What's the Best Financial Advice You Ever Received?

Kiplinger readers share the financial guidance that has served them best over the years.

We got a resounding response to our first “Crowdsourcing” question asking you about the best financial advice you ever received. Themes that showed up repeatedly: Pay yourself first. Invest early and often. Live within your means. Parents (particularly dads) and first bosses were often cited as the source of the advice, but so were other inspirational figures. (Note that all comments appear here with the names supplied online.)


"If you can’t pay cash, you can’t afford it!"— Matthew

"Keep investing costs low. Higher costs over a lifetime will kill you."— Tim Anderson

"My high school business teacher showed us that you don’t actually have to take on hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to get a good education. I’m definitely remembering that this year as I pick a college."— Megan Billing

"A quote from Albert Einstein: 'Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn’t pays it.'"— James Trimble

"My dad told me about Social Security when I was a teenager. It went something like this: Social Security was designed so that some poor shmo who worked all his life and couldn’t save a dime could still put beans on the table. If, when you’re retired, you want to be able to take vacations, visit your family, own a house or go out to a nice meal, you’d better have something more than Social Security."— Bob Sizoo

"My father was an accountant. He taught me that all credit isn’t bad—that as long as I was making more in interest than I was paying out in interest, I should just pay the minimum due on the loans."— tgrilli

"A crow shouldn’t fly like a swan. Translation: Know your limits and live within your boundaries."— Atul Bhankharia

"Appreciate relationships and experiences more than things."— SCsunshine

"From Malachi 3:10 (paraphrased): Give the Lord His 10% and He will pour out a great blessing. I know because 87 years ago I was born into a sharecropper’s family. I just completed a charitable remainder unitrust for almost $3 million to provide lifetime payments to members of my family. At their passing, their part will be transferred to a donor-advised fund that will total almost $6 million to fund our Jewish and Christian charities in perpetuity."— Jim Storey

“'Big hat, no cattle' comes to mind. I’ve always wanted the cattle."— Jill Hurley

"From my dad: Don’t depend on a man to support you. Learn to support yourself."— kcgauss

"I love John Wesley’s sage advice from more than 250 years ago: 'Earn all you can, give all you can, save all you can.' I have found that a solid, consistent savings plan brings peace of mind, and a solid, consistent giving plan brings a richness to life that money can’t buy. "— Jill Gaynor

Learn from your investment mistakes. Consider any loss to be an educational expense."— Adam Weisman

MORE CROWDSOURCING: How Can a Dual-Income Couple Merge Their Finances While Still Maintaining Financial Independence?

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