Finance 101: Keeping It Simple
Can you believe my Real Money radio show has been on the air for five years?! I have to tell you, I’ve really enjoyed meeting hundreds of new, interesting and inspiring people through my countless interviews. Recently I talked with Cary Siegel, a retired business executive who wrote the book, “Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School?” Though initially written for Cary’s children, the book is chock-full (99 to be exact!) of personal money management principles that can be implemented by anyone regardless of age.
When I asked Cary to pick a few of his “top” principles to share, he listed the following three that, if followed, would make it nearly impossible to get behind in life financially. They are simple:
1. Always live below your means. Now, this does not mean living poorly. What it does mean is you must have the discipline to prioritize your wants and needs – and to know the difference between the two! If, for example, it’s important to you to have a membership at the best equipped (and most expensive) gym in town, you might cut back in another area of your life – like buying your clothing/footwear at an outlet mall, or only when on sale.
2. Develop a written budget. I know ... I know ... for many folks “budget” is a four-letter word. The habit of budgeting will take time out of your schedule, but believe me, the effort is worth it! Write everything down; track purchases and expenses, and then analyze the results!
3. When you earn more, save more. Regardless of how much money you make, each time you get a raise, take 50% and save/invest it. Since you were already used to living on the previous amount of income, you won’t miss the extra money!
These are terrific tips. And I totally agree with Cary; there should be more practical financial courses in our elementary, middle and high schools! How can parents pass on good financial habits when they’ve never been taught those principles!? Parents should know: It is okay to say “no” to their children! Everybody can’t have everything! Debt is not “okay!” If you’d like to listen to my program with Cary Siegel, go to PlanStronger.com and click on the “Radio” tab to access the Real Money show archives (air date 3/10/16).