We sometimes forget that even the wealthiest, most successful people weren’t always on top of the world.
“Every master was once a disaster,” T. Harv Eker writes in his bestseller, “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.”
“No one comes out of the womb a financial genius. Every rich person learned how to succeed at the money game, and so can you.”
Business Insider asked CEOs, self-made millionaires, and best-selling authors what they wish they’d known about money from the get-go. After years of experimentation, successes, and failures, here’s the financial advice nine successful people would give their younger selves:
Invest in your career and the money will come.
Adam Nash, president and CEO of Wealthfront: “I was fortunate to have been raised with a strong sense of the importance of saving and living below your means. However, it wasn’t until later that I learned just how much of your long-term economic success depends on your professional career.
“Knowing what I now know about the importance your career path has in determining long term financial success, I’m a huge believer that people in their 20s should seek out opportunities at later-stage, hypergrowth companies. When you think long term, the company you join is far more important in your 20s than the specific compensation or role. This is one of the reasons that we publish our list of Career Launching Companies every year on the Wealthfront blog.”
Put aside more money than you think you can and learn to live without it.
Lewis Howes, lifestyle entrepreneur, business coach, author of “The School of Greatness”: “Money comes to you when you are ready for it. Start creating auto payments to your savings and investments early on, even if it’s $10 a month — and then, each year increase the auto payments to something that feels uncomfortable, and stick with it.”
Have a cash cushion.
John Paul DeJoria, cofounder of John Paul Mitchell Systems and Patrón tequila: “Before investing or starting a company, make sure you have enough money saved for at least six months to pay bills or anything else that might come up financially. It’s important to have a cushion of six months financial back-up before you invest or if something doesn’t work out in your favor.”
Start building a nest egg.
Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest.com, New York Times bestselling author of “Financially Fearless”: “Start saving for retirement! It’s never too early to put money away towards an IRA. Teens can even contribute money earned from baby-sitting or other jobs, and doing so can go a long way towards building up a sizable nest egg.”
Don’t go into debt unless you know it will pay off.
Elliot Weissbluth, CEO of HighTower: “Don’t go into debt unless it’s to make a long-term investment that will pay off in the future, like a home that will increase in value over time or an education that increases your earning power.
“Fortunately, I figured this one out as a college student shopping for a new car. The temptation to take out a loan and buy a shiny new model was there, but once I did the math and saw the true cost of the payments and interest, I couldn’t justify borrowing so much money to buy a vehicle that would start to decline in value the moment I drove it off the lot. I bought a used Jeep instead, learned how to fix it up, and discovered a new hobby of working on cars.”
Don’t accept every credit-card offer.
Farnoosh Torabi, personal-finance expert, best-selling author, host of the daily podcast, “So Money”: “I would insist upon my younger self to be more thoughtful about credit. I opened up random credit cards in college just to win the silly shot glasses and tee-shirts. I opened multiple store cards to get the 20% discounts, all without really understanding the importance of paying bills off in full every month. As a result, my credit score suffered and I even got denied additional credit at one point due to a late payment incident.”
Bet on yourself.
David Bach, best-selling author, founder of FinishRich Media: “In business and life I would tell my younger self to ‘bet on yourself to win.’ You’re going to have big dreams against huge odds, with a goal of being of service to millions of people, and many people will laugh and tell you why it can’t be done by you (and they will all be wrong).
“And when it comes to the money, I would tell my younger self to pay yourself first — automatically — because the miracle of compound interest really does work, and when you’re in your late 40s you’ll be a multimillionaire because of it.”
Learn the ins and outs of investing even if you don’t have money to invest.
Steve Siebold, self-made millionaire, author of “How Rich People Think”: “I should have invested more time in my 20s studying equities, even when I didn’t have money to invest. It would have prepared me better when I entered the stock market later on.”
Figure out what you’re passionate about and find a way to monetize it.
Jennie Enterprise, founder of Manhattan’s CORE: club: “Invest in your passions and talent first and manage your own world of ideas by developing a monetization strategy.
“I was fortunate enough to discover my passion and have a clarity of purpose early in life. I’ve always had an obsessive, unwavering commitment to creating a business reality that both inspired me and propelled me to view life’s obstacles as an exciting metaphorical chess game. For entrepreneurs, these puzzles are gifts for us to solve, not pitfalls to be avoided.”
This article was written by Business Insider from Business Insider and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.