David doesn't consider himself to be a financial planner and has no plans of becoming one. However, he is passionate about seeing people become debt free and build their wealth. We thought it would be great to hear some of his thoughts on these subjects.
Tell us a bit about your website, what it's about, and what you're about?
I started MoneyNing.com in 2007 to help gather my thoughts on better managing my money. As the site grew, we started writing more and more to try to help others build wealth by saving more and investing what they accumulate. It's a simple formula, but there are many little tips and tricks that you can employ to make the journey to financial independence just a bit smoother.
Do you think frugality is an undervalued virtue these days? Why?
Advertising has gotten so good at their messaging to nudge us towards consumerism. By believing that everything will be better if we can just buy something new, we have misconceptions about frugality. Everyone thinks of it as a sacrifice, but cutting out the waste pushes us so much closer to financial freedom. Frugal living actually enables us to do so much more because we won't be forced to make sacrifices because we need the paycheck to keep rolling in.
Why do you think so many of us get into unnecessary debt and how can we stop getting into debt?
Many of us just don't think about it before we rack up the charges. We see neighbors with fancy cars and a seemingly better lifestyle, and we tell ourselves that we want it, too. What we don't see is the stress and tension the additional debt causes. The funny thing is that buying something only gives us temporary relief, but the debt we incur with the purchase will haunt us for a long time.
For some people, they have to be knee deep before they can see the light. Others can stop themselves before they ever step into a pile of consumer debt. It's different for everydiv, but we will all be better off if we can easily see the financial effects of our purchases before we make them.
Who's your hero when it comes to managing money right and why?
I was fortunate that I grew up with limited means, because I actually lived a frugal life without even knowing what it meant. My parents were naturally frugal, and I got to experience a happy upbringing without excess. Both of them helped me realize that I didn't need a life full of luxury to be happy, which was as important as anything else they've ever taught me.
Is money everything?
This one is easy to respond to on paper. The answer is of course "no," but it's very easy to let money start ruling all our decisions in our modern society. The key is to realize you can live a happy life without all that consumerism. In other words, don't build your own golden handcuffs for yourself.
How do tools like Mint help us to manage our money better?
Seeing is believing. The beauty of tools like Mint is that they do all of the tedious work for you. With a few clicks on a button, everydiv can easily see where their money is going, which starts them thinking about all the money down the drain that doesn't contribute to their happiness.
What do you say to people who are feeling overwhelmed about investing?
It's not all or nothing. I tell people who are overwhelmed to start small so they won't be afraid of making mistakes. A low cost passive portfolio is incredibly easy to maintain and manage. Once you learn the theories of why it works so well, then it's much easier to cope with market volatility too.
What's your best advice for building wealth?
Think long term and be patient. A $100 a month waste may not seem like a disaster, but $100 a month could shave years off your working career if you save and invest the sum prudently. Now just imagine if you can shave a few hundred bucks off your budget each and every month. Save that, put it in a passive portfolio and you'll be rich one day. The hard part is just the waiting part.