I'll get to my other good customer service story later. First, a bit of personal finance because it's big-time on my brain as I'm trying to prepare to purchase a house.
I get some great money tips from Vanguard, my 401k company. (If you don't have a retirement fund, get one. Your future self will thank you.)
One recent e-mail particularly caught my eye: Why so many Americans are broke. Go read that article. Now. It's ok, I'll wait for you to come back.
Was your mind just blown? People want to save $5 on something that costs $15 but not on something that costs $125? People are willing to agree to a higher cost if they pay with credit cards than with cash? People will spend more of a windfall if it's perceived as a 'bonus' rather than 'rebate'?
The reason my mind was blown is because I think I'm pretty dang smart when it comes to money, but I know I've fallen into all of these traps before. Hell, as the article points out, even Ivy league smarties failed these tests.
Modern Friends, we young adults are horrible with money. We spend way too much on clothes and entertainment while hardly thinking about savings, frugality and the future. I'm just as guilty as the next person, but seriously, we need to be smarter. Being smart with money will make your life easier. Notice I didn't say being richer will make your life easier. It's all about managing what you have.
Here are tips from the article on how we can be more financially savvy:
- Set up automatic contributions to a savings account. It's hard to save because it requires willpower. That's why Vyse suggests making the saving automatic. So even if you do nothing, money is set aside for the emergencies, such as unexpected car bills.
- Build in delays to buying. You may want a new high-definition TV, but make it a rule not to order any nonessential item for at least a day or two.
- Use windfalls wisely. When unexpected money lands in your lap, don’t let it blow back out of your life just as randomly. Pay off debt with a windfall rather than buying something new, Vyse suggests. If you have no debt, contribute any windfalls to savings.
- Pay by cash or check. If your credit card bills have you over a barrel, Vyse advises carrying cash and your checkbook.