If I Had A Financial Time Machine

The_Time_MachineI saw an article similar to this on a web site. I thought it had a lot of potential.

Going back in time and giving your younger self financial advice.

Getting an opportunity to profit from my older self’s financial wisdom and showing yourself what you will do wrong. What a great idea!

What advice would you give your younger self?

So if I could jump in my Financial Time Machine here’s what I’d tell my younger self:

1. Stop Overspending
It’s not about credit card use it’s a little bigger than that. The credit cards are just enabling the bigger problem. That problem is overspending. We all do it. Most of the time the spending is for things we don’t want or really need. Overspending has deep psychological reasons. We overspend to compensate for unhappiness, compulsion or just to have a good time socializing.

Advice to my younger self? Don’t carry credit cards and don’t go shopping unless it’s for an occasion. Just leave the cards and pay cash. You’ll be less likely to overspend when you see the green stuff disappearing.

2. Be a Better Saver
I’ve been a pretty good saver over the years. But sometimes I drop the ball.  I’m best when the savings is automated. The times that I’ve saved the most is when I have it automatically deducted from my checking and sent to an account. It works great for me because I deduct it like paying a bill. And I always pay my bills.

Advice to my younger self? Don’t wait…automate.

3. Buying a Larger Home
Many of us have felt the need to buy a larger home. Our families grow, we want better schools for our kids and we like to have more space. I wouldn’t say buying a larger home was a total mistake because I made a nice profit. I just could have waited a little longer and paid more stuff off like cars.

Advice to my younger self? Slow down. Pay off more of your debt before making a larger home purchase. Remember, everything costs a lot more than you think.

4. Save More for Retirement
In my family there always seems to be so many things we need. Stuff for school, unexpected repairs and medical bills all have a way of popping up and taking your spare cash. The problem is that we put this stuff in front of saving for retirement. I’ve been self-employed a good portion of my working career, so I don’t have payroll deduction for a retirement account like a 401(k). I also need to put retirement savings ahead of all other needs because it’s coming whether I like it or not.

Advice to my younger self? Save for retirement before all other expenses and bills are paid. Oh, and repeat the advice on #2 above.

Too bad I really don’t have a Financial Time Machine. Maybe I should advise my younger self to buy Apple stock too? 

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