Earlier this year, Erin Burt from Kiplinger’s Personal Finance published a pair of related columns describing smart money moves for various stages of life.

In “10 Financial Commandments for Your 20s”, Burt offers advice for those who are just getting started on their own. Among her mandates: plan ahead, live within your means, make saving a habit, and start investing. I think one of her best suggestions comes in commandment seven, “have a marketable skill”:

“Your own earning power — rooted in your education and job skills — is the most valuable asset you’ll ever own,” says Knight Kiplinger, editor in chief of Kiplinger.com. Your twenties is the time to invest in yourself to acquire those skills that will start your career and boost your earnings. It’s also a good idea to start building and maintaining a network while you’re young. Personal contacts can come in handy to further your career or even enhance your personal life.

Great advice. Burt has further great advice in her follow-up article, “10 Financial Commandments for Your 30s”. As you get older, she recommends: kicking the debt cycle altogether, diversifying your investments, and writing a will. But again I like her seventh commandment, which this time is “live simply”:

Deferred gratification may not be fun, but adopting a simple lifestyle is one of the surest ways to meet today’s needs and still reach your long-term goals. Take a look at your spending to identify areas you could trim the fat. Small sacrifices can, indeed, add up to big rewards. It’s easy to get jealous of friends and family who are living larger and seem to be doing much better than you. Remember, keeping up with the Joneses is a losing game. Someone else’s success may be a facade. Tune out the financial peer pressure around you and focus solely on what you know for certain: the state of your own personal finances.

I confess that I’m still working on her tenth commandment, though, which is to be charitable. The real problem, however, is that I’m 39 — but only for one more week. I need an article that contains “10 Financial Commandments for Your 40s”!

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