Do what works for you

This article is the seventh of a fourteen-part series that explores the core tenets of Get Rich Slowly.

I struggled with debt for over a decade. I made several attempts to tackle the trouble, but nothing seemed to work. Compulsive spending was part of the problem — I bought anything I wanted, even if I couldn't afford it — but there was another factor, too.

Everything I'd read gave the same advice for debt reduction: Start by paying off your highest-interest rate debt. I understood the logic behind this, but I couldn't make it work.

The trouble was that my highest-interest rate debt was also my debt with the biggest balance (a fully-maxed $12,000 credit card at 19.8% interest). I'd plug away at this for several months at a time, but then give up because it felt like I was never getting anywhere.

Then I read about the debt snowball approach in Dave Ramsey's The Total Money Makeover. It blew my mind. Here was somebody saying that it was okay (good even) to do something different, to start by paying low balances first. I tried it, and 39 months later I had eliminated over $35,000 in consumer debt.

In the process, I learned a valuable lesson. In order to succeed with money, sometimes you have to ignore the conventional wisdom. Sometimes you simply have to do what works for you.

The Perils of Dogmatism

There's too much dogmatism in our culture. People are convinced that their way is the right way to do things. I don't begrudge those who are certain they're right. When something works for you, you have a tendency to believe it's the right choice for everyone else, so you preach it with passionate zeal. I understand that.

The problem, of course, is that we're all different. Your religion and your politics and your financial tips work for you, but won't necessarily mesh with my situation and experiences. And mine won't fit with yours. There are few one-size-fits-all solutions in personal finance — or anywhere else.

For example:

  • As I hinted earlier, there's no right way to pay off debt. Yes, you'll save a little if you tackle the high-interest stuff first, but you may have better chances of success by starting with low balances instead.
  • There's no right way to invest. I like index funds, but you might prefer individual stocks.
  • There's no right way to tackle your mortgage. Some experts recommend paying it off quickly; others recommend stretching it out as long as possible to take advantage of the low interest. The best choice is the one that best matches your goals for the future.
  • There's no right way to be frugal. Some folks are unwilling to sacrifice organic groceries, and others are unwilling to take the bus. That's fine. Find ways to practice thrift that fit your lifestyle.
  • Joint or separate finances? There's no right answer. Just because you can't conceive that a couple can have a strong relationship with separate finances doesn't mean that it's impossible. Millions of people do it with no problems.
  • There's no right way to budget. Some people use a loose framework to guide their spending. Others need detailed line items. The best budget is one that you'll actually use.
  • There's no single best savings account or checking account or credit card. There are plenty of great choices. Don't listen to anyone who says you're wrong for choosing a good option that works the way you do. (I don't feel bad about using ING Direct, even if they don't offer the highest rates.)

When you get trapped by the belief that there's just one right way to do something, you set yourself up for failure: If this “right” method doesn't work for you, you have no other options. You have to keep using it, even if you keep failing.

But if you allow yourself to consider other options, you give yourself multiple paths to success. Yes, you could use the “right” method — or you could take a different path to reach the same goal.

No Right Way To Do Things

It's been a long time since I last wrote about this subject. In fact, it was exactly two years ago today that we last discussed it. That's too long. Because it's the core idea of Get Rich Slowly, I feel like we should touch on this theme fairly often. Especially after days like last Tuesday, when a lot of people were upset by our discussion about the differences between the rich and the poor.

There's no need to get upset about any discussion of money, at least not at Get Rich Slowly. When I present ideas, I'm not trying to argue they're right, that they're the only way to look at money. They're not. When I present ideas, I'm trying to share alternatives, to present ideas for discussion. I never believe that my way is the right way or the only way.

I actually believe the opposite is true. I believe there are many approaches to personal finance, and that there are many paths to success. (Whenever I think about this topic, I'm reminded of the Vulcan credo from Star Trek: Infinite diversity in infinite combinations, which celebrates the vast array of variables in the universe. But then I'm a geek of the first order.)

