After a lifetime of saying 'no' to spending money, our financial planner had some advice: It's OK to say yes
- My husband and I are about 10 years from retirement, and our financial planner recently commended us for handling our money so responsibly.
- After our last session, she asked if there was any advice we'd offer to new investors. We told her we say no to ourselves more often than we say yes, and that keeps us on track financially.
- She ended the session by saying that it's finally time for us to start saying yes - we've earned it.
- A financial planner can help you build wealth and prepare for retirement. Use SmartAsset's free tool to connect with a qualified professional »
A quick Google search will reveal that one of the number one things couples fight about is money. I don't know how my husband and I got so lucky, but we have never fought about money in our over 20-year relationship. We happen to view money very similarly - a dollar has value, and neither one of us wants to waste one.
When we first got married, we made very little money, but even then, we put a priority on saving and building a nest egg. As we received raises and promotions, we never really upped our cost of living.
We have always shopped secondhand. Our couch is a hand-me-down, my favorite chair is from my mother, our dining set is from an estate sale, most of our clothes are from thrift stores, and we buy our groceries from a discount grocer.
Since retirement is less than 10 years away for us, in the past five years, we decided to consult a financial planner and make sure we were doing all we can to make sure we have enough to stop working and take up a hobby or two (excluding unforeseen circumstances).
Our financial planner asked for our advice for new investors
After working with our financial planner for a couple of years, she said, "I wish all of my clients were as dedicated to their financial health as you two are. Do you have any advice for new investors?"
We told her about our lifestyle, always making sacrifices/choices. We both ended up agreeing that the advice we would give those trying to build up their retirement fund is, "Say no to yourselves more than you say yes. Say no to yourself at least once a day."
I guess this type of strategy would be called discipline or delaying gratification. Both my husband and I are good at looking at the cost of something and then deciding to walk away.
We're also both known for going to pretty great lengths to save $5, for example, eating out only when there is a buy-one-get-one free offer, or going to Starbucks during one of their happy hours, etc.
In the age of Instagram (comparing our lives to others) and FOMO (fear of missing out), our advice to new investors is much more difficult to practice than it sounds.
Our financial planner's advice for us: Say yes
The day our financial planner asked us our advice for new investors, we went over all of our assets. We went over our allocation of stocks, bonds, and an emergency fund for things like medical bills, a car or house repair, or any unexpected expense.
We planned our contributions to our accounts for the next few years and looked at how our current investments are performing for us so far. In short, we got a check-up with our financial healthcare practitioner.
After going through all we have built and all we plan to contribute over the next 10 years, as we were leaving her office, our adviser said, "I have some advice for the two of you. It is okay at this point to say yes to yourselves more often. Yes, say yes to yourselves today."
A small piece of advice we have worked for over 20 years to hear. We are on track, and saying yes once in a while won't derail us.
A financial planner can help you build wealth and prepare for retirement. Use SmartAsset's free tool to connect with a qualified professional »
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