134 personal finances experts share their experiences, best tips, and advice on how you can achieve financial wellness.
Most people don’t know what to do when it comes to improving their finances. The amount of information out there is overwhelming. Where do you even start?
Yes, improving your financial wellness can seem like a daunting task, but our personal finance experts are here to break it down for you and make it as straightforward as possible.
We’re going to share tips and advice from real people who have achieved financial wellness. People turn to them when they want to learn about money; they are today’s financial experts.
They’ll tell you what to do and how to do it and even spill their best tips, tools, and tactical advice (plus the surprising answer I didn’t think they’d ever give). Are you ready to learn from the best? Let’s jump in!
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- 134 personal finances experts share their experiences, best tips, and advice on how you can achieve financial wellness.
- What is financial wellness?
- Our “financial experts”
- What you should do with this information
- Question 1: Before you started your financial journey, were you ever stressed about your finances?
- Question 2: If you experienced stress, how did that stress show up for you?
- Question 3: How did you learn about money?
- Question 4: How long did it take you to “get (mostly) good” with your finances?
- Question 5: What is the best way for “everyday people” to learn about money?
- Question 6: People will find the biggest bang for their buck if they focus on…
- Question 7: The “everyday person” can benefit the most by learning from which methodology?
- Question 8: Do you have a favorite or recommend a financial app/tool/program?
- Question 9: What is the #1 financial tip/hack/thing that you wish people knew?
- Question 10: What’s one thing people can do this week to improve their financial wellness?
- What are the basic steps to achieving financial wellness?
- At the end of the day
What is financial wellness?
Financial wellness is a state of financial well-being in which you can manage your bills and expenses, pay your debts, weather unexpected financial emergencies, and plan for long-term financial goals such as building college funds and saving for retirement.
While this is a good general definition, financial wellness will mean something slightly different to each individual. Because everyone’s financial past and future goals are slightly different. We have different family sizes, living arrangements, jobs, and resources.
Our “financial experts”
All of the people listed here are individuals who have put their opinions, tips, and expertise out as finance content creators. Some are more well-known than others; some have financial degrees.
Some have been at this for decades, while for others, for just a few years. Some have careers in the finance industry, while others have bootstrapped their financial savvy from trial & error.
I wanted a diverse group of experts, similar to our diverse group of readers. I wanted our experts to be relatable and their success to be achievable for you. So you won’t find answers from Warren Buffet on here (but that would be amazing). His wealth isn’t achievable for 99.99% of us.
These experts are just like you, like your neighbor, your cousin, your 3rd-grade teacher, etc. You can achieve the same level of financial success as many of the experts listed here. You just need to listen and be willing to act.
What you should do with this information
Read it, see what resonates with you, think about how it applies to your life, and make the mindset adjustment that you can absolutely improve your finances.
Not every piece of information will work for every person, but you’ll see many common themes in the advice given. Just be open to new ideas, ways, and avenues for you to learn and implement some of these ideas. Don’t immediately dismiss something because it didn’t work for you ten years ago or your friend tried it and hated it.
We will establish a baseline of where our experts started, how they learned about money, and finally, their best advice for you to achieve financial well-being.
Question 1: Before you started your financial journey, were you ever stressed about your finances?
There’s a lot of stigma around not having a handle on your money. People wonder, “How did I get to this point? What’s wrong with me? Everyone else has it together.”
There’s nothing wrong with you, and trust me, the majority of people flashing their fancy cars don’t have it “together.” You just see what they want you to see, but many times what’s behind the curtain could be a very different story.
So understand if you’re stressed about your finances, many people feel the same way, including our experts. Here’s how they felt about money at the beginning of their journey…
119 out of 134 experts were stressed about their finances. Of those who experienced stress, 57 out of the 119 experienced considerable stress.
Question 2: If you experienced stress, how did that stress show up for you?
Our experts had a full score of symptoms of how financial stress showed up for them. Maybe you have similar aches, pains, and thought patterns?
Our mindset affects our whole body, and fixing one of our main sources of stress can dramatically improve how we feel mentally and how our body feels physically.
Many of our experts were able to turn their finances around and eliminate their stress and improve their physical well-being when they improved their financial savvy.
According to our experts, they experienced:
Question 3: How did you learn about money?
So how have all these “experts” become experts?
The answer is simple, they’ve done it mostly on their own. Our financial experts weren’t born knowing about money. Just like every life skill, they had to learn it, practice, adjust, learn some more, observe, and evaluate.