I've been thinking about this topic for the past week — ever since the contentious discussion about wealth and poverty — and I've decided that there are three specific ways in which of can put the “do what works for you” philosophy into practice.

Set Your Own Goals

First, it's important to choose your own destination in life, especially with your finances.

It's easy to find yourself working toward the same goals as those around you. If your family and friends all drive nice cars, it's natural to want a nice car yourself. If your favorite finance blogger loves to travel, you might be tempted to travel too. But this is no way to set financial goals.

Instead, base your goals on the things you want, on the life you dream about. Do you want to get out of debt? Buy a boat? Send your daughter to Harvard? Do you want to build your own home? Start a charitable foundation? Each of these is a fine goal. So is owning a big-screen TV or the latest laptop. But the key is to make your goals personal. Make them your goals, not anyone else's.

Choose Your Own Path

The next step is where it's most important to do what works for you. In fact, this is what led me to this philosophy in the first place. I discovered that the traditional road out of debt just wasn't effective for me. I needed to try something else.

The standard advice for debt reduction is to eliminate your high-interest debt first. Doing this makes the most financial sense because you pay less in the long run. But money management is more than math — it's also mental. Psychologically, I wasn't able to make the the standard path to financial freedom work for me. It wasn't until I tried an alternate path — the debt snowball — that I was able to become debt-free.

This same principle holds true for other aspects of money management.

  • For some people, credit cards are a curse. For others, they're a convenient tool.
  • For some people, credit unions are a great place to keep their cash. Other people prefer banks.
  • Some people need $20,000 in their savings account to feel safe. They want a large emergency fund. Others prefer to get by with a $1000 safety net.
  • There are those who believe that carrying a long mortgage at a low interest rate is the most effective way to leverage their money. Others prefer to get rid of their mortgage as soon as possible.
  • For some, being self-employed is important. They want to have complete control over their destiny, even if the risk of failure is greater. (That's me!) For others, like my wife, a stable job is more fulfilling and offers more security.

In most of these cases, there are indeed choices that make more financial sense than others. At least mathematically. But this doesn't mean they're the right choices or the only choices. You need to make decisions that reflect your values and your goals. You need to do what works for you.

Note: This is a good time to stress the importance of the word “works” in this context. When I say “do what works for you”, I'm not saying that you should do whatever you want. I mean that you should experiment until you find a method that meshes with your life, that proves most effective for your situation. Once you find this method, use it.

Define Your Own Success

The final aspect of doing what works for you is tied closely to the first. It's important to set goals based on your own strengths and values, and it's also important to set your own standards for success.

For instance, now that I'm out of debt and building wealth, my goals are to travel and to save for retirement. I define success as being able to fully fund my retirement savings every year (by which I mean up to the limit the law allows) and by being able to travel to new countries. (If I want to travel more — to be more successful with this goal — I need to learn how to do so cost effectively. Six weeks in South America for less than three weeks in Africa seems like success to me.)

When you set your own goals, choose your own path, and define your own success, you're able to find a financial framework that best suits your needs — and not someone else.

It's All Relative

It probably comes as no surprise that I'm something of a relativist. I don't believe in absolute rights and wrongs. I don't think the world is black and white, but filled with shades of grey. (And the more I travel, the stronger this belief becomes.)

You can see this in my financial philosophy. I think it's crazy to argue that there's only one right way to pay off debt or to save for a house. I don't believe there are a one-size-fits-all answers in the world of wealth. Instead, I believe there are many roads to many fine financial futures. And I believe it's possible for all of us to be successful with money — even you.

The key, my friends, is to set goals that help you reach your dreams, to use methods that draw on your strengths, and to define success in a way that reflects your values.

In other words, the way to wealth is to do what works for you.

Doing What Works

I'm not saying that it's okay to do anything you feel. It's not okay to keep on spending just because dealing with your debt is difficult or uncomfortable. But it is okay to try something new when what you're doing doesn't work. And it's okay to ignore the naysayers who complain that you're “not doing it right”. Your want to find what works for you, not for somebody else.

