(Almost) Everything Useful I’ve Learned about Personal Finance in Ten Sentences

The 10 Commandments of Personal Finance

It’s not really that complicated.

1. Spend less than you earn.

2. If you’re facing a pile of debts, make minimum payments on all of the debts but the one with the highest interest rate, then make the biggest payment you can each month on that high one.

3. Never expect that your “future self” or anyone else will bail you out of your dumb mistakes today and remember that only you can make better choices for yourself.

4. The quickest way to financial recovery is to get a grip on your spending impulses.

5. Life is going to hand you emergencies, so keep at least $1,000 in your savings account for those emergencies.

6. Be completely open with your spouse about every single dime that comes in and every single dime that you spend.

7. Buy items that will last for a very long time at the best possible price and you’ll rarely be unhappy with them.

8. If your employer offers matching on your 401(k), take as much of it as you can get.

9. When you’re deciding how to invest, remember that past performance does not indicate future returns and focus instead on the fees and expenses.

10. If you have dependents who rely on you, you ought to have life insurance.

A final “bonus” life and career tip: treat every single person in your life as you would like to be treated, regardless of whether you’re in the workplace or in everyday life.

If you can handle all of these things, you’re going to be just fine.

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