Other options: Our experts could pick more than one answer for this, as many people learn from a variety of teachings. These included…
- Trial & error – 2nd most common way
- Read books- 3rd most common way
- My parents/family member taught me
- Read financial websites (i.e., Forbes)
- Took a course
- Meet with a financial professional
- Workplace program – least common
Question 4: How long did it take you to “get (mostly) good” with your finances?
Here’s the deal, people think that massive change takes a long time, forever even. They question whether all that time spent will be “worth it?” Will they even be able to change?
Here’s the thing, while changing your finances around is a big project, you take it little by little, learning a little bit more every day. In the beginning, I used to learn about money in one hour a day; that was my goal. I’d listen to the Dave Ramsey Show podcast on my commute to work every day.
That one small change was my jumping-off point. I didn’t need to radically change everything in one week; it was little by little. Over the course of a couple of years, everything was different. And in looking at the results, most experts agreed that it took 1-2 years to get mostly good with their money.
So don’t think that this is a massive 10-year project that will take 100% commitment every second of every day. It won’t.
Yes, some things will need to change, and consistency will be very important, but you’ll adjust, and it will soon be your new normal. You won’t miss the things you used to buy all the time.
That’s part of what financial wellness is, a mindset shift. You’ll soon learn where your spending priorities are and learn how to cut in other areas to make your priorities happen while still staying under budget.
Other options for our experts:
- Still at it (I now love learning about money) and will continue – 2nd most popular answer at 26%
- Less than a year
- About five years
- Still at it (I’m not where I need to be yet)
I want to touch on our 2nd most common answer, that our experts now love learning about money and will continue to learn. This may sound strange to those at the beginning of their financial wellness journey, as you may be dreading it, fearing it, or completely numb to it.
Trust me, as you learn, you’ll make changes, you’ll see progress, and you’ll get excited about that progress. You’ll want to try other things to see how much more you can earn/save/etc. You’ll keep seeing gains, and you’ll become even more excited about the possibilities. Learning about money is no longer a chore; it’s a gift.
Question 5: What is the best way for “everyday people” to learn about money?
When you’re reading something like this, you have an advantage. You get the experience of all the people that have gone down this path before you. We know what works!
So take our combined voices and experience and trust us when we say this is how you should learn about managing your money.
I can’t speak for all of our experts, but I’ll give my input on why learning from blogs and podcasts is the best choice.
Reading about finances from people in a similar situation to my own makes it seem more “real” and their success more achievable. They usually share their struggles, their advice, tips, and hacks that I can easily relate to and try and replicate.
While learning from high-profile experts does have its advantages, somehow, their story seems distant, and their success seems out of reach. Yes, they probably struggled with money, but that was “then,” and now they’re crazy successful.
Besides, you may like a money guru, but some of their advice may not sit well with your situation. While smaller finance content creators can cherry-pick the best advice from one guru, a tactic from another teacher, and a tip from someone else and mash it all up to suit their needs. They aren’t limited or constrained to follow a specific “program” or set of rules that a book may have you follow.
Besides, books can take years to publish, while with blogs, you can learn about something one day and publish about it that night.
Yet, finance books are still very valuable to read (that’s why they’re the #2 choice from our experts). They are polished, their steps well thought out, edited, and proven effective time over time. They also usually have success stories from people that have gone through the author’s program, which is an inspiring aspect.
So if you want to learn from books, here’s our list of the best finance books to help you on your financial wellness journey.
Question 6: People will find the biggest bang for their buck if they focus on…
I’ll be honest, the results of this question really surprised me, but I was pleasantly surprised. Let’s get right into the results…
I was surprised because finance people are generally numbers people, data-driven. Yet, the majority of us said to focus on your money mindset; that’s where you can achieve the most bang for your buck!
So all these data-driven people know and believe that something that can’t be measured is one of the most important factors in achieving financial wellness. Don’t sleep on this; take notice that this is important. You can get started improving your money mindset with these five simple steps.
“Your money mindset is the beliefs and attitudes that you have towards money. It affects how you earn, spend, save, and invest your money. If you have a positive money mindset, you’re more likely to be financially successful. A positive money mindset can help you become more confident with money, make better financial decisions, and achieve your financial goals.” – Cara from Cara Palmer
2nd place –
Making & using a monthly budget was the 2nd most popular choice as to where you can make the most impact with your money.
- If you’re brand new to budgeting and you have no idea what to do, start with my beginning budgeting series.
- If you’ve tried budgeting before and it didn’t work, then try a different budgeting method; check out the seven best budgeting methods here.
