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Financial Advice from Personal Finance Bloggers – Part 2

Here’s part 2 of the AWESOME financial advice from fellow financial bloggers!

I’m not going to write much of an introduction here, so hopefully you aren’t too disappointed. You can check out the intro from part 1 if you just feel like something is missing. Even if you aren’t feeling an emptiness, you should still check out part 1 if you haven’t already.

So much information!

Success

 

If you were to attribute your financial success to one thing, what would it be?

A desire to control my own life. For me, this all comes down to the motivation that I have to take control of my own destiny and live my life the way that I see fit. I refuse to have my time monopolized by an employer any longer than I absolutely have to. I want something better. I want to control my time.

                                                                                -Steve @ Think Save Retire

Reading as many books on investing as I could get my hands on (then applying what I learned). Because knowledge is power. And in this case, knowledge is wealth.

                                                                                -Brian @ Take Your Success

Tracking my net worth. I’ve done it for almost 9 years straight, and it’s the one thing that keeps it real. The numbers never lie, so as long as it’s trending up I know I’m doing good and if it starts slipping I know I need to make corrections. It’s a helluva motivator!

                                                                                -J. Money @ Budgets Are Sexy & Rockstar Finance

Taking action. All the knowledge on personal finance is readily available thanks to the internet. All the research in the world will not yield benefits unless we take the action to optimize our budget and invest.

                                                                                -Matt @ Distilled Dollar

I think the biggest key for us has been staying motivated. You have to make your financial goals your top priority. By remembering the long-term goals we have, it’s easier to avoid spending money carelessly. We also don’t get caught up in what everyone else is doing, we focus on our own goals and not trying to keep up with the flashy possessions we see around us.

                                                                                -Matt @ Spills Spot

Be willing to work hard.  I think there is far too much focus today on “passive income” (which is rarely truly passive) and get quick rich schemes.  Working hard and being frugal today so you have more options tomorrow is the key to becoming “rich” and “free” as soon as possible.

                                                                                -Karl @ Mindfully Investing

Having multiple streams of income. Most people only have one (their job) but diversifying income streams makes it a lot more stable and expands possibilities, opportunities, and knowledge. Here’s an article to explain.

                                                                                -Han @ Investment Zen

For me, it is all about developing positive habits early. This includes habits in all phases including being frugal and a consciousness spender, investing early and often, and doing things necessary to develop and advance my work career to earn more. I recently wrote a post on not only the few things I’ve done right financially, but also the mistakes I’ve made on my financial path.

                                                                                -JW @ The Green Swan

Never becoming house poor. The most money my wife and I have ever spent on a home is $130,000.  I realize that’s not possible in every market, but the principle should be followed: Buy less house than you can afford.

                                                                                -MMM @ Mystery Money Man

Oh, that’s a hard question! One thing that really helped me to improve my finances and changed my life is making extra money. Making extra money helped me to pay off my $40,000 student loan debt within just 7 months, and it also allowed me to leave my day job to become a full-time blogger.

                                                                                -Michelle @ Making Sense of Cents

Oddly enough, I would say:  always giving away some of our income. Even when we were in debt, and even when our income was low. There is something really powerful about giving money away. It’s saying, “We have enough, in fact we have MORE than enough.” It’s an act of gratitude that is very freeing. Giving also give us perspective over spending. Knowing I could have used that money to buy x,y,z but instead just gave it away. It puts “things” in their place, and elevates the importance of people. When people are more important than stuff, you will never feel poor.

                                                                                -Ms. Montana @ Montana Money Adventures

I’m not sure if I’d say I’m a financial success by any means, but the one thing I can say that helps me is to compare myself to the right people.  Growing up, I remember seeing the people with the fancy cars and big house and thinking, that’s who I want to be.  But since I’ve discovered the PF world, the people I compare myself to are other like-minded people who care about living modestly and being smart with their money.  Now, when I look at people, I admire the people who have good jobs, but look very modest.

                                                                                -FP @ Financial Panther

Changing the way I think about & view money has been huge for me. I used to have a fear & lack mentality about money. When I changed that, my whole life changed.

                                                                                -Jenny @ The Jenny Pincher

My mom. I wrote a post about her recently, but here are somethings I didn’t say.

