11 Money Habits Financial Experts Wish More People Would Cultivate

Even small changes can make a big difference to your financial journey.

A young man plays with a pencil while looking at his phone and laptop.
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As with tackling any new goal, it helps to have the right habits in place to help lead you across the finish line. Whether you’re saving up for a house, thinking about retirement or just hoping to achieve a feeling of security, building the right habits is crucial to ensuring you have the tools you need to accomplish your goal. 

And while there are some habits you may be able to identify for yourself, there are others financial experts wish people would give more thoughtful consideration. Here, 11 members of Kiplinger Advisor Collective discuss some of the most important money habits they think more people should cultivate and why they’re so essential to building true wealth throughout your life.

Think beyond your lifetime
“Think beyond your lifetime in terms of multigenerational financial planning with strategic money decisions and financial investments. A healthy habit of wealthy individuals and their families is thinking about legacy benefits to pass down to their children, from real estate property to unique assets that are a lifelong gift, like a second citizenship. An investment should have various benefits.” — Jean-Francois Harvey, Harvey Law Group

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Save for retirement as soon as you start working
“The most important money habit I wish more people would cultivate is to start saving for retirement as soon as they start working and not wait until their 30s. Life expectancy is increasing, which means that the retirement period will be a lot longer for those starting to work today, and they will need to save more for their retirement.” — David Silversmith, Eisner Advisory Group LLC

Learn to negotiate
“Negotiating is a one-two punch that helps you earn more and save more. If you avoid asking for what you want because it's uncomfortable, you also leave a lot of money on the table over your lifetime. I advise starting small, like haggling with your cable company, then working up to the bigger stuff, like your salary. The more you do it, the easier it gets, and that's when the fun begins.” — Kiersten Saunders, rich & REGULAR

Pass along your knowledge
“I think an important money habit for people to cultivate is to pass along their knowledge to the next generation. It’s crucial for young people to have the basic money management skills needed to flourish when they turn 18. It’s not uncommon for young adults to go into debt due to the fact that basic money management skills weren’t something they had to learn early on.” — Justin Donald, Lifestyle Investor

Trust yourself and what's right for you
“I wish people would cultivate self-trust around money decisions. There's so much noise from financial media and experts telling you what you ‘should’ do, but most of these people don't know your life and just leave you feeling shame for your choices. Use a mindfulness practice to tune into your needs and follow your gut when it's time to make a spending or financial decision.” — Dana Miranda, YOU DON'T NEED A BUDGET

Kiplinger Advisor Collective is the premier criteria-based professional organization for personal finance advisors, managers, and executives. Learn more >

Put your savings goals first
“This is a simple one: Pay yourself first! If you automatically save 10% to 20% of your income each month prior to it being in your account for spending, you will create savings and wealth over time. If you spend first and then try to save what is left at the end of the month, there will be nothing left.” — Ronald Gestiehr, Lifetime Financial Growth

Diversify and multiply your income streams
“I wish people would break the habit of being overly reliant on one income stream, which is often from one paycheck by a single employer. I would love more people to shift their mindset to one that supports diversifying and multiplying income streams. This means understanding the differences and importance of having both active and passive income streams.” — Jason Vitug, Phroogal

Get comfortable talking about money
“The most important money habit I wish people would follow is to feel more comfortable talking about money. It is true that money means different things to different people, and for some people, the topic of money can cause heart palpitations. I recall my dad's philosophy from when I was a child: ‘Just because we don't deal with a particular challenge or problem doesn't mean it will go away.’” — Marguerita Cheng, Blue Ocean Global Wealth

Keep track of your expenses
“I wish more people would keep better track of their expenses. This would allow them to know what they are spending and where, and it usually leads to a person making an effort to cut back on those expenses once they see what they are actually spending on said things. It can be an eye-opening shock!” — Bob Chitrathorn, Wealth Planning By Bob Chitrathorn of Simplified Wealth Management

Set up consistent retirement contributions
“One item I advise clients about that does not always get done is setting up a consistent contribution to their retirement plans. To do this through any retirement plan is fairly easy. This type of habit can be life-changing because of the compounding effect that can be realized through a consistent amount contributed over time.” — Mario Hernandez, Longevity Wealth Management

Avoid lifestyle inflation
“People are tempted to spend on luxury items and lifestyle upgrades as their income increases. Avoiding lifestyle inflation by keeping expenses in check and maintaining a modest lifestyle ensures that the additional income is directed toward savings, investments or paying off debt, leading to better long-term financial health.” — Manoj Kumar Vandanapu

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The information provided here is not investment, tax or financial advice. You should consult with a licensed professional for advice concerning your specific situation.

Kiplinger Advisor Collective

Kiplinger Advisor Collective is the premier criteria-based professional organization for personal finance advisors, managers, and executives.