- If you know how to budget but just need some way to track your numbers, then grab my free budgeting printables here.
- If you want a comprehensive step-by-step plan that absolutely works (I’ve been budgeting this way for 5+ years), go here for a limited-time deal on my Better Budget method.
Question 7: The “everyday person” can benefit the most by learning from which methodology?
This question and answer should be taken with a grain of salt because everyone is on a different part of their journey. What may suit someone at the beginning of their journey may not apply to someone looking to maximize their tax deductions so they can go and invest more money into REITs.
There were a small handful of front runners, while the other choices lagged far behind. Let’s take those front runners and sort them into the beginning, middle and advanced stages of personal finance & wealth building.
For each teacher, I will reference their book (which you can get from your local library for free), and you can find lots of free content through their social media, podcasts, and YouTube videos.
Stage One – pay down debt & stick to a monthly budget
Dave Ramsey & his baby step program received 15% of the responses. So if you’re at the beginning of your journey, this is the best place to start. You can learn about Dave’s baby steps right here and see his book, The Total Money Makeover, which has sold more than 5 million copies.
His methods may be considered abrupt, but you can’t argue with the results his followers get! What he teaches you works; you just need to be willing to put in the effort and have discipline.
Stage Two – make your money work for you
If you have your monthly budget working for you and have zero to minimal consumer debt, then your best bet is to focus on making your money work for you by learning from Robert Kiyosaki. He earned 15% of the vote for the best guru to follow.
His book Rich Dad Poor Dad has just celebrated its 25th anniversary with a special updated edition. Don’t think that an older book can’t teach you new tricks. Rich Dad Poor Dad ranks as the longest-running bestseller on all four lists that report to Publisher’s Weekly – The New York Times, Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.
Stage Three – steady investment growth
It’s hard to argue with a $94 billion net worth, so it’s no wonder that 17% of our experts want you to follow Warren Buffett’s financial advice.
If you’re not familiar with him, his investing advice has earned him the nickname the Oracle of Omaha for being one of the most successful investors of all time. He invested young and built his company, Berkshire Hathaway, into a behemoth. What’s more, he still lives in his modest home in Nebraska that he bought for $31,500 in 1958.
Although he has never authored a book, The Warren Buffet Way goes into his teachings & methodologies of simple, straightforward investing advice that works.
Life Long – spend only on what you love and cut the rest
If you want to learn from the best, then let’s get straight to our expert’s #1 top pick, Ramit Sethi. His financial advice isn’t about deprivation, it’s about action, and he wants you to live a rich life, one that you feel is worth living!
I cannot recommend his book, I Will Teach You to Be Rich enough, it’s my all-time favorite finance book, and I know you’ll love it too! All I can say is that his teachings make so much sense, you read a chapter, and you’re shouting, “of course!” And the process repeats at the end of the next chapter, for the entire book, until you’re done. Then you sit back, bask in the enlightenment for 5 minutes, and then get to work!
Question 8: Do you have a favorite or recommend a financial app/tool/program?
I am a huge fan of beginners putting pencil to paper for their budgeting needs. It’s been proven that handwriting things make a stronger mental connection than just typing information. This is how people learn best, from the ground up.
“Pen and paper. Tools, apps, and programs are great time savers, but only AFTER you’ve spent the time to figure out what you’re doing.” – Joel from Invest Safely
Once you have your numbers under control and have a system in place, it makes a lot of sense to go digital. There are a lot of different options to help you manage your money, and they can help you do things faster, help you see trends, invest, show you where you can cut back on bills; and sometimes, they’ll even do the bill trimming for you.
Here are our expert’s most popular tools…
#1 Excel or Google Sheets
Excel is like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, but for money nerds. If you can dream it, you can put (almost) everything in a spreadsheet!
The best news is that Google Sheets is free, and it’s bundled with Google Drive, Docs, and Slides to share files, documents, and presentations online. It includes almost all of the same spreadsheet functions as Excel.
What’s funny is that our experts were almost apologetic about loving Excel so much. Many mentioned that it was old-fashioned, simple, unpopular, uncool even. Little did they know that all the cool kids kick it with Excel.
“It’s not a popular answer, but the honest one is Excel. There’s nothing like building your own budget and investment plan to really understand the impact of the financial choices you make.” – Michelle from Fire and Wide
(Take heart Michelle, Excel is actually very popular.)