Don't listen to anyone who tells you there's just one right way to do something. Each person is different. What works for one person may not work for another. Be willing to experiment until you find methods that are suited to your life.

Make informed choices, understand the consequences, and focus on your goals.

Do what works for you.

This is the seventh of a fourteen-part series that explores my financial philosophy. These are the core tenets of Get Rich Slowly. Other parts include:

Look for a new installment in this series every Monday through the end of the year.

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Sam
Sam
10 years ago

Indeed! But do something, yes it is great to do research and try to figure out the best plan for paying off debt, the best savings plan, etc. But having a plan and getting started is better than researching the best plan month after month. We ended up working the Dave Ramsey total money makeover baby step plan, debt snowball (modified to work for us) because I was researching how to buy a new and/or nused car without having a car payment and I came across Ramsey’s drive free plan. Mr. Sam thought I was crazy since we had $50,000+… Read more »

rachel
rachel
10 years ago

I definately think this is the best advice of all when it comes to finances – heck, anything. There’s so much advice out there about so many different things. It can’t all be right for all of us, all the time, when we are such different people. So listen to the advice, by all means adopt some, but pick and choose the best bits for you, personally, at whatever stage of life you’re currently at. I have to remind myself of this every single day, especially right now, when I see my friends seemingly so much more successful (and wealthier!)… Read more »

Adam
Adam
10 years ago

Wow! I love this article! Just like Rachel said above, it’s probably the best advice that you can give anyone in financial trouble. It’s also true what Sam says. You need to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! You can read about things all day and not do a darn thing about it!

claude lambert
claude lambert
10 years ago

This is your most original advice so far: I wish your book was structured like that: with alternate solutions! Excellent!

Bob
Bob
10 years ago

Agreed with Sam above… the most important part of your slogan is “DO”. Without action, none of it matters.

Little House
Little House
10 years ago

I agree! As some comments mention, do something even if it’s a baby step. My husband and I paid off the smaller balance credit cards first, even before I knew who Dave Ramsey was. It made sense for us, and we could see real progress. That progress motivated us to pay down our higher interest loan, which we are still paying off. However, we have more money to apply towards it since all of our other credit cards are paid in full.

ami | 40daystochange
ami | 40daystochange
10 years ago

Debt snowball good. Obsessive recording of debt balances . . . good? We did the debt snowball, and it worked wonders. I took the additional step of writing out the details about every one of our debts, principal amounts, interest rate, interest paid, total amount paid to date, anticipated payoff date and amount required to pay off today. I re-did the whole list by hand every month, even though the numbers really didn’t change for many of the debts from month to month. And going through the process of calculating and writing out the details did stress me out some.… Read more »

mario
mario
10 years ago

Yeah, I did the “pay-off high interest cards first”, thanks to my wife’s financial wisdom. But my balances were not, from what I gather in this article, as high as what you’ve had. My initial logic was the same as yours, pay off the smaller ones to free up the cash to pay for the big one. But my wife (we were still dating back then) made me stick to paying off the high interest because when she did the math, paying minimums on the high interest in the meantime would’ve hurt me more because I was losing more money… Read more »

KEN
KEN
10 years ago

I agree whoileheartedly. Personal finance is just that. Personal. Each person at the end of the day has to do what they are comfortable doing. If it ends up not working it will be the experience that teaches them, not what someone else says to do. Good post!

