10 money commandments
What is the greatest money advice ‘‘one-liner’’ ever?
I am continually running across gold nuggets of advice which I admire, and I decided to go in search of the single one that trumps the rest.
In my admittedly arm-chairish search, conducted happily online while sipping tea, I came across 10 which I decided captured so much wisdom that I now think of as ‘‘The Ten Commandments’’ of money. These are they. The gloss in brackets however, is mine, as is the unconvincing ‘‘faux’’ King James Bible-speak: 1. Always, always spend less than thou earnest. 2. Never taketh on debt for things that depreciate in value. (Otherwise known as ‘‘If you need to use the plastic, you can’t afford it’’.) 3. A dollar saved is a dollar earned. (And a dollar set aside is available to spend if your income temporarily dries up.) 4. Never invest in something thou dost not understand. 5. Remember, a man does not deserve things he can’t afford, just because he works hard. 6. Change thy ways gradually. The wise person changeth one habit at a time. 7. Lock up thy purse. Few can earn as fast as they can spend. (And a year of prudence lost can take another year to make up for.) 8. Never repay any debt at the minimum rate. (Minimum repayments are for mugs and the desperate. Be it credit card, mortgage or personal loan debt, the minimum repayment levels are designed by the lender to extract the maximum benefit for them.) 9. Don’t drive, if you can bike. Don’t bike, if you can walk. (Transport chews through the money. Ditching a car can be the equivalent of a very big pay-rise. No price can be put on staying slim and fit.) 10. Do not covet thy neighbour’s car/house/ass. (Do not worship the status symbol – the car, the house, the glasses, the fashion. Much of it is trash and isn’t worth the money spent on it. While you are worshiping, your future is being impoverished.)
Each pithy little nugget of wisdom is a challenge to each one of us, a call to reign in that excessive sushi habit, or that ‘‘fashion’’ addiction that has once again reared its dirty little head.
But for me, after nearly two decades of money writing, the advice I would give to people is this: It’s what you don’t know that inevitably turns out to be the thing that costs you.
Unfortunately, that’s a very broad statement. The thing you don’t know about could be the power of compound interest that helps you build a nest-egg able to give you a decent retirement. Or that the slick salesman who just encouraged you to invest your money in some overseas venture is actually just a conman.