“I personally just use Microsoft and Google spreadsheets. First of all it’s FREE. Everyone’s finances are “personal,” and thus, using an open spreadsheet, you can tailor it to what you need. I use a spreadsheet for budgeting, sinking funds, tracking my online banking transactions and investments.” – Minda from Cents and Family
#2 You Need a Budget
You Need a Budget, or YNAB, as it’s more commonly known, is one of the most popular budgeting tools today. It was developed in 2004 and has gained features, functionality, and a cult following every year since then.
They have developed a proactive money management system with four simple steps, and if you follow the plan, you can “be in total control of your finances, and in so doing, your life.” Start your free 34-day trial right here.
“I love YNAB. Their four rules for budgeting can help even the most reluctant budgeter make a budget they can keep.” – Natalie from Go From Broke
#3 Personal Capital
Personal Capital isn’t a traditional bank or investment firm (but it does have some limited functionality as such). It’s an online dashboard where you can see your entire financial situation at one glance. Once you know where you stand, you can figure out how to get to where you want to be.
Setting it up takes maybe 20 minutes (depending on how many accounts you have), and once that’s done, it tracks everything for you! It tracks your net worth, retirement savings, investment growth, cash flow, etc.
“Start tracking your net worth using an app like Personal Capital. It’s the ONE thing that can truly help to move the needle for most people. And PC makes it easy and seamless to do so.” – Accidentally Retired
Question 9: What is the #1 financial tip/hack/thing that you wish people knew?
Almost everyone knows that “one thing” that made the most difference for them, that one piece of advice that made everything click into place in their brain. That one thing that turned it all around – the gold nugget.
So here’s the gold nugget, actually 74 of them.
“Very cliche, but compound interest” – Jesse from Best Interest
“Understand that money is just a tool.” – Joyce from My Stay at Home Adventures
“Realize that what works for X may not work for you. Try cash envelopes, try budgeting sheet, try the no-spend challenge – just don’t quit.” – Freya from Collecting Cents
“Don’t forget to celebrate the little wins along the way and enjoy the journey!” – Court from Modern FImily
“Look at budgeting as giving you permission versus being a restriction.” – Tiffany from Money Talk with Tiff
“Budgeting and cutting costs are important, but then you need to grow your money by investing it.” – Kanwal from Simply Investing
“There is plenty of time left to accomplish your goals. You may feel like you’re behind or under the gun, but there’s a lot of time, and give yourself the space and grace to do it. – Jim from Wallet Hacks
“Retirement accounts are not for old people! I didn’t realize that an IRA is what you use to be able to retire someday. So many people skip using their retirement accounts for investing– but that is the EXACT place you want to start. Why? Cause it saves us money on taxes.” – Choe from Clo Bare
“Automate your finances to hide money from yourself” – Mark from Financial Pilgrimage
“People will resonate with different money gurus or different mediums (YouTube/podcasts/blogs), but the basics will remain the same: spend less than you earn and invest the difference!” – Jonathan from Joney Talks
“It’s okay to be imperfect in managing your finances. We all have blind spots and make mistakes; it’s important to keep learning and improving when you can. Your future self will thank you.” – Julie from Investing to Thrive
“A budget is not a piece of art that you create once and then let collect dust on the shelf. It should look more like a football playbook if done correctly. Come back to the budget you created throughout the days and weeks, and cross off, mark it up, and change things as you go. This will prove to be much more useful to you than just creating a budget once and going about your life.” – Amanda from Frugal Confessions
“Start saving for retirement from your first pay check.” – Sudipto from One Cent at a Time
“Never spend more than you make. It becomes a habit that allows you to always have enough for both living expenses and saving. Pretty soon, you’re rich and you feel like you didn’t do anything special to get there. (This is also why Warren Buffet is my favorite financial guru. He not only invests well, he lives modestly – well below his means and always has. He’s a great.” – Kathy from Side Husl
“You’ll have far more success getting your financials in order by focusing on the things you can control rather than focusing on the things that happened in your past that you can’t.” – Samantha from How to FIRE
“Don’t be afraid to start! Keep it simple and do what you can.” – Robyn from A Dime Saved
“The biggest impactor to your wealth and happiness is contentment. Very few learn this during their lifetime.” – Derek from Life and My Finances
“Throughout your money journey, it will be important to show yourself some grace from time to time. There will be ups and downs, but continuous progress overall is the goal. Nobody is perfect with their money – regardless of what social media says. Just taking the time to learn and having the desire to make changes are great action steps to start.” – Maria from Handful of Thoughts
“That the path to financial independence begins with figuring out your values in life. We don’t all need a high-paying job, a fancy house and huge garden, and all the latest expensive gadgets to be happy. Our priorities are all different, and that means our budgets for achieving financial freedom are all going to be different, too.” – Yasmin from The Wallet Moth
