What's the best financial advice you ever received?
With the insane gift-giving season upon us, we asked our readers to weigh in with the most helpful financial advice — a gift of dollars and sense — that they ever received from family members.
Here's what we learned:
Never invest in anything for which you have an emotional attachment. The feelings will cloud your judgment . — Gloria S.
When I joined the police department in 2006, a wise person told me to start my Deferred Compensation at $50 per check, then increase it by $50 with every raise. I am now up to $500 per check. — Timothy D.
Pay yourself first (by saving). Save 25 cents of every dollar. Buy real estate. Buy another property or trade up every five years. — Wendell W. Young IV
The best "advice" my parents gave me was through example. If we couldn't afford something, we didn't want or aspire to it. Other than a mortgage, this meant little or no debt. I am well-aware that many lack the means to save, which leads me to more advice from my parents ..."Be grateful for what you have." — David Marshall
I would encourage others to read a personal finance magazine or about personal finance to increase their financial IQ. — Dean Mazurek
We had virtually zero assets but lots of debt. But we three boys did learn about thrift and if we wanted something, we knew that we had to go out and earn the money to get it. I continue to rely on this frequent saying from my uncle, Clifton Armstrong Hipkins: "Press on, regardless." It's not only about fighting back when all seems lost, but also about keeping your fighting spirit even when things are going your way. It works! — John C. Bogle
My mom was a teenager during the Great Depression. Mom's best financial advice: Save money when you have it. Spend when you need to. But, you don't need to spend it. I have lived by that mantra all of my life. — Barbara Lee Puglisi
The one message I remembered my whole life is a short one my mother said to me, probably as an offhand comment: "I have always saved money from each paycheck. Even when we had only $20.00-a-week income, I saved a nickel from each check." I've never forgotten that, and have always put a portion of my income aside. Even now in retirement I still save money. — Elaine Hagey
My dad once said to me, "Money is no good unless you spend it." I've educated my children, vacation when and where I want to and have no outstanding debts. While I'm not a reckless gambler, impulsive buyer, or slave to fashion, I do enjoy my money. — William D. Markert Jr.
My best financial advice was from my Aunt Alice. She said: "When you go shopping, take only one credit card with you and only buy what you can afford to pay for that month. That way you will never be in debt to the card company." — Carolyn Asness
My father spent a few thousand dollars in 1975 to buy me shares in a utility stock. It then spent the next 40 years on dividend reinvestment, quietly doing its thing: using the quarterly dividends to buy more stock. It was a pain-free savings plan. All I had to do was pay taxes on the dividends. In the end, I am up about 30 times his original investment. Never had a winner quite like that. — Karl S.
My mother, a purchasing agent for the Defense Department for about 25 years, hammered this message home: Always pay your bills on time; it creates a good history and keeps you out of the black hole that debt can become. — Joanne McLaughlin
My father told me in no uncertain terms that the only thing you borrow money for is a house. If you can't afford to pay for a new car with cash, buy a used car. I never carry a balance on a credit card [and] paid cash for our daughter's college education. In addition to our pensions, which allow us to live comfortably, we own our house and have accumulated over a million dollars in savings. — David R.
My dad said very simply: "Don't count on Social Security for your retirement income." I made saving and investing a priority each month. At 56, I retired and have never looked back. When my husband and I turn 62, one of us will take Social Security. We'll use this 'extra' money to travel. Thanks, Dad! — Pamela Warner Holmdal
My dad advised me to live on 90 percent of what I earned and to save the remaining 10 percent — starting now. To drive the point home, he said: "Show me a person who can't live on $50,000 a year, and I'll show you a person who can't live on $100,000 a year." It worked. — Jim Goodman
My dad always told me to never get myself in a bind where I have to pay finance charges (except on a mortgage or other large loans). I have always paid my credit cards in full every month, and still earn cash back, rebates and points. So, in essence, the credit card companies are paying me to live within my means. That's a win-win! — Carrie Wetherby
When I was a boy, I worked in my family grocery market. My father and grandfather taught me business operations with on-the-job training. A lesson was to pay the people who work for you even if things were bad and you couldn't pay yourself. In that way they would see your enterprise sincerity. I have never failed to meet an obligation I owed to a person who worked for me. My father taught me never to cheat or short or steal and that was especially true for people who work for you. If you cheat someone you teach them to cheat and you diminish yourself. I have practiced these two precepts all of my business life. — David R. Kotok
Live below your means and save the rest. — Dave Pacewicz
When you begin to work, program your mind that you have an ongoing bill that never gets paid in full. That bill is yourself. With every paycheck, automatically take out 10 percent and set up a separate account for yourself and title it "ongoing bill that never get paid in full." Then deposit the 10 percent amount in that account [to be] used only when you retire. It is amazing how much you will accumulate in a period of years. — Jack Schultz