This is a post that should be read by all those above 23. If you did not read this at 23, then read it now.
Make sure that you get some other 23-year-olds also read this and see what works for whom.
1. Saving more is good. However to get rich, YOU need to invest more.
Saving is a good habit, but investing is a learnt habit which will put you on the path to financial freedom.
2. Save between 20-30 per cent of your take home salary. If you are staying with your parents, this can go up even more.
Make sure that you contribute to the household expenses, and house work.
Do save more, and invest the same as a habit.
3. Work your ass off. Doing 12 hour days and 80 hour weeks are not easy, but nothing that is easy takes you anywhere in life.
4. Work hard, work smart, but do get a hobby that creates nice big social groups -- swimming, cycling, running, cricket.
Work hard, play harder!
5. Learn money management -- and learn the advantages of simplicity, equity investing and compounding.
6. Learn the power of delayed gratification -- and teach it to your friends, siblings, parents, and kids -- as soon as you have them.
7. Tell your parents marriage and having kids is AWESOME, and you will do it by choice. These activities do not have an expiry date. Don't ever rush into it.
8. Make sure that you marry somebody financially compatible too.
9. Never ever stop learning. Education (no not the degree) is the gateway to differentiating yourself from the crowd and constantly improving yourself so you can adapt and evolve with the ever changing world. The internet has awesome stuff.
Khan Academy and Coursera are great places to explore.
If you are an Indian, subramoney dot com is a good place to learn a lot -- and there are enough links to the outside finance world. Make a start, today. Empower yourself.
10. Do something which others will love to pay you for. Create health or wealth for people.
Take away their worries. Keep them happy.
Yes, you have to make a living, but put clients' interests first. Always!
A happy client comes back.
11. Automate your finances -- EMI, phone bills, rent, electricity bills, gas bills, SIP, etc., get the routine out of the way. Be done with it.
Make sure you have auto bill pay set-up and automatically transfer funds from a savings account to an investment account on a monthly basis.
Automate your investment account in a systematic investment plan and don't get caught up in the allure of 'stock picking', 'market timing' and trying to become the next investing billionaire.
Reduce your taxes and fees as best you can. This means taking a long-term perspective with your investments (at least 60 months plus) and never paying for high fee investment accounts and managers.
12. Stop spending money on useless 'stuff'!!
It's not possible that all the stuff you're buying is making you happier.
In fact, it's perhaps putting a strain on your financial budget.
It is surely POSTPONING your financial freedom.
Don't spend to impress your friends and your neighbours.
You're not winning any brownie points or gold stars for owning things you can't afford.
13. Get sensible amounts of medical and pure term life insurance. Understand first, then, buy.
14. Be as debt light as possible.
If you must borrow, let it be only for a house. That too about 50 per cent of the cost of the house, not 110 per cent as the BFSI wants you to borrow.
Remember 2008 crisis? It started in the mortgage market. We are heading there again! Now!
Photograph: carrotmadman6/Creative Commons