Kathy B
Kathy B
10 years ago

I keep reminding myself that this debt I’ve accumulated these last 10 yrs(I was debt free until I married, gave birth, divorced) will eventually be done and gone. But something keeps coming up, car repairs & a son who refused to get a job when he was in high school, to circumvent my budget. I’m supporting the 2 of us now that he’s graduated from high school. I’ve given him no option but to go back to school. He’s received a Pell Grant. I’m getting by, and it seems like a long road to recovery, and frustrating as well. But… Read more »

Vanessa
Vanessa
10 years ago

Great advice as always. 🙂 I used to have a spending problem as well, but somehow, there’s been a complete turnaround. Now, I wait to buy things I’m not sure I need, and I often end up realizing I don’t need them. I also discover ways to get things free and/or discounted, which I wrote briefly about here: http://haloblu.blogspot.com/2009/06/free-stuff.html. I think my turnaround started with hearing Dave Ramsey talk about how we buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like. An a-ha moment, for sure. He also helped me realize that, even… Read more »

KM @ Long-Distance Life
KM @ Long-Distance Life
10 years ago

Yes–it’s hard to listen to some of the financial advice out there and not feel discouraged. For example, when people talk about credit-card rewards, it makes me feel like I’m being silly for not using credit cards anymore and missing out on free cash back/airline points/etc.

But, I just keep in mind that I have to do what works for me. I’ve had trouble with credit cards in the past, and I’ll though I’m sure I have enough self-discipline now that I’d be fine with them, psychologically I feel freer by not using them.

Kent @ The Financial Philosopher
Kent @ The Financial Philosopher
10 years ago

J.D. I’m happy to see this side of your self — “the philosopher J.D.” — emerging in your writing! You did not say this explicitly (and I know you still have a fear of scaring off readers with hyphenated words like self-knowledge and self-awareness) but self-knowledge is everything. People generally like to be given the answers but there is more value in discovering the answers within one’s self. True success in personal finance begins with self-knowledge. Arguably, one can become more “successful” financially by acquiring and applying self-knowledge than by acquiring and applying financial knowledge. Thanks J.D. I’m looking forward… Read more »

Tomas Stonkus
Tomas Stonkus
10 years ago

Dear J.D.: I have to say I am becoming a fan of your blog and your writing. Rarely will you find a person admitting that they do not know everything and that what works for them might not work for others. It is a humbling experience. It is hard to admit that what works for you might not work for others.For some reason, it is rooted in us to think that our way is the only way. On the other hand, most people are too lazy to think for themselves. I have seen hundreds of self-help books, personal finance books.… Read more »

Sandy L
Sandy L
10 years ago

This is one example of when the old saying “time flies” actually helps you. I agree with the do something approach. We decided to do auto paycheck withdrawl to purchase savings bonds for our emergency fund. We tried other methods, but all our previous savings vehicles were just too easy to tap. At the time, it felt like “forever” before a) we’d had 6 mo saved and b) we’d hit the 5 year mark to cash without penalty. It seems like we blinked and now it’s done. Same with the house. We’ve been paying extra on a 15 year mortgage.… Read more »

Oleg Mokhov
Oleg Mokhov
10 years ago

Hey J.D., You’re unique – so your approach to life should be as well. There’s no such thing as a blanket approach for the essentials: your life, relationships, personal finances, work, etc. You find what works best for you–what you’re most passionate about and fits into your lifestyle–and do that. There’s a reason so many people are unhappy with their 9-5 jobs. Those are blanket approaches to a career, and it’s not the best fit. Either the work isn’t fulfilling, or the schedule doesn’t work for them. The point is, they’re not finding their unique approach to their work. The… Read more »

Lara
Lara
10 years ago

Another possibility is to transfer the higher interest balances to the lower interest cards. Or to open a new account with an introductory rate and free transfers, transfer the balances, then pay off that card. Once crimp in these financial advisors advice (Dave Ramsey especially) is that, while they are effective motivators to get out of debt, some make it seem like the world will open up to you once you’re out of debt. It doesn’t. There’s that little issue of savings and retirement to deal with too. Dave’s plan sets people up like a diet plan does – once… Read more »

Rob Bennett
Rob Bennett
10 years ago

I agree that dogmatism is a big problem in the money field. I think it is because those who push certain strategies feel a need from a marketing perspective to be viewed as having gotten it right. So there are huge dollar amounts put into the promotion of certain ideas. When people see certain ideas being promoted again and again and again, they come to believe that there must be something to them. And then dogmatism sets in even among those most harmed by it. I believe you are guilty of dogmatism yourself on the investing side, J.D. You may… Read more »

E
E
10 years ago

Rob, that’s a funny comment coming from you.