“Remember it is not a sprint – rather a marathon.” – Albert from Fang Wallet
“The Baby Steps approach of Dave Ramsey can help you get on solid financial footing, once and for all, if you tackle things in the order he suggests. While I may not agree with everything Dave Ramsey suggest, his baby steps are spot on advice for anyone wanting to better manage their money.” – Kristen from Joyfully Thriving
“Money is a tool that you can leverage to take career risks, time off, or retire early… the list of uses is only limited by your imagination.” – Kathryn from Cash for Kat
“Investing isn’t only for rich people, you can invest. Even if it’s just $20 per month, it’s will pay off big in the long run.” – Marjolein from Radical FIRE
“Life is short, so don’t be too critical if you spend too much having fun every so often. I enjoy traveling and taking my wife out to fancy restaurants, so I built them into my financial plan. I took on a freelance job online to help pay for those treats while still being able to save/invest for my (early, I hope) retirement.” – Derek from Engineer My Freedom
“Your mindset and self-talk matter A LOT! If you don’t believe you can fix your financial situation, you’ve lost before you even start.” – Christine from Christine Luken
“Slow and steady, compounding can either work against you or for you.” – Rob from Passive Canadian Income
“Money isn’t an all-or-nothing approach. You are the one who lives your life, so do what works for you. Spend within your means, create more streams of income, especially some passive options, decide what wealth is to you (it’s not just about money!), and live accordingly. Don’t worry about what everyone else thinks or says you ‘should’ do. Do what’s right for you.” – Kylie from Aspiring Millionaire
“To save money, do it on payday and forget about it. Waiting until the end of the month to save whatever is left is a disaster! You’ll be tempted to spend it if it’s there in your account to spend!” – Victoria from Lylia Rose
“There is no ONE hack to financial freedom. It’s a combination of habits and choices that work together to help you get rid of debt, increase your income and improve your standard of living.” – Amanda from Frugal Mom Guide
“Ask questions of others and read the Richest Man in Babylon!” – Kirk from KG Meyer
“It’s not the avocado toast that makes people struggle with their finances; it’s having NO idea about how the avocado toast, or the new TV, or the grocery bills, fits into their overall financial picture.” – Tom from This Online World
“Investing doesn’t have to be hard. Just invest in index funds early, often, and for the long term, and you’ll come out ahead of most people.” – Peter from Bible Money Matters
“How much money you make is not tied to your level of education or even just brute force effort. Rather it’s tied to compounding – compounding your skills, your business, your income, and your portfolio.” – Jon from Project Financially Free
“You can’t cut your way to FI and you can’t earn your way to FI. It’s all about your savings %.” – Adam from The Blind Luck Project
“Live within your means, find happiness in what you can afford.” – Tracy from Mind Over Money Matters
“For those on extremely low incomes that can barely make ends meet, recommending budgeting, getting a new job, or living frugally will often do little. Sometimes, there’s nothing to “optimize” or cut that will improve the situation. Not everyone is capable of budgeting their way out of a problem or making more money. Sometimes, it’s systemic and complicated, and there’s no magic bullet. Finances can be challenging and messy, and it’s personal to each person.” – Eryn from Frugal Twins
“Saving on your taxes by being a homeowner with a mortgage.” – Scott from Money and Bills
“Start where you’re at now – today is the perfect time! Once you get the budgeting basics down, move into investing, cash management, etc. We all started somewhere!” – Matt from Money by Ramey
“If you have a talent (i.e. cleaning, babysitting, driving, etc.), there is a way to earn money doing it for someone else. You can even turn your passion into a blog or YouTube channel because people digest interesting content all day long.” – Trinity from The Pay at Home Parent
“Visualize destiny with the belief, whether it is financial freedom or the life you dream of. Belief is the head chemist of the mind, so if you can blend your efforts into this belief, positive outcomes will always be on your side.” – Siva from Dreamshala
“For people that have significant debt, or multiple things to attack they often become overwhelmed with what they need to do. Find one thing you can do, get comfortable with it, then add another. Rinse and repeat is best to build the confidence you need to improve your finances.” – John from Frugal Rules
“Apply the rule of 50, 30, 20 to your income. This means 50% are your bills and outgoings 30% are your Life enrichment, and 20% is your savings or Investments each month.” – Olly from Savvy Dad
“Financial health isn’t tied to income levels. It’s true that it’s easier to save or invest when you have more, but if you don’t save at least some when you have little, you won’t be able to save when you have more. Stop waiting until you’re ‘rich’ to budget, plan, save, invest. In fact, wealth comes from proper income management – otherwise you’re just a high income earner.” – Lily from Finding Balance Mom
“Work on changing one (just one) habit. Trying to change everything about your finances at once can be overwhelming and leads to a lower success rate. So, work on one thing at a time.” – Acquania from The Purpose of Money
