Money

You Don’t Need More Money Advice, You Just Need Advice You Can Relate To

If you’re reading this, you’re probably at least a little interested in getting your finances in order. Maybe you’ve even tried! Maybe you’ve read a bunch of advice, but nothing seems to work for you. If that sounds familiar, the solution might not be to find more advice. Instead, focus on finding advice that speaks to you.

Personal finance is, you know, personal. It’s right there in the name, but people seem to forget just how much money management has to do with your own unique situation, habits, and behaviors. Some money writers focus on their personal debt stories. Others, like me, usually focus on practical tips. And some financial experts focus on the mindset of money in our society. At its core, though, all of this personal finance advice is more or less the same. It’s the approach that’s different. The best money advice, then, is the advice you can actually relate to.

Find a Story That Motivates You

When I first started reading and writing about money, so many people recommended Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You to Be Rich, saying it completely changed their life. Sethi offers the same advice that’s worked for ages, but he packages it in a way that speaks to a lot of people. For example, he’s not into cutting back on lattes. Instead of being frugal and saving $3 at a time, he argues, you should focus on saving money where it matters—housing, food, and other large expenses.

Many people find this attitude refreshing. The idea that they can still enjoy small pleasures, like a daily latte, makes them totally want to do this money thing. The advice seems to contradict traditional personal finance advice, which makes it appealing, but when you really dig into it, the advice is standard: cut back on stuff you don’t care about so you have more money to spend on things you do care about. What sets Sethi’s advice apart, though, is his mindset toward money. And that’s everything.

In other words, he has a relatable story: the guy bucking frugality to take control and do what works for him. People…

6 Millennial Money Habits Every Retiree Should Learn

When it comes to money matters, Millennials don’t always get a good rap. These young adults are likely to view themselves in good financial health so long as they make the bills at the end of the month, let alone stow a little extra away for retirement. But don’t mistake them as financial illiterates. In fact, there are some common ways Millennials handle their money that could benefit the older generations. (See also: 6 Ways Millennials Have Changed Money So Far)

1. Get Creative

As retirees age, their expenditures fall — but their income drops even faster. Perhaps retirees, who are unlikely to jump back into the traditional workforce due to a suddenly trickling cash flow, can benefit from some Millennial-style money tactics. Indeed, Millennials know how to get creative when it comes to their earnings. The old rules simply didn’t apply to this generation of ’80s and ’90s babies that entered adulthood during the uncertainty of the financial recession. So, they made their own rules. They found their own innovative ways to survive. And now, as they continue to develop a distinctly entrepreneurial spirit, many Millennials are beginning to thrive.

More than any other generation, Millennials have embraced the sharing economy, in which a lawn mower, their car, or a spare bedroom can become a valuable source of revenue. The average Airbnb host earns more than $20,000 a year renting out a full, two-bedroom apartment or house in a major city, and this is exactly the kind of peripheral revenue stream that Millennials have become accustomed to seeking out for themselves.

When it comes to ride-sharing, 21% of Millennials have used user-powered programs like Lyft and Uber to save money while on vacation. Among other age groups, those numbers are much lower — 7% for Gen-Xers and 4% for Baby Boomers. For older retirees, the percentage is presumably even lower. Yet transportation is a significant expense for most retirees, and it’s one that could potentially be lowered through the use of ride-sharing — not only during a vacation, but on a daily basis. Older households spend about $8,000 a year on transportation, ranging from a high of $9,321 for the 55 to 64 age group, to a low of $5,091 for the 75-and-older group, according to federal data.

2. Don’t Buy Stuff, Spend on Experiences Instead

Millennials highly value experiences — concerts, yoga festivals, French lessons, surf lessons, palm readings, trips to Italy — and they…

The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know

Mediocre financial advice can earn you mediocre investment returns — and mediocre investment returns are all you need to save for a house, send your kids to college, and fund your (potentially early) retirement. Mediocre investment advice is pretty straightforward. In fact, the only thing that’s complicated about getting mediocre financial results is the stuff that comes before investing: Things like earning money, keeping your debt in check, finding a career, living frugally, and most crucially, building an adequate emergency fund.

Once you’ve got those things taken care of, you’re ready to start investing. If you’re at that point, here’s my mediocre investment advice: Create a diversified portfolio of low-cost investments and rebalance it annually.

