6 Money Rules I’ll Follow Until I Die

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6 Money Rules I’ll Follow Until I Die

These are the financial rules I refuse to break.

I think everyone should have a set of “money rules” or financial principles that they live by.

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Setting financial boundaries can help balance your relationship between spending and saving; these boundaries can ultimately make your life much happier when you identify what (or who) deserves your hard-earned money.

These rules took me many years to develop, and they aren’t one-size-fits-all. The keyword in “personal finance” is “personal”; you may have a completely different set of financial boundaries, and that’s perfectly okay!

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1. I’ll never question spending money on my education

In the wise words of Warren Buffet,

“The most important investment you can make is the investment in yourself.”

The word “education” has become highly controversial; when I reference the word “education,” I’m not speaking solely about obtaining a college education.

Education comes in many forms, and college is simply one option. I don’t think college is a total waste, given that I did work in my field of study the first six years after college.

However, at this point in my career, I’m much more interested in learning about building a brand and diversifying my income outside of my employer — and thus, I’ve moved away from spending money on a “traditional education” and have pivoted to spending money on books, classes, etc.

I’ve caught myself second-guessing spending money on obtaining new skills in my early-mid twenties, yet I didn’t blink an eye when buying a new pair of shoes or a piece of jewelry; looking back, that mentality makes absolutely no sense.

You are your greatest wealth-building tool, and investing in a skill set that can 10x your income is never a waste — and for some people, the more traditional route of attending college may be the key to earning a higher income, and that’s perfectly fine too!

Forget Stocks and Real Estate; Your Human Capital Is Your Greatest asset

These insights will help you unleash it

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2. Buying quality over quantity will always be my priority

I’ve talked about my distaste for all-things-fast fashion before in my post “The Most Insane Ways Americans Waste Money,” but for a good reason; cheap clothing is a huge waste of money.

After flushing thousands of dollars down the toilet in my youth at stores like Forever 21, I swore off fast fashion post-college.

Too many of us fall into the trap of buying cheap clothing, shoes, etc., thinking that we’re being savvy shoppers who know how to spot a deal — that’s false.

We all know that stores like Forever 21 aren’t exactly famous for producing quality items that last a lifetime; most pieces of clothing last a handful of wears before a button pops off or a thread comes loose.

I’m not suggesting that anyone rushes down to Gucci and spends thousands of dollars on clothing, but you can shop smarter by leveraging sites like eBay or Poshmark for discounted, quality clothing. I often find suits, dresses, etc., that are brand new with the tags but are from “last season,” and thus, the prices have been reduced by 30% or more.

The bottom line: stick to classic, quality pieces that will stand the test of time to avoid constantly replacing your wardrobe. Not only is buying quality better for your wallet, but it’s also better for the environment (less waste in landfills).

3. I will never pressure myself to buy a home

There’s nothing wrong with buying a home, but I do believe homeownership is overrated.

I only halfway consider a primary residence as an investment; on the one hand, you’ll always need a place to live, and the opportunity cost of not investing the down payment should be accounted for before making the purchase.

On the other hand, once you’re 62 years old and you either own the home outright or have 50% equity in your home, your home can technically become an “investment” if you get a reverse mortgage, allowing you to utilize the equity while you’re still around.

The housing market in many cities has been pure chaos this past year — the combination of low-interest rates, folks moving out of high-cost of living cities to rural areas, rising lumber prices, new construction permits being down, etc. has caused the prices of homes to skyrocket in many cities.

I have zero interest in overpaying for a home, and I’m not going to buy the first home that pops up on the market in the city I want to live in, just for the sake of “securing a home”.

My advice to any other home buyers is simple — set a budget and stick to it. A home will most likely be your most expensive purchase, and thus it’s important to not make a short-sided decision.

If a home within your price range isn’t active on the market, wait it out; renting another 6 months, a year, etc. isn’t going to kill you.

4. I’ll always keep one year’s worth of expenses liquid

One of my biggest financial regrets from my 20’s was sitting on too much cash. I was always paranoid something terrible was going to happen and that I’d need access to my money asap.

Many financial experts recommend keeping 6–12 months of living expenses in savings, and I sleep best at night knowing that I have 12 months of expenses stashed.

Interest rates for savings accounts are pretty lousy right now, and I don’t want to give this as a recommendation or endorsement; I do want to be honest and admit that I have moved over a chunk of my savings to BlockFi, a cryptocurrency bank.

When I saw that inflation spiked to 5% in May, I immediately started looking for a better return on my savings and found that I could buy stablecoins on Blockfi (1 stablecoin=1 USD) and protect my money from the volatility of Bitcoin, all while earning decent interest.

BlockFi’s rates do change, but I’m currently earning 10% through July, and then the rate will be reduced to 7.5% — a much better interest rate than what most banks are willing to pay; they are also offering up to $250 in free Bitcoin, and you can sign up here.

If you’re curious about the risks of BlockFi and want more details, I wrote an in-depth post here:

Inflation is at 5% — Here’s How I’m Protecting Capital

How I’m managing my money during a time of high inflation.

5. I’ll only marry a guy with similar financial habits

This is going to get extremely personal, but this is an important conversation to have — the person that you choose to marry can make or break your financial future.

I have a family member that is very dear to me, and this person is extremely fiscally responsible. They don’t believe in personal debt, their home is paid off, and they’ve never taken out an auto loan in their lifetime.

To make a very long (and sad story) short, this person chose the wrong spouse — we’ll say her name is “Sally”.

Sally has secretly taken out credit cards behind my family member’s back and opened a PO box to avoid the credit card statements going to their home.

About a year and a half ago, my family member found that Sally racked up over $20,000 on a credit card (which includes interest, as Sally never paid the monthly balance).

This behavior is not new and has consistently put their marriage on the rocks.

The moral of this story is that financial compatibility is vital, and choosing a fiscally reckless spouse can cause more stress than it’s worth.

I’m not kidding when I say that by the second or third date, I know the guy’s credit score. It may sound invasive to ask these questions so early, but I’d rather not waste his time or mine.

6. I’ll never sacrifice my freedom in the pursuit of money

I work in the tech industry, and I’d say that overall, my company has a relatively good work-life balance.

Some of my former colleagues have left the company in pursuit of more money, only to find themselves working 80 hours a week, traveling constantly, and having no life outside of work.

No thanks, that’s a hard pass for me.

If I want to make more money, I’ll go create another source of income outside of my employer — end of the story.

No matter where I work, I get to take my additional income stream with me, and my former colleagues can’t say the same.

Plus, there’s such a sense of accomplishment of being able to go out on your own and make money outside of your day job.
This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered Financial or Legal Advice. Not all information will be accurate. Consult a financial professional before making any significant financial decisions.

CONTRIBUTED BY Lauren Como

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