Perhaps you were born with a knack for managing money. Perhaps you are just trying your best to avoid a mess when it comes to personal finance.
In any case, if you are like most people, at some point in time, you may have received a slice of wisdom that helped you make better financial decisions. But with so much financial advice available, which are the ones that really stand out and have had the most impact?
The Business Standard asked this very question to a host of professionals across various industries. And, we received a wide range of responses.
Specifically, five professionals were asked what was the best financial advice they had ever gotten, from whom they got the advice, and how this advice helped them in their personal lives.
Here is what they had to say. The conversations have been edited for length and clarity.
Work to learn, do not work for money
Emran Hasan, CEO, Shanta Asset Management Limited
Though the statement may sound contradictory to getting rich, this is the best financial advice in my opinion. If anyone can become highly skilled at anything, he or she can make a lot of money based on that skill and knowledge for sure. When looking for a job, candidates should focus on the learning opportunities available that will eventually lead to higher income.
Additionally, to be successful in business, learning new information is the key to standing out from our competitors. Being an expert is valued in every sector, a top musician can often earn far more money than the average PhD holder.
I got this advice from one of my favourite personal finance books, called 'Rich Dad Poor Dad' by Robert Kiyosaki.
This advice helped me focus less on short term gains and more on learning. I realised how there are many things that I still need to learn and have been a strong believer in the role of continuous learning for sustainable wealth creation ever since.
Spend wisely, always save for a rainy day
Ankit Sureka, Head of Corporate Communications and Sustainability, Banglalink
Personal finance management is always contextual. It varies from person to person. You might benefit from a particular money management strategy as a student or a teenager. But afterwards, when you start earning as a professional, you may have to choose another. While living with our families, most of us are used to hearing that we have to spend wisely and save for the future. This might sound like a cliché but it has worked marvellously for me. While I cannot recall exactly which family member I learned it from, the idea caught hold of me over time.
So, spend on your necessities and do not swing for a luxurious lifestyle overnight. Aspirations and dreams are valuable, but self-reflection is essential. One of the best pieces of money advice you will ever hear is to live below your means.
A lot of people have little to no savings due to overspending on unnecessary upgrades. These people can end up being in trouble if they suddenly face an unexpected incident or any other emergency. Moreover, when you take loans or use credit cards, always be mindful of making your regular payments so that they do not become burdensome over time.
Do not put everything behind a single idea
Ershadul Hoque, Founder and CEO, Riseup Labs
The best financial advice I ever got is from my father. He had the experience of holding both a private job and owning a business. When he heard I wanted to open a new business, he said, "have big dreams but start small, and do not put everything on the line for a single idea. Always try out different ideas because you never know which one will click."
This is still the best financial advice I got, as an entrepreneur. I have heard many other ideas or advice from a lot of people but I still feel that this advice, so early on, from my father put me on the right path to success.
Interestingly, I did not fully understand the true meaning behind those valuable words when I started my journey.
However, three or four years into my journey, after encountering some severe ups and downs, following my father's advice helped me start anew. Years after incorporating this advice in the face of hard times, I am in a much better place now, financially, than I ever was before.
Like thinking out of the box, start investing out of the box
Al Mamun Mridha, Joint Secretary General, BCCCI
Even before finishing my university life, I dabbled in business. We had some family ventures. My father has been my role model from an early age. He always pointed out that, "An entrepreneur finds opportunity where others do not".
In other words, he inspired me to think 'outside of the box.' Using that advice, I had first ventured into the electric vehicle business even though I later moved on from it.
When I joined the BCCCI, I saw that people were mainly interested in exporting common products like garments to countries in the West, where we were already exporting many things.
However, I was looking for an untapped market. Specifically, I thought of investing my efforts in something that had unrealised potential. With that view in mind, I started researching markets and later concluded that we should export frozen fish, especially prawns, to China. Consequently, the foreign currency earnings from exporting frozen fisheries to China has been growing ever since. And, we were the first ones to do so.
Get paid what you are worth
Khaled Mahmud Yusuf, E-commerce Consultant
First of all, one should know how much his/her work is worth in the marketplace by being mindful of his/her talent, productivity, job responsibilities and effort. This is especially true for freelance workers like me. If you are underpaid, even a little, it will hurt you and your growth in the long run.
Freelance markets have become competitive. Many newcomers tend to lower their fees far below the market price, often offering to work for free. This not only contributes to the undervaluation of their effort but also that of the other freelancers.
But I have never worked for free. Even when my friends and acquaintances ask me to do so, I politely refuse. I got the advice from Tai Lopez, an American entrepreneur, investor, and motivational speaker. He provides ideas and philosophy in achieving a good life. This advice might be useful to those who are in other professions as well. Especially for those who are considering joining unpaid internships.