Financial wisdom is the realization that our first reaction often needs second-guessing.
THINK OF YOUR ASSETS AS INCOME. If you retired today, how much income would your nest egg generate? One rule of thumb says that, in the first year of retirement, you can withdraw 4% of your portfolio’s value, equal to $4,000 for every $100,000 saved. It’s a sobering way to assess your retirement readiness—and it might prompt you to save more, postpone retirement or work part-time in retirement.
IMAGINE YOU HAD ONE SHOT at offering financial advice to a high school or college graduate. Your mission: Come up with 10 rules that’ll help your graduate succeed financially in the years ahead. What would you recommend? Here’s my list:
1. Question yourself. No doubt you’re entering the adult world with a slew of strong opinions—about what you want from life, what will make you happy, what you’re good at, what constitutes success and how to achieve it.
I LIKE LEARNING from successful people. If you want to be good at something, why not hear from somebody who’s actually done it?
Back when it was first published, I read The Millionaire Next Door and became fascinated with these folks. Over the next couple of decades, I applied the book’s teachings and eventually reached millionaire status myself.
Along the way, I started writing about personal finance, combining my interest in millionaires with my passion for learning from experts.
WHILE TALKING RECENTLY to an estate-planning client about investments costs, she showed me a letter from her financial advisor stating that he charges her 1% of assets a year. Maureen didn’t understand that she also pays each mutual fund’s annual expenses, a portion of which is also paid to her advisor. Her fund expense ratios average 1.14%, which includes a 0.25% 12b‑1 fee that her advisor pockets. Result: Maureen’s total cost is 2.14% a year,
Jonathan Clements is the founder and editor of HumbleDollar. He spent almost two decades at The Wall Street Journal, where he was the personal finance columnist. His latest book: How to Think About Money.