You never know what advice, experience or life event will unlock the creative moment that inspires true greatness. There are many concepts and money issues you need to know about to be financially successful. It's helpful if you get an opportunity to ask and learn from the best. Below three financial experts share the best money advice they ever received:
Joe Saul-Sehy, a former financial advisor and co-host of the Stacking Benjamins podcast. "My best advice is also simple: That thing you're afraid of is probably the first item on the list you should attack. In our gut, most of us know our weaknesses, but our magnificent brains are masters at talking us away from anything it perceives as difficult or challenging. For me, this was my estate plan. I wanted nothing to do with my estate, probably because it meant that I had to admit my own mortality. I experienced the most amazing high walking out of the attorney's office once the plan was complete. I felt fantastic. I was shocked and happy and relieved all at the same time. When I was a financial advisor I saw this same scenario repeat with clients. If they were afraid of the budget, investing, insurance, calculating their retirement goal, figuring out the college plan, whatever, I'd recommend we stare down that fear and attack it first. If we strove to break through that barrier, my client then not only felt amazing afterward but breezed through the rest of their planning tasks. They became unstoppable."
Sarah Fallaw, founder and president of Data Points. She is continuing the study of wealth in America that was started by her father, Thomas Stanley, the bestselling author of "The Millionaire Next Door" and "The Millionaire Mind". Fallaw shared two concepts:
Work with sales professionals. "My dad taught me that when making a big purchase, work with professionals on either side of the deal. Once growing up, I remember him smiling and waving at the first eager salesman that greeted us in a car dealership, and then kindly asked for the sales manager to refer him to the top salesperson. It might seem counterintuitive, but his experience was that the top performer is usually focused on ensuring the buying experience was so good that he could count on that customer to refer friends, family, etc. I used this tactic when we found our realtor. After a couple of mediocre experiences, I called into one of the Atlanta offices and asked for their top performer for the previous year. (The receptionist thought I was a rival company trying to recruit.) We've referred her to our family and friends since working with her."
Leave empty-handed. "From my husband, some honest but not-so-fun advice: 'You can leave the store with nothing.' It's simple, harsh and true. I'm certain some of us feel we have a psychological contract with a store to buy something once you enter it. Or, maybe it's that you had a goal, let's say to find a dress for a wedding, and if you leave with nothing you'll feel like you failed. Either way, remembering that phrase helps me walk away without buyer's remorse."
Michael Kitces, co-founder of the XY Planning Network and publisher of the financial planning industry blog Nerd's Eye View. "We often hear about the power of compound interest, and starting to save early to let it grow over time. But the reality is that our biggest potential to grow wealth isn't saving in a 401(k). It's investing in ourselves and our own ability to work and earn more money. After all, the reality is that investing $2,000 into yourself to go through a course that gets you a $1,000 raise at work -- pushing up your base salary for future raises as well -- can be worth more than 20 times as much as that retirement account with decades of growth. What you pursue depends on what you do now. It might be a new certification in your chosen field, getting some training to break into a new career, learning a side hustle for some extra dollars or just a course on how to negotiate a better raise for yourself. So, while it's great to start saving and investing early, and a 401(k) plan has some wonderful tax advantages, make sure you're investing in yourself first."
All of these advice points are valuable and important. Each one of these ideas could be the catalyst that starts you on a new path of working through a personal financial stress, taking a counter-intuitive approach to making purchasing decisions or investing in your most valuable asset: yourself. No matter the inspiration, it is important to make sure you have a plan for your financial assets. Financial independence only seems elusive when you're not working toward your long-term goals and dreams.
Brian Preston and Bo Hanson are fee-only financial planners who host the podcast, "The Money-Guy Show".
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