JD this is a great article. It’s absolutely true. I’m finding out things that work for me – automatic savings, using credit but not carrying a balance, pretending the savings money isn’t there – and slowly building up the e-fund, slowly beginning to invest, etc. I’m really enjoying this series; it’s a great refresher, and the articles are really well-written, clear and plain. Thank You!

Kent @ The Financial Philosopher
Kent @ The Financial Philosopher
10 years ago

@ Rob: You make a great point that supports J.D’s resistance to dogmatism; however, your final point seems to be more dogmatic than not: Criticizing “buy & hold” is a dogmatic path. Investing strategies come in and out of favor. Also, depending upon how one defines “buy & hold,” there are just as many arguments against it as there are arguments for it. We then arrive back to the point that “what is good for some might not be good for others.” Also, the true problem with “buy & hold” is largely semantic. The meaning of the word is so… Read more »

Rob Bennett
Rob Bennett
10 years ago

Criticizing “buy & hold” is a dogmatic path. I think some are confusing “feeling strongly about your beliefs” with “being intolerant of other beliefs.” I view only the latter as constituting dogmatism. There is no one on Planet Earth who is more critical of Buy-and-Hold Investing than Rob Bennett. I certainly don’t say different. I view Buy-and-Hold as being the primary cause of our financial crisis. I view the promotion of Buy-and-Hold as the worst mistake ever made in the history of personal finance. But I do not feel that I can properly be characterized as “dogmatic” re investing questions.… Read more »

E
E
10 years ago

Rob, you haven’t said what you mean by “buy and hold” so it’s entirely possible we agree with you. However, whatever you mean, it’s dogmatic because you believe that everyone should do things your way and all other ways lead to failure. We KNOW you feel strongly about it, no need to keep saying it. But I’ve read your stuff on here before and I can’t follow it. Ergo, it doesn’t work for ME, and I’m not going to do it. I do what works for me. If it doesn’t turn out, oh well. But that’s a pretty big if,… Read more »

Travis
Travis
10 years ago

I’ve been a fan of that method for quite some time now… that is, not trying to make the same fix for somebody else work for you, but rather adjusting it to your unique needs. It’s a lot like dieting and personal fitness in my opinion; taking the advice of others into account, but ultimately acknowledging that each person is going to require a unique playbook.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
10 years ago

Oddly enough, what I find most interesting about this topic (which in general, I agree with J.D. on) is the definition of “what works”. If you were to explicitly state the criteria for “working”, then you could try any number of approaches to meeting that goal, and any of them that met those criteria would work. The goal isn’t to pick the best methodology, as there is no best — only a pass/fail approach. You’re free to choose your favorite from any of the ones that manage to pass. A lot of people don’t seem to like my budgeting system,… Read more »

Family Man
Family Man
10 years ago

Well said. It isn’t a one size fits all world. I have in fact started a special series on my blog addressing just that thought. Well timed!

Jeff
Jeff
10 years ago

The debt snowball works because debt elimination is purely psychological. Financial planners say to pay your debt with the highest interest rate first because that saves the most money. The problem with this solution is that it is the hardest to complete psychologically. When you need to see progress to stay motivated, the debt snowball works wonders!

Good post, JD.

Aaron @ Clarifinancial
Aaron @ Clarifinancial
10 years ago

JD, thank you so much for posting this. There are so many supposed pundits out there who seem to have the answer for everybody. But the reality is that each person is unique and needs a unique answer. Very often, dogmatic answers to common problems start out as short cuts (in thought, emotion, or time). They can become dangerous when applied to everybody. We need more options, financial and otherwise, that allow us to customize the right solution for us. If we can do it without adding cost and requiring a steep learning curve, we will need fewer short cuts… Read more »

Foxie || CarsxGirl
Foxie || CarsxGirl
10 years ago

And this is what it’s all about!!