“There is a limit to how much you can save if you don’t make very much money. Increasing your income and investing more will benefit your financial health for the future you.” – Suchot from The Curious Frugal
(Know the difference between) “assets vs liabilities.” – Dan from Rich Life Habits
“I think the biggest thing for me is that you can only cut so much. I focus more on making money rather than cutting because I find it easier and more beneficial for my finances.” – Forrest from Don’t Work Another Day
“There isn’t one approach to money success for everybody. The best thing you can do is to test things for yourself – follow different experts, read a range of books, take free webinars before jumping into the full course, etc. You probably know more than you think. You can learn more quickly than you expect. Even if you’re in debt or have fewer dollars in the savings account than you’d like, you can turn it around more quickly than you expect if you just get started somewhere.” – Caroline from Costa Rica FIRE
“Get out of consumer debt.” – Micah from Deep Value ETF Accumulator
“Simplicity + consistency leads to success. Whether you’re paying off all your consumer debt, spending money from one dedicated spending account, or investing in the same set of mutual funds every single month, the simpler and more consistent you are in your financial life, the faster you will make meaningful progress.” – Zach from Be the Budget
“Invest as early as possible.” – Fiona from the Millenial Money Woman
“Money isn’t everything, but it impacts most things. Get good with money so you can spend most of your time on the important things.” – Jason from Phroogal
“You should build up a side hustle business in order to have more capital available for your equity investments.” – Alexander from Wall St. Nerd
“Spend mindfully – don’t feel guilty over purchases that are meaningful to you but don’t buy junk.” – Jennifer from My Money Yard
“Take the skills you’ve gained in your day job or in school and build a side hustle around them. For many, earning an extra $500 a month is easier than you might realize and it can make a huge difference in paying down debt or increasing your savings account.” – Chenell from Hustle to Startup
“That it is never too late to get started with improving your finances. Even if you are 5 years from retirement and have nothing saved, you should still work on saving money. If you save nothing, you won’t have any money to retire to. But if you save something, you might not live your dream retirement life but you will be able to retire.” – Jon from Money Smart Guides
“You don’t need to make more money to have more money! By tracking your spending and becoming mindful of where your money is going, you’ll free up money you never knew you had.” – Cassie from Living Low Key
“Your view on money will decide if you are rich, poor, or struggling. You get to decide which one you will be.” – Kristy from Money Bliss
“Achieving financial wellness is not complex and can easily be learned by those willing to invest the time. The path is simple, but it is not always easy.” – Kristen from Rich Frugal Life
“Search for money mentors who openly share their ideas about money management, budgeting, spending, and saving. In many cases, we don’t need to pay for financial advisors; we need sounding boards and cheerleaders to spur us on. Surround yourself with others who are striving towards similar financial goals.” – Julie from One Frugal Girl
“Personal finance is completely personal, and there’s not one single way that is perfect for everyone. Find the solution that works best for you by piecing together tips, advice, and solutions from many different sources.” – Kaila from Frugal Twins
“If we can address all the kids (with financial literacy), then there won’t be any adults who lack financial literacy (eventually).” – Lazy Man and Money
“I feel like people ignore the interest rate way too often.” – Cassie from A Life on a Dime
“I wished I’d learned to track my expenses much earlier – I would then be more intentional about my spending and spent more on things I value while still investing for the future.” – Late Starter FIRE
“It’s definitely cliché, but it needs to be said. Pay yourself first!” – Dan from Stock Trades
“That little savings can make a difference. Saving a dollar here and there can eventually mean more money in the bank in the long run.” – Gemma from This Work From Home Life
“Debt freedom and wise financial management brings amazing peace.” – Stacie from Families for Financial Freedom
“Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses.” – Dev from Stable Investor
“Know your budget. It’s vital that you know exactly what you have coming in and going out each month so that you can take control of your finances.” – Clare from My Money Cottage
“Your work and time is the human capital, money and assets are your financial capital, if you figure out how to get your assets off their asses (working FOR you), your quality of life will be a multifold better!” – Matthias from Financial Imagineer
“Index investing! Investing in a simple broad-based Vanguard Index fund.” – Alan from Alan Donagan
“Financial health is not a one-time journey. Your life will surprise you from time to time, and your financial health will wax and wane. But if you understand how money works, you can survive crises intact.” – Teresa from Living on the Cheap
“You can only cut so many expenses, so you have to learn how to increase your income.” – Jason from My Money Chronicles
“You absolutely have to spend less than you earn. That’s it!” – Brendan from Take Charge of Your Money
Question 10: What’s one thing people can do this week to improve their financial wellness?
