As many of my readers already know, I have been living a simpler life the past two years, and I have no regrets about it either. Since being forced to live this type of lifestyle, I have learned much about the importance of financial planning and where to put my money.
I recently came across another blog post that voices similar experiences and insights about the value of investing in a financial planner. Here are some things this blogger has learned about the importance of money:
Find a pro you trust. In 2008, just before the economy tanked, we started seeing a financial planner recommended by a trusted friend. I can’t speak strongly enough that you should get your advice from a trusted financial professional, not the internet or your Uncle Louie. Your financial professional will look at your entire financial picture, including things you never thought of as “financial”, and help you reach your goals.
Buy with your head, not your emotions. Once again, I remind you that emotions kill our ability to think clearly. I’m proud of the fact that back in 2007 when my Saturn, which I loved, started to show signs of age, I listened to the taps on my shoulder that told me it was the beginning of a long string of small repairs that would eventually add up to thousands of dollars. There were lots of cars out there that I liked because they fit my internal image of “me”. But I began my hunt for a new(er) car by Googling “best used cars”. Out of the top ten, 9 were either Hondas or Toyotas. That told me something right there, and I limited my search to those brands.
Have a cash reserve. Have a cash reserve, have a cash reserve, have a cash reserve! This is the number one reason we kept sliding back into debt: no money to pay for emergencies. Whenever a car or house repair came up, it would go on a card. You can only do that so often before the whole caboodle spirals out of control.
What do you think? What have you learned about the value of money, saving, and financial planning?