What is the Single, Most Effective Piece of Financial Advice You’ve Ever Received?

Tightwad Gazette booksQuora.com is fun to browse and today I saw a valuable question with over 100 answers, each with thousands of views from Quora readers. The question?

“What is the single, most effective piece of financial advice you’ve ever received?” 

What’s great is the diverse community of people answering the question — from financial advisers to engineers to students. You get the whole gamut of answers that either they learned from their grandmothers or from working in the financial industry.

It got me thinking…what is the one piece of financial advice that I ever received? I could not immediately come up with just one. A few key ideas popped into my mind, such as:

  • Buying a house: location, location, location
  • It’s not the amount of money you save on a purchase, it’s the amount you ultimately spend on a purchase (this requires an entire post)
  • Pay yourself first (ie: investments that you set and forget long-term)
  • The way to lower your electric/water/oil/cable/phone bill is to use less
  • Frugality is an important financial strategy, not a prison term (from Amy Dacyczyn)
  • Keep track of where your money goes (write it down, budgets, etc.)
  • Live below your means

And…naturally, it’s tough to adhere to every one of these pieces of advice all the time every day 🙂 We are human!

ben franklin
Advice from Ben Franklin: ““Think what you do when you run in debt: you give to another power over your liberty.” Photo: Morguefile.com

I’d like to share some of the helpful and enlightening answers from Quora–it never hurts to re-acquaint ourselves with these principles, and I urge you to read the whole thread in your spare time:

  • Realize that when you spend money, you are spending the hours that you worked.

and on the other side of the coin someone added:

  • Most people work for money. Wealthy people have their money work for them and, thus, live from passive income.
  • “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” – a reader quoted Warren Buffett (the set-it-and-forget-it for-the-long-term-strategy)
  • Any win is better than a loss.
  • Get every bit of free education you can.
  • Small amounts count. (Love this one!)
  • Invest in New York real estate.
  • Invest in yourself.
  • Save a little and save often.
  • “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.” (another Warren Buffett quote)
  • Money is the least common denominator of success. If you completely forget about money and focus on the value of how you can make another person’s life better, then money will just be the equal exchange of value.
  • If you can’t afford to buy it two times over, you can’t afford it. (Interesting!!)
  • Believe in yourself, invest in yourself and start a part-time business.
  • Don’t spend money you don’t have.
  • “People buy things they don’t need, with money they don’t have, to impress people they don’t like.” (reader quoted Clive Hamilton)

Share your insights in the comment section!

~Marilyn, TFF


3 thoughts on “What is the Single, Most Effective Piece of Financial Advice You’ve Ever Received?

  1. This also reminds me that I just listened to The Aware Show on the web, hosted by Lisa Garr who interviewed Hans Christian King. Hans lives abroad most of the year and he said that Europeans don’t understand why Americans worry so much about money. Hans said something like this: “The rest of the world spends the money they have but the United States is taught to spend money they don’t have.” Yup!

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