Money is one of those things that we don’t talk about nearly enough, yet at the same time, it seems like everyone has an opinion. Your grandmother, your dad, your bestie and even your next-door neighbor have probably offered up some form of unsolicited money guidance over the years. We suspect that none of it has been earth-shattering, because the problem with one-size-fits-all money advice is that everyone’s situation is different. And even though we all know to take well-meant words of wisdom with a grain of salt, some ideas become so ingrained into our thinking that we may be following them blindly without realizing it — and that’s not always a good thing.
That’s why this week we decided to check in with experts to get the real deal on the top six outdated (and frankly, untrue) pieces of money advice that we can finally stop believing — and what we should be doing instead.
“If your credit score is good – you don’t have to worry about anything.”
Yes, your credit score does matter — big time. But as career expert for EHE Health Joy Altimare explains, it isn’t everything. And a stellar credit score doesn’t mean your entire financial situation is 100% rosy. As Altimare explains, good credit means you have the ability to take on more debt, but to truly be in a secure financial position, there are many other factors at play. You have to look at how much you have saved, how much you have invested, your overall net worth, how much you’re earning, and how quickly you’re able to pay down any outstanding debt that you do have. “Improving your finances involves improving your credit, but also take a look at how to save and invest. You don’t want to over leverage your credit at the expense of not having a keen eye on increasing your savings, investing in your 401(k) or saving for retirement,” she adds.
“Financial freedom means having a traditional full-time job.”
When you announced to your parents you were thinking of taking that entrepreneurial leap of faith, did they look at you in fear? If they grew up during a time where success meant happily working 40 hours per week, collecting two paychecks per month, and having an employer take care of you for the next three+ decades, it may be difficult for them to understand the desire to do your own thing. As Jenay Rose, entrepreneur and host of the podcast, the Soulpreneur Show explains, there has never been a better time to challenge the norm or take financial risks by pursuing something you love. “You don’t have to work hard at something you don’t love to make ends meet anymore,” she says. “You can work hard doing something you believe in and make beautiful financial freedom that gives you more security.”
The key, of course, is in your financial prep. Rose suggests starting with your own expertise, and then thinking about how it can be used to help others. “Solve a problem and you’ll start a business. Provide a solution, and you’ll have a business for life,” she explains.
“Credit cards are bad.”
This sweeping statement can prevent savvy, responsible professionals from reaping the benefits that some credit cards offer. Credit cards are only bad if you get into too much debt that you can’t pay off. As Altimare explains, credit cards can provide perks and access in time where most transactions are via a swipe or tap. Plus, not only can they provide easy and secure transactions, but with the right one, you’ll also be given access to airline lounges, deals on trips, cash back rewards on common expenses like gas and groceries, and so much more. The goal is to only spend to your means with the intention of a zero balance every month. “If you have the cash in the bank and you’re conscientious about spending below your limit and you pay your bills off in full, then credit cards can be a great tool for you,” she reminds.
“Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
Technically speaking, this is true. But what makes it BS advice is the message it sends. Along with other adages like ‘A penny saved is a penny earned’, these shift our thinking from abundance and hope to scarcity and fear, Rose explains. Money might not grow on trees, but approaching every dollar as a struggle doesn’t foster a healthy relationship with our finances. What we should teach instead is self-confidence and self-assurance with managing our money, Rose says. “Flip these kinds of mindset statements on their head and start reprogramming our money beliefs with statements like, ‘I will always have enough’, ‘There is an infinite supply of money heading my way’ and ‘Every dollar spent comes back to me seven times!’,” she advises. “It’s this kind of positive thought that gives us our power back when it comes to being creators of our own reality and our own money supply.”
“Money doesn’t buy you happiness.”
Rather than adopting a perspective that dismisses the importance of money, it’s important to analyze and figure out what resources you need to live comfortably, explains co-founder of EnrichHER, Tiara Zolnierz. After all, everything does have a cost: food, water, clothes, education, housing… the list goes on. Saying that money can’t buy you happiness is akin to saying “money doesn’t matter.” That’s not going to help your financial life or elevate you in feeling empowered with them, either. “Instead, it’s time to talk openly about money like you would any relationship that you love. Money is a tool and using it correctly can shift the culture,” she explains. “Being confident managing money can improve the quality of life, plus saves lives while increasing someone’s life expectancy. Yes, money matters.”
“Keep all your money in savings.”
Yes, some of your money should be in a savings account that you can access for everyday living costs and emergencies. But fearful of the investing world is the quickest way to never, ever reach retirement. As Rose explains, the better advice is to diversify your money so it works for you. This hands-off approach often feels scary for those who don’t like letting go of control, but with the right (and smart) investments, you can give your money a longer reach. “We’re actually holding ourselves back from being able to learn about the possibilities of our money working for us, with us, so that we can use it to accomplish our real goals… and not just live to earn a paycheck any more,” Rose says. “Learn about stocks, bonds, different kinds of money management systems that can help your money gain annual returns.”
MORE ON HERMONEY:
- 6 Women Who Made it Through the 2008 Recession on Their Best Money Advice
- Moms: How to Give Your Daughters the Gift of Financial Advice
- 5 Money Tips for New Parents
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