There are many wonderful books on money management. Read them and you will realize that you already know the common sense principles:
- Have goals. Write down your financial goals. Separate your needs from your wants. Research and know how much money will be necessary to purchase real estate, to obtain an education, to start a family or to fund a business.
- Be a saver. Have the discipline to make the tough money decisions to earn enough to enact your plan. Be a saver. With your eye on the prize, embrace whatever early hard work and temporary frugality is necessary; work overtime, take a second job or delay buying a new car. Invest and delay immediate gratification. Pay off all non-mortgage debt and then mortgage debt.
- Live on a budget. Translate your goals and plan into a realistic budget. Live within your means. On a regular basis, log and analyze your income and expenses. As you work to raise income, try to identify ways to cut costs. Having a written shopping list will help you to resist impulse buying. Take an extra day to consider the pros and cons of major purchases.
- Educate yourself. Take a lifelong interest in finance. You must be able to make your own informed decisions. Read business publications. Understand your own taxes and how to pay the minimum you owe. Itemize and take full deductions. Understand and build your credit score. Hire competent financial advisers and talk to them.
- Marry well. This means finding a life partner, a kindred spirit, and raising a family who understand and embrace the big picture. Talk finance. Discuss options.
- Invest. Bet on America. Invest long term. Buy real estate and diversify with a stock market index fund.
- Buy quality. Research your purchases. Frugal is smart. Cheap is not smart. Look for reputable products from honest vendors who offer reasonable guarantees.
- Participate. Join in corporate and government incentive and retirement programs that multiply your personal efforts. These could range from credit union low interest mortgage programs, to state backed home energy rebates or matching corporate contributions to IRAs or your 401k.
- Protect. If you have dependents, you need term life insurance. Buying eight times your annual income is a general guideline. Have a will detailing your wishes.
- Give. For a Master of Success, it seems the more you have, the less you need. Be generous with those unable to help themselves.
Worry about yourself. Trying to impress others with your things is a counter-productive treadmill. You may be publically admired and privately resented.