Over the course of our lives we are bombarded with messages and advice about everything – what to wear, how to eat, where to live, how to raise our kids, jobs to take, and the list goes on. Beyond parenting – because the amount of advice parents get slammed with on a daily basis is crazy – I think financial advice is probably one of the top areas where people feel they need to throw in their two cents. Think about it – how often are you given advice about what to do with your bonus, or how to earn a little extra cash, or the best way to invest and save for your future? I’m guessing more than you realize.
So with that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to compile a list of the best – and worst – financial advice people have received. I’m sure we’ve all heard some version of many of these but perhaps we can each learn something from the best list and be warned from the advice on the worst!
The worst financial advice I ever received…
“Why would you rent when you could own, daughter?” – Why? Because we were young and newly married and should not have been anchored to home ownership right away. It forced us to put roots in a city we’d planned on leaving. It left me close to my parents’ former home after they and my brother moved further north. I could not follow because the real estate market would have left us with maybe $5K. We were not prepared for the costs of ownership. – Rebecca
Worst financial advice I got was from a financial adviser when I couldn’t pay my car insurance. He suggested I take out a loan or borrow money from my family…lol no! – Emily
Worst financial advice was “get a credit card so you can build your credit”. This is bad because the better credit you have, the easier it is to die under a mountain of debt. – Cari
You should just always plan to have a car payment. – Andrea
There is good debt, i.e. student loans. – Amanda
Look at your 401K daily (can you say anxiety?!) – Nicole
Worst was just never getting any and doing all my own FAFSA and student loan stuff and not fully understanding what I was getting myself into with student loans, specifically my grad school loans. – Tammy
Put it on a credit card and then pay the credit card off each month. Nope. No credit card period! Took us 10 years to be debt free due to our 1st year of marriage. – Brooke
That having “good a credit score” requires having debt and/or that having a good credit score is a must even if you don’t use credit/debt. – Lisa
You will die with bills, so might as well die in debt. – Diana
Treat your 401K like it doesn’t exist. I could have been getting much more growth had I known how to invest more wisely. – Chelsea
Defer your school loans until you are making money. Worst advice ever. I have >500K in school loans (undergrad, grad, and med school) and interest is $56/day. – Alicia
What’s the worst or best financial advice you’ve ever received?
Keep scrolling to read the best advice!
The best financial advice I ever received…
Young Newlyweds should rent a while until they are ready to put down roots and understand all that goes into home ownership. – Rebecca
Best advice was to determine whether something I was thinking about purchasing was a want or a need. Then go from there. – Emily
Best advice I got when my husband and I got married was the challenge to learn to live on one income. This freed us up to give and save a lot, and it prepared us for life with a family when I desired to stay home with our children. – Allie
Best advice was to buy a home when the market was low. I could rent a small one bedroom apt in the city for $950+ or buy a foreclosure. I bought the house at a low cost, paid $500/month on the mortgage and sold a couple years ago for a profit. It made enough for a solid down payment on our next home. You have to look at all the options when buying, if market is high and you’re not going to stay, don’t do it. But in my case, it made sense. – Leticia
I don’t know that this is advice, but I grew up pretty financiallystrapped, so we didn’t get a lot of things we wanted. Even today, if I think of something I want, I wait before getting it. If the want persists, then I go for it, but if I forget about it, then clearly I didn’t want it that much. Best budgeting advice is to actually create a budget and then STICK to it. Also, don’t grocery shop hungry. – Cari
My mom always used to say “what make a you think you need everything right now?” She believed in saving for things rather than charging and paying off. – Michelle
Vehicle debt is the worst investment you can make. – Nicole
Remember, even if you have the money in the account, you still might not be able to afford it [what you want]. Ex: cars needs gas and insurance and you still need to eat. – Brittany
Never use an ATM that charges you, unless your bank refunds it. Always buy clothing when on sale, if at a dept store. If you charge it, pay the credit card off each month. I got that drilled into me by my parents. Shop around on cell phones. Different stores charge different prices. Start a 401k, earlier the better. Use coupons. – BreAnne
One I heard when we were house searching and the concept really stuck with me. So say you pay $1000 for your mortgage right now. And you’d like to upgrade your house and have a potential $1400 payment. You should start “paying “ that much now and that excess $400 will go to a special savings. This will do 2 things. Get you accustomed to paying the higher mortgage and by the time you are ready to purchase you should have a good amount saved up to use on new house for furniture/ renovations/ closing costs etc. – Nichole
Don’t spend what you don’t have. If it’s not in any of your bank accounts don’t put it on your credit card. – Megan
Credit is a tool, so is your credit score. If you need to use it or abuse it to see you through a bad time, so be it. It’s ok. But if you want to use it again, you’re going to have to fix it. – Diana
If you don’t both totally agree on it, move on and keep looking – big purchases like houses, cars etc. – Andrea
Be completely out of debt well before you retire. – Amanda
Best advice we came up with on our own from experience—if you must have a car payment, only have one at a time. Two car payments plus everything else is a perfect recipe for poverty. – Karissa
Pay yourself also a little (savings) with every paycheck as you consider paying off debt, even if it seems to be nothing. – Nicole
Best advice, or I think just something I figured out on my own is to divide our monthly bills in half as evenly as possible and pay everything coming up in the next two weeks on payday. – Tammy
Live below your means. We’ve lived in the same house since we got married almost 16 years ago. We love the Dave Ramsey quote “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else”. We don’t buy a new car until we can pay cash. We don’t take a vacation until we have the extra cash saved. We could do even better about living below our means if my car would stop driving me to Target every week! – Brooke
Being in the same page about money will revolutionize your marriage. Make a working budget and make your money work for you, while living within your means. An “older” vehicle sure drives nice when it’s been worked towards, saved up for and is not bought with someone else’s money. – Lisa
Make saving easy. Use direct deposit to save a portion of your paycheck directly to your savings account. It makes it consistent, invisible, and brainless. – Diana
Live beneath your means. When you get a raise, funnel all of the extra into savings. – Chelsea
Regarding cars – Never buy new and don’t lease. It’s possible to buy a great used car without a big car payment. – Alicia
What an incredible list of advice! I definitely see many of my own mistakes in the worst list – I had no clue how money worked when I left home! I was terrified of credit cards but was never taught much about savings so I spent nearly everything I earned. I took out loans to pay for my living expenses in college and didn’t work as much as I could have. Definitely still paying (literally) for those mistakes! But, we are working on it and making better choices all the time.
What’s the best or worst financial advice you’ve ever been given?