One Man’s Advice To His Grown Children

Every now and then you come across brilliant unsolicited advice.  There is a letter flying around cyber space right now that originated from a 62-year old man who wanted to pass on sound financial advice to his grown children (in their 30’s).

The letter was originally sent to his two daughters, and also to Rob Carrick of the Globe & Mail who wrote about it recently.

Here are this man’s top 10 tips for financial success:

  1. Spread the pain of saving and pleasure of spending over your whole life.
  2. Get out of debt and stay out of debt.
  3. Come up with a realistic cost of retirement.
  4. Leave your home out of your retirement income plan.
  5. Hire an investment planner who does not sell any investment products of any kind.
  6. Don’t plan for inheritance, lottery winnings or other windfalls to fund your retirement.
  7. Buy good used vehicles with cash saved.
  8. Plan to be in your investments for 50 years.
  9. Don’t try to time investment ups and downs when buying and selling.
  10. Don’t assume everything will work out on its own.

This man is a former university lecturer (astronomy and data management), and has money management down to a ‘T’.  Keeping things simple is one of the tricks to success with money.  Unfortunately the best personal finance advice is usually buried in hundreds of pages of well-meaning books, and not always in the best interest of those in the industry who are focused on product selling.

Most of all, I appreciate his Item #5 (‘Hire an investment planner who does not sell any investment products of any kind’), since that is one of many roles I take with my clients.  There is something very relieving for clients when they realize that no product pitch is coming their way, and that the advice provided is done so with no vested interest in the end decisions.

Of course, a list of 10 is somewhat limited.  If I had the ability to add five more, they would be:

  1. Life insurance is best thought of as ‘income replacement insurance’ – only for as long as you need it.
  2. Have a will and update it every 5 years.
  3. Have a system so you know where your money is going.
  4. Have an Emergency Fund.
  5. Teach your children about money.

Take control of your finances today.

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