Diversified Portfolio

It’s important to have diversity at several levels. Eventually you’ll want diversity in investment types — not just stocks, but also bonds, real estate, precious metals, foreign currency, cash, etc. More importantly, you want finer-grained diversity especially in the earlier stages of building your portfolio. Don’t let your portfolio get concentrated in just one or a few companies. (For what it’s worth, don’t let it get concentrated in the stock of your employer, either. That sets you up for a catastrophe, because if your employer runs into trouble, the value of your portfolio can crash at the same time your job is at risk.)

In the medium term — after you’ve got a well-diversified stock selection, but before it’s time to branch out into more exotic investments — you’ll want to expand the diversity of types of companies. Not just big companies, but also medium-sized and small companies. Not just U.S. companies, but also foreign companies. Not just tech companies, but also industrial companies and financial companies, and so on.

Diversity wins two ways. First, it’s safer: As long as all your money isn’t in just one thing, it doesn’t matter so much whether it’s a good year or a bad year for that thing. Second, it produces higher returns: No one can know which investment will be best, but a diversified portfolio probably has at least some money invested in some investments that will do especially well. (Of course retrospectively, there will have been one investment that does best, and risking having all your money in that would have produced the highest possible return — but that’s exactly what a mediocre investor knows better than to attempt.)

Of course, you don’t want a random selection of investments, even if such a thing might be quite diverse. You want a reasonably balanced portfolio — something I’ll talk about at the end of this post.

Low-Cost Investments

The less money you pay in fees and commissions, the more money you have invested in earning a return.

Getting this right is so much easier now than it was when I started investing! In those days, you could scarcely avoid losing several percent of your money right off the top to commissions, and then lose another percent or two annually to fees. Now it’s easy to make a stock trade for less than $10 in commissions, and it’s easy to find mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that charge fees of only a fraction of 1%.

Still, it’s easy to screw this up. Any investment that’s advertised is paying its…

6 Signs You’re Not Frugal — You’re Cheap!

We here at Wise Bread are big fans of the frugal life. When it comes to cooking our own food, getting the best mobile plan, or waiting for a sale to buy a big-ticket item, we’re your people.

But frugality can go too far. How far is that, exactly? Here are some ideas that you can use to measure whether your frugality has been taken to an extreme and you’ve turned into a total cheapskate. (See also: 13 Ways to Save Money That Go Too Far)

1. You Are Miserable

Being frugal is about being wise, and it almost always comes with specific goals. Maybe you want to be frugal to save money, or to help the environment, or to live in a countercultural way. Whatever your reasons, they should be powerful enough for you that they make the effort you put into frugal living worthwhile. (See also: 25 Products You Think You Need But Really Don’t)

But frugal living is not about feeling deprived and miserable. If you’re feeling down about what you can and cannot spend money on, try to figure out what, exactly, is making you feel that way. If the item is something you can afford and it will truly add to your happiness, figure out how to add it into your budget.

2. Not Spending Is Making You Lonely

It can be healthy to give up social activities that cost a lot of money. Going out to happy hour several times a week, going on shopping sprees with your friends, or taking expensive vacations are all things that frugal people often cut out of their lives and their budgets when they want to stop spending. (See also: 10 Types of Friends Who Are Costing You Money)

The thing is, you have to replace those activities with something else social, or your frugality can cause you to end up feeling lonely and isolated. Sure, there are often less expensive ways to spend time with your friends but, very often, spending time with people means spending at least a little bit of money.

If you’re finding yourself lonely and you think…

Best Money Tips: Frugal People Need These Things in Their Wallet

Welcome to Wise Bread’s Best Money Tips Roundup! Today we found articles on things every frugal person needs in their wallet, ways to save on your next restaurant meal, and things you should never throw away.

Top 5 Articles

10 Things Every Frugal Person Needs in Their Wallet — Many people like the envelope system for budgeting — why not use it in your wallet for day-to-day spending, as well? [SheBudgets]

7 Surefire Ways to Save on Your Next Restaurant Meal — Many restaurants allow you to bring your own wine — just call ahead to make sure it’s OK, first. [Money Talks News]

12 Things You Should Never Throw Away — You never know when you’ll need a spare button to save your clothes. Keep a stash in a small pouch for future emergencies. [PopSugar Smart Living]

Promised delays of federal tax refunds have delayed filing, too — The 2016 tax refunds for…