There’s certainly no shortage of financial advice out there — from family, friends, colleagues, experts and pseudo-experts alike. Some advice is born out of experience, while other tips are based on the latest data or trends. Regardless of where it comes from, however, good financial advice at the right time can be critical to how well you succeed with money throughout your life.Unfortunately, good advice can sometimes come later than you’d like it to, which means you sometimes may reflect back, thinking about how your life could be different had you known then what you know now. The financial experts of Kiplinger Advisor Collective are no different, and here, they each discuss the one piece of financial advice they wish someone had given them a long time ago and why.You should avoid getting saddled with debt, but there are ways out“I wish I was taught how credit cards actually work and how interest adds up in the long run. I ran into some personal trouble with credit card companies offering me incredibly high and irresponsible credit limits right after college — which I exploited, of course, thinking incorrectly that I could handle my spending. That being said, it’s also good to know that just because you have debt doesn’t mean that you are in financial ruin for the rest of your life. There are options out there that will help you consolidate or settle your debt that, while putting a damper on your credit and ability to make large purchases for a few years, can help you get back on your feet in the long run. You don’t have to struggle to make up for your mistakes; just learn from them and don’t repeat the cycle.” — Jennifer Wiley, Greenbrier Management
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It’s OK to ‘waste’ money if it improves your quality of life“One bit of advice that comes to mind is this question from entrepreneur Tim Ferriss: ‘How can I waste money to improve my quality of life?’ The word ‘waste’ is important because it acknowledges that this is non-essential spending, but that after a certain level of income or financial comfort, it still might make sense to spend it. In our household, it’s translated into things like hiring a cleaning service; splurging for direct flights, extra legroom or more convenient hotels; or ordering meal kit deliveries. It’s even helped us justify a large-scale kitchen remodel — it was super expensive, but it got rid of all those little frustrations and definitely improved our quality of life and daily happiness in our home.” — Nick Loper, Side Hustle NationYou should save for retirement as soon as you can“I wish someone told me about the importance of saving for retirement sooner. Even if it’s not through a 401(k), an IRA is always another great alternative. Many people wait for the opportunity to utilize an employer-sponsored 401(k). While it might be a little easier to set one up through an employer, considering an IRA might be a sound plan if people want to start saving sooner than that.” — Angela Ruth, DuePassive income can give you back precious time“I wish someone would have told me about the possibilities of having passive income earlier in life. Many are taught that success comes from working the majority of our life away so we can hopefully retire financially sound. Meanwhile, we miss out on precious time with our family. Passive income has helped me be able to take back that time and be able to spend it with my family.” — Justin Donald, Lifestyle InvestorKiplinger Advisor Collective is the premier criteria-based professional organization for personal finance advisors, managers, and executives. Learn more >It’s key to take a holistic view of your financial health“Evaluate your financial health holistically and for the long term. It’s easy to focus on your near-term future or become hyper-focused on one aspect of your financial journey, such as Roth IRA contributions and performance. People often overlook less obvious but equally important factors, such as their tax, legal or insurance policies. And of course, it’s OK to ask for help from a trusted source.” — H. Adam Holt, Asset-MapUndervaluing your skills can be a costly mistake“My advice is universal, but I want to especially advise women: Do not undervalue yourself when negotiating your salary early in your career. When I interview women and men for positions, women typically will undervalue their skill set and be willing to accept a lower starting wage. That one strategic error will set the pace of their earnings for years to come. It is a very costly financial mistake.” — Elizabeth Graham, Riggs Asset Management Co., Inc.You can use your money to help you make more money“The one piece of advice I wish I had gotten a long time ago was to learn about and prioritize making money with money. In other words, use my paycheck to pay the necessary bills and put the rest into investments that earn interest or grow in value. Doing so ends the dependency on exchanging time for a paycheck. We’re taught that getting a job is the only way to make money. Many of us follow that advice until retirement unless we’re lucky enough to realize money can be given a job and lessen the amount of time we exchange for money.” — Jason Vitug, PhroogalAlways take a second look at a fund’s ‘average growth’“The term ‘average growth’ did not mean what I thought it did. So many funds advertise YY% average growth for the last XX years. The market might have grown an average of YY a year over the previous 100 years, but that does not mean the value of your portfolio increases YY every year — oops. It took me a while to get over that misconception with my investments. That was an expensive lesson.” — Deborah W. Ellis, Cogent Independent Advisors, Inc.Tax diversification is essential for managing your tax bracket“I wish I knew about the importance of tax diversification. Yes, it is important to take advantage of tax deductions and tax credits to lower your tax liability today, but it is equally important to include tax-free accounts and taxable accounts to be able to proactively manage your tax bracket.” — Marguerita Cheng, Blue Ocean Global WealthRelated Content The information provided here is not investment, tax or financial advice. You should consult with a licensed professional for advice concerning your specific situation.