If I had any advice for a young person—especially a woman—it would be to stay the heck out of the mall. You don’t need all those shoes, trust me. They’re a waste of money and chances are you won’t wear half of them anyway. Problem is, when you’re young, all of that stuff means so much—wearing all the latest fashions and stuff like that. But sooner or later, you realize there’s more to life than keeping up with the Joneses.
Amanda, 58, Wilton, Conn.
Live beneath your means. It’s the approach that my wife and I have always taken and it’s served us well. Young people don’t think about the future. But the future always comes (you hope!), and it’s no fun getting on in years and not having the money to do what you want to do. We both have extended family that got themselves into serious credit-card debt when they were younger. It caused them to have to struggle for years.
Bruce, 61, Lincoln, Mass.
Find something you’re good at, something that really gets you revved up, and start your own business. That’s what my brother and I did, and we are thankful every day that we get to wake up and enjoy financial security. I’m not saying it’ll be a cakewalk, but if you work hard and put in the time, you will be rewarded.
Will, 57, Moreland Hills, Ohio
Save more. Kids don’t realize that they won’t be young and healthy forever. Thanks to the mess our government has gotten us into, taxes will just keep going up for the foreseeable future. And health care, too. It is just so expensive. It will give you such peace of mind to know that you will be able to cover those costs when you’re older.
Janet, 63, Aspen, Colo.