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June 15, 2021

What's the best financial advice you've been given?

Whatever your politics, you have to love Barack Obama for his ability to say more with less.

866606_piggy_bank_2 For instance, we’ll concede that – again, aside from how you feel he’s performed as President – he’s probably the smartest guy in the room more often than not. So that’s why I got such a kick out of the advice he gave at a conference for money writers this week.

When asked, at a time when homes are still underwater and consumers are starting to lose their confidence again, what the best financial advice he’d ever received was, Obama said, simply: “Don’t spend all your money.”

A genuine principle. But you could almost sense the Democrat’s urge to reach out and grab every American living off unemployment but still paying for an iPhone 4 by the throat and yell, “You hear me, dummy?! Do you see what you idiots are doing? Stop! Stop spending everything! For the love of God!”

Anyway, that’s just a long-form entry to today’s blog topic, which – in honour of Obama’s restrained plea for fiscal responsibility – centres on the best financial advice you’ve ever received.

To be sure, money pep talks come in many forms. Advice could merely come by the way of your parents asking “What do you need that for?” every time you buy something as a kid. Pepper it into your child’s mind early that “needs” are different from “wants,” and you’re well on your way.

Another key piece of advice (aside from the basics: save, and separate “want” from “need”) comes from an MSN Money poster in 2007. “Don’t pay interest on anything that loses value.” This is pretty solid, though probably runs contrary to everyone that’s taken out a loan/financed a car over payments. That would include yours truly.

Other one-liners can also fit the bill here: “Don’t gamble more than you can afford to lose”; “If you need more money, go out and make it”; “Money will buy you a fine dog, but only love can make it wag its tail,” etc. Different advice for different people.

What money advice do you live by? Who gave it to you?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...