Time-for-money is a fail. Most people cannot get ahead solely by trading their time for money at a job. Instead, your money needs to make its own money. You can’t do that with minuscule bank interest anymore, so it means investing. Where credit’s due . In 1995, you couldn’t even look up your credit score or see your credit reports. Now, you can and should. Poor credit means you could be denied for not only a loan or credit card but also for a job or an account with the electric company to turn the lights on. Ride to prosperity. If you’re vigilant with only one purchase in your life, make it your next car. New cars, especially luxury brands, are wealth-repellent to all but the richest among us. That’s because of high new-car prices and their wicked depreciation, not to mention interest if you’re financing it. Buying used is far better advice now than in 1995, when that often meant “buying someone else’s problems.” Today, used cars are far more dependable. It’s unfair . Money smarts are insufficient to overcome some financial woes: stagnant wages coupled with rocketing costs for health care, housing and education, to name a few. And some careers simply don’t pay as much as others, despite requiring similar skills. That leads to different money problems and opportunities for different people. And yes, economic inequities also exist by race and sex. That means those with extra can be sloppier with money. Those living closer to the margin? They are forced to make better money decisions every day.
The article 10 Money Insights From 25 Years of Financial Writing originally appeared on NerdWallet on December 11, 2020.
GREGORY KARP is a personal finance writer for NerdWallet.
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