Going through all the information on this page can be overwhelming; it’s a lot to take in. Where do you even start?
We all know that the first step is the hardest (with any big change, not just with your finances). The experts want to give you one piece of tactical advice that you can do right now, this week, in fact, to improve your financial wellness.
Take note of tips that sound similar/overlapping – these are the things that many agree can move the needle. Start with these first!
“Find one monthly subscription you can cut. It’s likely you don’t use some of these things you pay for monthly regularly, and it’s so easy to forget about these things.” – Jarek from Time in the Market
“Increase your savings rate, whether that’s in a 401(k), IRA, or taxable account by 1%. Then, set a calendar reminder for three months down the road to increase it by another 1%. Repeat.” – RJ from The Ways to Wealth
“Pick one recurring expense, then find a cheaper option (that doesn’t impact the level of service or your quality of life). For example, if you can find a cheaper internet provider, you won’t notice any difference in the service, but you’ll notice a huge difference in your bill.” – Chrissy from Eat Sleep Breathe FI
“Before you make that next purchase ask yourself, “Will buying this item move me closer to or push me further away from my financial goals?” – DeShena from Extravagantly Broke
“What can you automate? If you are busy (and who isn’t?!), Do you forget when payments are coming out? (Oops.) Although it takes a little time, look at everything you can automate in your budget. If you want more control over your money, automate, automate, automate! It eliminates the chance of human error.” – Karen from Making Cents Count
“Sit down with your finances and ask yourself, “what can I do to fix my problem right now.” Sometimes the answer is staring right in the face. You just need to take the time to see it.” – Chris from Stumble Forward
“Are you subscribed to 4 or 5 different things you barely use? Do you buy three rounds of Starbucks a day? Put some effort into saving this week, and then at the end of that week, whatever you’ve saved, buy someone something nice with it. You’ll then see the value of saving.” – Sammie from Up the Gains
“Learn to avoid leaving free money on the table. One example: Find out if your employer matches 401(k) contributions. It’s essentially free money, and since your employer does the investing & automatically deducts contributions from your paycheck, it’s also a relatively simple way to invest.” – Paula from A Dollar Wise
“If you are struggling with money and don’t know where to start, tracking your expenses is the easiest step you can take. Right now! It’s incredible how something so simple can change your relationship with money. Once you know where your money goes, you can be more mindful and spend on what really matters to you.” – Sara from Gathering Dreams
“Put $10 in a separate savings account. Take it out of the grocery budget if you must, then shop your pantry for the difference. Do the same thing next week and the week after and the week after. In a year, you’ll be so glad you did.” – Emma from Mums Money
“Sign up to a cashback website! One of the easiest low-effort ways to get a little extra money.” – Dan from The Financial Wilderness
“Automate any bill payments. Late fees are a waste of money, and forgetting to pay something can really sting. This is why you should take a few minutes to automate as much of your finances as possible, as doing so can save you a ton of money over time.” – Anna from Logical Dollar
“At the end of each month, print off or download your bank statement. Look through it and highlight all of the unnecessary purchases. This will show you how much money you actually “waste,” and it is a real eye opener! Once you see them, you will start to avoid making them again.” – James from Smarter Finances
“Save a 20%+ of your paycheck.” – David from Filled with Money
“Numbers can sometimes be daunting and uninspiring. Determine your reason for becoming financially free, find a picture that depicts this desire, and make it the wallpaper of your cell phone. When you go to spend on something you don’t need, look at the picture to remind you of your ultimate reason to save.” – Bonnie from 43 Blue Doors
“Look at your budget and start planning for upcoming expenses like the holiday season. Set a budget now to see how much you need to save every month until then. That way you won’t spend too much or end up with debt in the new year.” – Steffa from Money Tamer
“Install one of the many side hustle apps and start making extra money in your spare time.” – Saeed from Money Pantry
“Download the most recent bank statement and group all incomings and outgoings in an excel spreadsheet. You will feel a lot better knowing exactly where your money is going each month.” – Matt from WAHman
“Take one of your skills to the next level. It doesn’t have to be big – baby steps. Take an Udemy or LinkedIn course. The best inflation hedge is an investment in yourself! Allows you to set your own prices.” – Michael from Foxy Monkey
