the scholarships

    @Angela, that’s too bad. At least you can say you’ve learned alot about what not to do 🙂

    @Jim, wow a house for $5000 does sound like a great deal. I wouldn’t beat yourself up about it. How many 18 year olds do you know that make wise decisions anyway. hindsight is 20/20 🙂

    thanks everyone for sharing!

  • Jim

    I worked for a noted carpenter building houses. I knew the owner of the buisness and he told me That i could buy one of these houses for $5,000 (lot included) if I did all the work my self. I told him that I was 18 and did not need a house now. (what an idiot I was). I ended up buying one of these houses for $45,900 later in my life at age 28. What a dumass I am.

  • Angela

    I WISH I had gotten some good financial advice somewhere along the way. I have only gotten bad advice– some of which I’ve taken and some of which I managed to avoid.

  • Greg

    Only 1? That makes it tough.

    “You have to count your pennies before you count your dollars”

    Over your lifetime there are so many things that you must do to stay out of debt and accumulate wealth. You will never be fully successful unless you consider every penny. Just think of all the poeple that figure an extra 1% management fee on a mutual fund is no big deal! They lose tens of thousands over their lifetime!

    Like thisguy above, if I had saved, pennies and all, retirement would be much closer than it is today!

  • frugalgrad

    Credit cards are not your friends.

    I should have listen to them but didn’t so now I’m racking up a reasonable balance that I should not have had if I didn’t apply for the 2 and 3rd card. I think I will pay off these within 2 years but still there are lots of hard earned money down the drain due to the interest. I will not apply for any more credit card any more. I will pay off the debt but still keep the card. Now I just need to learn it more responsibly and use it as a tracking tool for my expense.

    Don’t be a lender nor the borrower. I should have known this. Just get caught up in all of the credit card hype when I first entered college.

  • Dee

    Tip: Let someone else pay for your education.

    People were constantly talking about how many scholarships were out there, how it was free money that I shouldn’t let pass me by.

    But I was lazy and didn’t apply to as many scholarships as I could. My first year of college was entirely covered by scholarships, and I didn’t rack up a lot of debt in general, but if I had taken a couple of hours here and there to apply to more scholarships I could have gotten through without taking out any loans probably.

  • thisguy

    I’ve been working since I was 12 and my parents made me put half of my money into savings. When I grew to be old enough that they decided I could do whatever with my money (I guess 16), I withdrew it all (a small sum of course) and didn’t save another dime till I was out of college. If I had only saved a quarter of everything I had earned since then, I think I would have a nicer cushion beneath me now. At least now I’m saving _almost_ 25% of my take home pay….

  • Skeemer118

    You WILL charge things on a card that aren’t emergencies so don’t even get one in the first place.

  • brooklynchick

    UGH – don’t run up a credit card balance you can’t pay…..15 years and still paying……