My mom valued education highly but also instilled in me a fear of student loans. She was determined that I would graduate college without any student loans. Even though we were doing not great financially, my mom figure out a way to pay for my college education. All five and a half years of it. There was no option not to go, and she insisted I go to community college before university. So I did.  When I decided to go to graduate school I started saving every penny I could manage.  I ended up going to an out of state university and was able to pay for my first year in cash. I was so very lucky that my mom moved with me so that I didn’t have to take out loans to live on. She still gave me a place to live and food to eat, and I worked three jobs to pay for the next year’s tuition.  She taught me to be frugal and save and that sometimes getting what we want and need means thinking outside the box.

After she passed away I decided to get a second master’s degree and needed to take out loans for it. I can’t tell you how much anxiety I felt when I signed the papers. I worried what my mom would think and I worried about paying them back. It turned out okay-after aggressive payments while I was still in school and job promotions, I was able to repay them before they came out of deferment. All my money sense comes from my mom. She set a great example for me when I was growing up and I’d like to think she’d be proud of the choices I’ve made.

                                                                                -Jax @ Project Beach Life

School

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned that you were never taught in school about finances? 

I didn’t take a single finance class in school (because they either weren’t offered, or weren’t required), so the education system taught me absolutely nothing about money, finances, saving, investments or compound interest. Everything I know about finances was learned outside of the education system. The most important thing I learned was how integral our decisions are in our ability to accomplish our goals. Stock market gains help. Big salaries are great. But ultimately, if we don’t *decide* that we want it bad enough, we’ll never achieve it.

                                                                                -Steve @ Think Save Retire

Tracking your spending is hands-down the most important thing you can do for your money! Trust me, if you commit to keeping track of your spending for even one month, you’ll be so surprised at how quickly things add up, or how much you’re actually spending. If you keep thinking “I wonder where all my money goes”? There’s an answer, and it’s tracking your spending.

                                                                                -Desirae @ Half Banked

Anything useful! Sadly even with a bachelor’s degree I didn’t learn anything personal finance related. I wish I would have learned about planning for retirement and the stock market. Specifically how to invest w/ 401K’s, IRA’s and traditional brokerage accounts and importance of starting at an early age (compound interest).

                                                                                -Michael @ Super Millennial

We don’t need to have a high IQ to become financially successful. We simply need to avoid real stupid mistakes.

Building wealth is a long road that requires discipline. One big mistake, such as buying a house or car we can’t afford, could easily set us back 5 years or more.

                                                                                -Matt @ Distilled Dollar

Personal finance is a practice in discipline. It’s one thing to pay your bills and do your taxes but the real challenge is telling yourself “no” when you inner child says “But I deserve that!”

                                                                                -Jen @ Saving With Spunk

I learned that investing doesn’t have to be complicated. I used to think investing was really intimidating and I was worried about doing something wrong and losing a lot of money. It turns out that some of the smartest investors keep their plans incredibly simple. Buy shares of an index fund with low fees and let it sit without touching it. So simple, yet it works!

                                                                                -Matt @ Spills Spot

I didn’t have any schooling in finances or economics.  So, in some sense, everything I know about personal finance was learned either by direct experience of non-school reading.  Direct experience taught me the value of paying off debt fast.  Direct experience taught me the value of saving aggressively.  The other important thing I learned, that many may disagree with, is that it takes a lot of time and effort to invest in individual stocks, and even with all that effort it can be hard to outperform easy-to-use index funds.  That’s one reason I recommend a boring index fund approach to stock investing.

                                                                                -Karl @ Mindfully Investing

Index funds all the way… I never learned this in school, and my first job out of college was at an automated trading brokerage so I bought into the whole high frequency “pick your own stocks” school of thought for a while. I did okay picking stocks but it took a lot of time and effort for minimal gains, should have just spent that time investing in an index fund and enjoying life instead of pouring over financial statements! Check out this article for an explanation.

http://www.investmentzen.com/blog/how-i-learned-to-stop-stock-picking-and-love-index-funds/

                                                                                -Han @ Investment Zen

Consumer debt is a wealth destroyer.

                                                                                -MMM @ Mystery Money Man

Definitely the importance of savings rate.  People always tell us to save, but it never quite clicked in my head that if you’re saving half your income, it means you could theoretically not work at all the next year.  When we’re growing up, we’re all taught to save some percentage of our income, but without any real rhyme or reason as to why.  Understanding what savings rate does really changed my mindset about what saving money really means.

                                                                                -FP @ Financial Panther

Struggle

 What advice would you give to somebody who is struggling financially? 