I love pointing out this sort of thing when the naysayers want to point out how “destructive” my car hobby is… First off, I can afford the spending, and secondly, the amount of happiness my cars bring me for the money spent is unparalleled.

Financial issues are hardly ever about the money, it’s all about psychology. If it were so cut and dry, nobody would ever have trouble with it. (I’m so glad I can see it rationally instead of being overly involved emotionally speaking.)

Anna
Anna
10 years ago

Re Kathy B (post #10) – maybe it’s time to tell your adult son-who-doesn’t-have-a-job that it’s time for him to get one, and start contributing to the monthly coffers or he needs to find another place to live. Some friends went through that with their daugher – she had actually quit school and was at home, without a job. They both said to her – either get a job and start paying us board or find a new home – life isn’t free. For them, the tough approach worked. She’s actually got two jobs, pays her board to them, makes… Read more »

Tony
Tony
10 years ago

Well said. Too many “gurus” ignore basic human behaviors in their advice and that’s why it never works. See: Suze Orman.

Cesar Torres
Cesar Torres
10 years ago

Thanks for the reminder that this method of thinking works within personal finance, but also universally.

Shara
Shara
10 years ago

JD, I like the thought but I think you need to flip this article around before you publish it. I was shaking my head toward the middle because, as Tyler said, you didn’t really define “working” and I pictured people going along overspending because it *works* for them. But then at the end you say you aren’t giving people permission to do whatever they want, but that there are various methods that work. I think that caveat should be at the top. People who are regular readers here know what you mean, but people reading you for the first time… Read more »

J.D.
J.D.
10 years ago

Shara and Tyler, you have excellent points. The whole key to “do what works for you” is in the definition of the word “works”. I mean “do what’s effective for you”, so if something isn’t effective, you shouldn’t do it. But saying “works” instead brings in other connotations that I don’t intend.

This is something that goes in the intro to the book, which I won’t write until January. But I’ll be sure I keep this conversation in mind. It’s important to be very clear on this.

Thanks.

Troy
Troy
10 years ago

Great post JD. Couple of small points. Regarding paying off debt, be it installment, revolving or a mortgage, I have noticed the arguments usually asume a payment plan along with some type of relationship to wintery precipitation. Actually, the best (and only) way to pay off a debt is to…pay it off. Now. With one big check. Today. otherwise you are paying it DOWN, not OFF That is the best way. The payment plans, be it based on interest rate, balance, payment amount, alphabetical, rhyming, number of vowels in the creditor, age of account or age at which you acquired… Read more »

Craig
Craig
10 years ago

Agree, it’s great to have advice from friends family, others, but in the end you have to develop your own system that works for you and stick to it.

T
T
10 years ago

“Regarding paying off debt, be it installment, revolving or a mortgage, I have noticed the arguments usually asume a payment plan along with some type of relationship to wintery precipitation.

Actually, the best (and only) way to pay off a debt is to…pay it off. Now. With one big check. Today. otherwise you are paying it DOWN, not OFF”

Unnecessary pedantry.

Des
Des
10 years ago

The problem with the “do what works for you” motto is that you don’t know until hindsight what actually works for you! When you were two months into your “pay the highest interest first” method, you would probably have said it was working for you. Whereas, if you have blindly followed Ramsey zealots you would have paid off your debt much sooner. Maybe your relationship with your wife is stronger because you have separate finances, but MAYBE after a couple years of trying joint finances you would find that it is even better. I’m not advocating Ramsey or joint finances… Read more »

Troy
Troy
10 years ago

@T

“unnecessary pedantry”

Since all personal finance boils down to simple addition and subtraction, clarification of the basics is prudent and therefore quite necessary to some.

Eric J. McClain, CFP(r)
Eric J. McClain, CFP(r)
10 years ago

Excellent article.

