In the race to achieve financial success, don't lose sight of your 'why'

In the race to achieve financial success, don't lose sight of your 'why'
iStock; Alyssa Powell/Business Insider

Welcome to Personal Finance Insider, a bimonthly newsletter that connects you with the stories, strategies, and tips you need to be better with money.

Here's what: Don't lose sight of your 'why'

During my tenure as a personal-finance reporter I've spoken to dozens upon dozens of financial experts. I've asked them in various ways for their best advice about saving money, paying down debt, developing better spending habits, and investing.

Without fail, the conversation always leads back to one critical question: What's the goal? The "right" decision for your money isn't black or white; it depends on where you're trying to go and how and when you want to get there.
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In the race to achieve financial success, as it were, we can easily lose sight of why we make the choices or sacrifices we do. But that's such an important part of the equation.

Think about investing. Returns and risk and all the other measurables don't matter if your strategy isn't synced up with your goals and values. As Brian Portnoy — a behavioral finance expert and the author of one my favorite books I've read this year, "The Geometry of Wealth" — puts it: "Without a destination, we meander. Most of us become quite good at justifying wherever we end up, but would reluctantly admit that's not necessarily where we wanted to be."

So why not pause, right now, and make sure that how you spend your money day-to-day is aligned with what you really, truly care about? I know it's not easy if you're facing headwinds such as job insecurity or student loans, but experts agree that identifying and reflecting on your "why" is the key to managing your money well, wherever you are.
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Tanza Loudenback, Personal Finance Insider correspondent and certified financial planner

Mark your calendars: November 17

Following discussions about planning and investing, the Master Your Money Live Digital Bootcamp series continues with "How to control your money so it doesn't control you," presented by Fidelity, on Tuesday, November 17 at noon ET. I'll be hosting the event and talking with two personal-finance experts about strategies for thriving financially — how to move beyond survival mode, manage stress around money, cultivate sustainable habits, adapt to changing circumstances, and more.
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Register here »

Expert tip of the week

"If you are currently financially supporting anyone outside your immediate family, I recommend you come up with your exact 'family contribution quotient.' That is, exactly how much, for whom, and/or to what causes you are willing to support."

—Anna N' Jie-Konte, a CFP and the founder of Dare to Dream Financial Planning, on her advice for people (most often first-generation Americans) who feel "sandwiched" between supporting their family and planning for their future. Read the full article »

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At age 2, my son has more money in the bank than I did at 18, and it's part of my plan to build generational wealth

As part of our ongoing series on generational wealth, "Money That Lasts," financial advisor Kevin Matthews explains how he's setting his kids up for a type of financial success his grandparents "could never have imagined." He shares tips on how you can do it too.
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My grandfather saved $1 million while earning an average income and raising 5 kids. I'm following his advice to retire in my 30s.

A Business Insider contributor who goes by The Money Wizard online has amassed a net worth of over $400,000 by age 30, largely thanks to a few simple strategies he picked up from his grandfather, a penny-pincher and covert millionaire.

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