Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Change habits for better 2010

Periodically, we get inquiries from journalists writing about personal finance. Often, they're seeking advice for readers and viewers. Recently, we got an inquiry from a reporter wanting to know what new advice is out there for their readers. Dan Danford had a great response, so I'm posting it here. --- Robyn Davis Sekula

By Dan Danford

There's almost nothing new under the financial sun. But that doesn't mean that we can't learn something new every day. For 2010, some of us need to incorporate some new behaviors based on these past few years. One lesson might be to turn buying inside out. In earlier years, we used a credit card to buy things today and pay for them with future earnings. A newer and better approach is to put money aside today so we can buy things later. It's inside out.

Another good idea is to treat your home mortgage like a very good friend. Some folks hate debt and focus a lot of attention on "paying it off soon." Maybe a better way is to maintain it like a vintage car, and lavish attention on maintenance and repair. Keep current with the payments, refinance when desirable, and only pay it off when no better option for investing exists. There is almost always a better option for long-term money.

My take is that many people think they are doing the right things, but they are not! We learn financial things from our parents, grandparents, and friends, and much of it is twisted by myth and self-interest. Tough times create an opportunity to learn some better things for ourselves.

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