Evolution Of Wealth
Evolution Of Wealth
10 years ago

The problem is that there is a plethora of information on any and every financial topic. Whether it be paying down debt, budgeting, investing, etc. There is a hundred ways to do everything. How is anyone able to determine what is right? Or even worse, what is the best?
I think you hit it on the head. The best way and the right way are what works for you. Committing to what works for you. If you’re not sure quite what that is yet commit to what you think it is and then tweak it as you go. Great advice.

David/yourfinances101
David/yourfinances101
10 years ago

I agree totally with “do what works for you.” I could never understand the premise behind the “debt snowball” and I think it wastes money unnecessarily. However, to each his own!

Alyssa Lum
Alyssa Lum
10 years ago

Great article, JD. Personal finance is such a subjective, psychology-driven field. The mathematically correct approach only works if people can actually implement it succesfuly.

It’s good to read your thoughts on the subject.

Kathy B
Kathy B
10 years ago

Anna #29 – I did, I even drove him to places to apply etc., but we live in the Las Vegas area and the unemployment is currently @ 10.9%. He’s in school after I said that his way didn’t work for 13 months and now he’s going to do it my way. He now contributes for “food money” every month from his school money. I don’t mind as long as he’s in school and continues to get good grades.

Steven Francis
Steven Francis
10 years ago

Personal finance management is a better deal. there in no need to panic in this situation. Just think and decide that do you really need to plan your finance.

Aaron @ Clarifinancial
Aaron @ Clarifinancial
10 years ago

Des brings up a great point that we often don’t know what really works best for us until we have the luxury of looking back. That’s why we need to develop a way to test and measure, test and measure. Agile businesses do this all the time. When we work with our own personal finances, we need to be equally flexible and open to find what really works for us. In that way, perhaps “do what works for you” is not an excuse to keep doing things as you are (and be more dogmatic) but encourages us to explore more… Read more »

Kent @ The Financial Philosopher
Kent @ The Financial Philosopher
10 years ago

@ Rob #18 I appreciate your enthusiasm. For the record, and for the sake of friendly conversation, I never accused you of dogmatism; I simply stated that criticism against opposing views is a dogmatic path. Reflecting on my own previous comment (#13), I probably vented on you some of my own discontent with the recent media noise chanting that “buy & hold is dead.” Much of this noise was aimed at the passive, indexing, value-oriented investment advisers and financial planners, such as myself. By the generalized media definition, “buy & hold” never was alive in the first place. Their argument… Read more »

Rob Bennett
Rob Bennett
10 years ago

If one is to be critical of something, especially something as broad in meaning as the “buy & hold” investing strategy, then define what it is that you mean by “buy & hold,” then proceed to criticize. Thanks for the helpful feedback, Kent. You are absolutely right re the point made in the words quoted above. But this thread is not the place for us to define our terms and then proceed to a discussion on the merits or lack thereof of Buy-and-Hold Investing. If you would be willing to engage in some e-mail discussion of these questions with me,… Read more »

E
E
10 years ago

@ Tyler #24, that’s kind of my budgeting system! I never considered that I HAD a budgeting system, but like you say, if that works there’s nothing wrong with it. I put X in savings, pay bills, and spend what’s left, leaving a small cushion.

@ Des #37, I’m a satisficer. Once I find something that works, I stick with it; I’m not going to try every single method looking for the “best.”
😉

Kevin@OutOfYourRut
10 years ago

Adam, this post offers great advice! People go from website to weblog, and buy books and CDs or attend programs to help them with budgeting money, saving, investing, etc, but never finding what works. Why? Because we can’t be successful playing someone elses game, not long term at least. It’s always good to seek advice and what ever information we can, but ultimately we have to settle on a course that works for each of us, with the unique circumstances we each face. Just because a coworker is cleaning up in the stock market because of a program he attended… Read more »

Debi
Debi
10 years ago

Can someone please tell me what &amp as in “buy & hold,” means? I see &amp frequently and cannot figure out from the context what it stands for.

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