Take a look at your decision-making. Are you making decisions that are in line with your goals? For example, are you carrying around a $600 cell phone while struggling to pay your monthly rent? Or, are you driving a $40,000 BMW and have nothing but debt to show for it? Don’t feel bad for yourself. Don’t blame society. Take a hard look at the choices that you’ve made in life and decide, once and for all, whether or not they are in your best interest.

                                                                                -Steve @ Think Save Retire

Be gentle with yourself! Listen, there are a lot of blogs that will berate you into feeling guilty about how your money situation is all your fault, from being in debt to not earning enough money, but it’s hard enough being in those situations without people telling you it’s all your fault. Cut yourself some slack and start from square one by getting honest about where you are right now. Literally, that’s a big and important first step, and if you can do that? You’re doing OK (Even if it feels like you’re not.)

                                                                                -Desirae @ Half Banked

Take responsibility. Some things are out of our control, like medical bills or our spouse’s debt, but all you can do is take responsibility. Once you take responsibility, you can change your situation. If you spend time blaming someone or something else, it will do you no good, even if it is their fault. Schools don’t teach us financial responsibility and our parents are usually not qualified to show us how to manage money, so it’s our individual responsibility to figure it out. And you can figure it out, but first, take responsibility, and then start learning everything you can on how to change your situation for good.

                                                                                -Kalen @ Money Mini Blog

Start with 1%. Save 1% of your next paycheck and put it away. Or, if you’re in credit card debt, put an extra 1% towards that debt this month. 1% might sound small, but it will be the biggest 1% of your life. You’ll never realize a greater marginal benefit than going from 0% to 1%.

                                                                                -Matt @ Distilled Dollar

Regardless of what’s happened up until this point, you should take ownership of your future success.

                                                                                -PT @ PT Money

Don’t give up, keep staying positive. Work hard, track your expenses carefully, try to figure out a 2nd source of income, and learn as much as possible.

                                                                                -Matt @ Spills Spot

I think that 90% of the people who are struggling financially probably don’t know exactly how much money they have coming in and how/what they are spending money on.  Keeping a detailed record of all your income and spending (a household budget) is key to really understanding why you are struggling.  It also helps identify the top things you should focus on changing to get the income and spending more in balance.

                                                                                -Karl @ Mindfully Investing

Ask yourself if you have a spending or an income problem or both. Whether you make too many impulse purchases each month or don’t earn enough to meet your basic needs and cover an emergency, identifying the main issue is the first step. Then, you need to take action quickly by cutting any expenses you have that can be sacrificed and bringing in more money whether it’s selling items from your home, establishing a side hustle, or asking for a raise. It’s important to get on a budget and prioritize needs over wants. Money might be tight for a while, but as long as you can cover your basic expenses and find ways to earn more, you’ll get ahead.

                                                                                -Chonce @ My Debt Epiphany

The unchangeable fact is that you have to earn more than you spend, otherwise your debts will catch up to you. That usually means learning how to earn more and while saving more of what you make, but a dash of creativity will be the force that allows you to live beyond your means. Oftentimes there’s another way to get what you want that doesn’t involve paying (or at least paying full price), you just gotta approach it from a win-win situation.

                                                                                -Han @ Investment Zen

Get serious about reducing your spending!  There are huge money saving opportunities in your budget. Question every spending decision you make, and whether it can be reduced or eliminated.

                                                                                -MMM @ Mystery Money Man

Do what you need to do. There are a lot of tough choices out there, but be steadfast in making progress. In college, we lived in a travel trailer to save $200 a month. And this was WAY before tiny houses were a thing, let alone cool. If you need to cut your cable, your cell phone, get a roommate, move into a camper; whatever it is. Just do what you need to do, and don’t apologize for it.

                                                                                -Ms. Montana @ Montana Money Adventures

If you’re struggling financially, figure out why.  If it’s an income problem, then you have to get your income up.  There are so many ways out there to make money on the side!  If you’re making a low income, then you’re probably working only 40 hours per week.  Figure out a way to add 20 more hours of work per week and see what that can do.  If it’s a spending problem, then you need to figure out your priorities.  Why are you spending on certain things if it’s causing you harm in the long run?

                                                                                -FP @ Financial Panther

You don’t have to struggle. Money is a tool we have in our lives and we always have a choice in how we handle it. It starts with how you think and view money. A lot of our beliefs have been collected over the years from our parents, family members, friends, the media etc. We form opinions about money, some may be good & some may be bad. If you grew up in a household where your family was always struggling, chances are you are used to the struggle and you assume it has to be that way, but it doesn’t.

