We've featured a lot of tips from The Simple Dollar's Trent Hamm — from earning money online to managing a career hiatus and overcoming decision fatigue. Here, he shares his 10 most important pieces of financial advice.
This post originally appeared on The Simple Dollar.
It's not really that complicated.
1. Spend less than you earn.
2. If you're facing a pile of debts, make minimum payments on all of the debts but the one with the highest interest rate, then make the biggest payment you can each month on that high one.
3. Never expect that your "future self" or anyone else will bail you out of your dumb mistakes today and remember that only you can make better choices for yourself.
4. The quickest way to financial recovery is to get a grip on your spending impulses.
5. Life is going to hand you emergencies, so keep at least $1000 in your savings account for those emergencies.
6. Be completely open with your spouse about every single dime that comes in and every single dime that you spend.
7. Buy items that will last for a very long time at the best possible price and you'll rarely be unhappy with them.
8. If your employer offers matching on your 401(k) [or other retirement-related benefits], take as much of it as you can get.
9. When you're deciding how to invest, remember that past performance does not indicate future returns and focus instead on the fees and expenses.
10. If you have dependents who rely on you, you ought to have life insurance, but ignore any salesperson who tries to sell you anything other than a term policy.
A final "bonus" life and career tip: treat every single person in your life as you would like to be treated, regardless of whether you're in the workplace or in everyday life.
If you can handle all of these things, you're going to be just fine.
(Almost) Everything Useful I've Learned About Personal Finance in 10 Sentences [The Simple Dollar]
Trent Hamm is a personal finance writer at TheSimpleDollar.com. After pulling himself out of his own financial crisis, he founded the site in late 2006 to help others through financially difficult situations; today the site has become a finance, insurance, and retirement resource. Contact Trent at trent AT the simple dollar DOT com; please send site inquiries to inquiries AT the simple dollar DOT com.