Sensible Elder Lessons about Money

Sometimes I find myself thinking: Whatever happened to good sense? When it comes to money, the elders offer advice that is, well, sensible. They came from a generation of savers, re-users, and careful consumers. Here’s 91-year old Betty’s advice for financial well-being:

You need a checking account and a savings account. Take each paycheck to the bank and deposit, don’t cash it. Hold out enough for cash purchases, groceries, etc.  Leave enough in the checking account to pay current bills. Whenever possible, put a little in the savings account. This is your emergency fund for unexpected expenses and a start toward your savings.

Be wary of credit cards. Never use one unless you can pay the bill in full at the end of the month. The interest can be devastating to your finances.

Aim toward home ownership. Rent is a constant drain with nothing to show for it.

For major purchases, save first and pay cash. This goes for cars and it can be done.  As soon as I’ve bought a car, I start saving (in the savings account) for the next. Making payments adds much more to the cost. That money can be yours to use.

When you have your finances organized and are keeping out of debt you are ready for the next step. Start your life savings. It is all right to start small but you can’t start too soon. Locate a full service brokerage firm and appointment with a financial adviser, who will listen to your needs and advise accordingly. Medium risk stock will likely serve you best. Later you can use the dividends for extra income. If you keep increasing your stock portfolio, it will provide financial security for retirement. Never buy stock from a small outfit that only deals with a limited type of stock or on advice of an individual.

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