To change your financial situation, it starts with how you think about, treat and what you believe about money. Start to take a look at what themes go through your mind. Do you say things like “I never have enough money” or “I’m always broke”? Changing those thoughts is absolutely necessary if you want to improve your financial situation.

                                                                                -Jenny @ The Jenny Pincher

Resources

If you could recommend one source of personal finance information, like a book or blog, to somebody else, what would it be?

My favorite book on the subject is “The Millionaire Next Door“. There are a TON of millionaires in this country, and they aren’t necessarily driving around in expensive cars or living in huge homes. They are…incognito, as it were. They are living like normal people, shopping at normal places, saving like they should be without regard to whether or not they are “playing the part” of a millionaire by LOOKING like one.

                                                                                -Steve @ Think Save Retire

To visit RockstarFinance.com to get a good sense of allll the financial blogs and resources out there so you can find the blogger that most resonates with you. Then, soak up all their info and use it to power your own journey!

                                                                                -J. Money @ Budgets Are Sexy & Rockstar Finance

I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Yes the title is lame (as the author admits) but it’s by far the easiest way to understand finances and implement them to your life. It’s so good a whole college finance class should be taught around it. Hands down my favorite personal finance book as it covers debt, credit, saving, investing, and planning for your future.

                                                                                -Michael @ Super Millennial

My favorite recommendation here is a 20 minute essay written by Ben Franklin called, “The Way to Wealth“.  It contains a lot of old school wisdom, but it helps to remember the author as who he was at the time. Ben Franklin was able to retire at the age of 42 AND THEN move onto politics and science. This essay encapsulates everything he believed as an entrepreneur and businessman at that age.

It is especially helpful for anyone in their 20’s and 30’s looking to escape the rat race by their 40’s.

                                                                                -Matt @ Distilled Dollar

I’d highly recommend “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey. It’s a great book to learn the basics for how to improve your financial situation. Rockstar Finance is also a great source, as it curates 3 blog posts every day from the top money blogs on the web. You can learn a lot by using these sources of information.

                                                                                -Matt @ Spills Spot

I am very focused on the investing side of personal finance.  Therefore, I would recommend Charles Ellis’s “Winning the Loser’s Game“.  It’s a relatively quick read that will set you straight on any hopes you may have about getting rich quick through investing.  More importantly, it provides clear advice on where and how to invest your savings and why.  Of course, if you having trouble saving, you are probably better off focusing on a book that addresses that issue first.

                                                                                -Karl @ Mindfully Investing

I’m particularly a fan of Ramit Sethi’s book “I Will Teach You To Be Rich“; very US focused but goes over all the things you should do to master the fundamentals of personal finance, written in a very engaging way which is much more difficult than it sounds since personal finance is a fairly dry subject.

                                                                                -Han @ Investment Zen

Become familiar with Mr. Money Mustache’s website, and then set aside time to binge read it.  It will transform the way you think about money.

                                                                                -MMM @ Mystery Money Man

There are a 100 I would recommend. But instead I will say: just read. Every. Single. Day. I have 5 little kids and I still read 50 books a year, plus a whole list of blogs, interviews, and other content. Use the library, buy books used, or borrow from a friend if you need to. Any great non-fiction is worth reading, not just personal finance books. It’s the best $12 (new) or $4 (used) you can possibly spend.

                                                                                -Ms. Montana @ Montana Money Adventures

The book I always recommend is “The Simple Path to Wealth” by J.L. Collins. It is the simplest resource I’ve found when you are ready to take action to get your finances in order. It focuses on investing and he makes it very simple & easy to follow.

                                                                                -Jenny @ The Jenny Pincher

On a side note: Most of the books listed here are free with Kindle Unlimited, which you can try for free for 30 days! 

Conclusion

You should definitely check out all of the resources listed, as well as the blogs of the contributors to this post. All of them are very talented and knowledgeable people who have a lot to offer.

I hope you’ve benefitted from this advice as much as I have. I haven’t ever found an article like this (to be fair, I haven’t been active for long), so I’m glad to be able to put it out there.

Thank you very much to all of the contributors, and thank you for reading!

 

Is the anything you’d like to add? Are any of your favorite sources of information not listed? Comment below and share!

 

 

Financial Advice from Personal Finance Bloggers – Part 1

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