“Start small if you need to, just start. The more I saved money, the easier it became until it was automatic for me.” – Martina from Stack Your Dollars
“Head to the library and grab 3 personal finance books. Commit to reading at least one chapter. Complete whatever exercise the book has. Start the journey of being a learner.” – Catherine from Sisters for FI
“Have a no spending week.” – Ilamina from Flowing Cents
“Before making any impulse purchases, put the item in your virtual cart. If you still think about the item and need it in two days, go ahead and purchase it.” – Chloe from Off Hour Hustle
“Dave Ramsey’s podcast, listen to it daily until you finally change your behavior!” – Andrew from eInvesting for Beginners
“Track your spending.” – Scott from Debt Smart
“Putting pen to paper on expenses vs income instead of eyeballing it.” – Tuppeny from Tuppeny Fireplace
“Sit down and think about what matters to you. Then create a spending plan around what matters to you.” – Miranda from Miranda Marquit
“If spending is your downfall, keep a spending diary (including bills) for a few weeks, review everything you spend your money on, and cut back.” – Emma from Bee Money Savvy
“Automate your savings account by setting up several savings accounts and assigning goals to them (ex: vacation fund, emergency fund, etc) and putting a portion of your paycheque into these savings accounts right away. Automate it; this is my favorite lifesaver. Pay yourself first.” – Tracy from Financial Nirvana Mama
“Change your mindset!” – Mike from Average Joe Finances
“Build liquidity with emergency savings for unexpected costs, so you don’t have to use your credit card.” – Linda from The Cents of Money
“This week, to improve your financial wellness take stock of where you are and where you want to be. Set a financial goal for yourself, and then write down every tactic you can use to get there. And next week, start using those tactics!” – Cara from Penny Polly
“Review your network of friends and family to see what unique financial advantages you have. Maybe you can help each other with a specific household goal. Community is important and something we have neglected the past few decades but working together makes dreams possible when you have limited savings, time, or skills.” – Josh from Money Buffalo
“Make a budget that intentionally focuses on your goals, priorities, and things you care about. When you make a budget with your goals and priorities in mind, it’s easier to see what you really care about and where you can start to cut expenses that you don’t care about.” – Jamie from Mr. Jamie Griffin
“Learn about a dividend paying stock or ETF and see how it it doing against your 401k/brokerage account.” – K.P. from The Money Takes
“Automate your savings and investments. A percentage of every paycheck should automatically go to your emergency savings fund, while another amount goes to your long-term investment accounts. This allows you to grow your wealth without ever thinking about it.” – Michelle from Savings and Sangria
“Organize all your paperwork/apps/bank accounts so you know where everything is and can find it easily. This includes passcodes etc to be able to get into the accounts. It makes life so much easier for budgeting and knowing where you’re at financially. Simple, yet highly effective!” – Nikki from The Female Money Doctor
“Face your bills and don’t hide from them.” – Fanny from Living Richly on a Budget
“Pick one thing that you can improve on and focus on that first.” – Amanda from My Life I Guess
“Financial success is not a secret it’s simply taking the proper steps to achieve your goals. Anyone can be successful if they are willing to put in the hard work. You can do it! Just take the first step today.” – Brian from Smarts
What are the basic steps to achieving financial wellness?
To achieve financial wellness, you should…
- Know and understand that financial success can be yours – work on your money mindset
- Invest in yourself by learning about money management –
- Create a budget and stick to it – my exact method on how to build a better budget
- Eliminate unnecessary expenses – know where your personal core values are and align your spending with those values
- Start saving for short-term and long-term goals – use sinking funds to save money for everything
At the end of the day
Each of our personal finance experts has their own unique story and tips to share on how they achieved (and maintain) financial wellness. But one thing is clear: it takes hard work and dedication. We hope these stories will inspire you and give you the practical advice you need to start your path to financial wellness.
If you’re ready to make some changes with your money and start working towards a more financially secure future for you and your loved ones, then it’s time to act. Follow the expert’s tips in question 11 to get started right now.
A heartfelt thank you to all our personal finance experts who contributed their time, effort, and expertise to make this piece possible!
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