Online finance management articles are abound on the web. You can find them at MSN, CNN, or Yahoo Finance. Every major web portal and news site has a section on personal finance. You can check out Mint’s take on personal finance here.
But what exactly are these personal finance articles trying to do? Inform you? Entertain you? Educate you?
Here at Mint, one of our core focuses with these articles is to help you understand the basics of a sound financial lifestyle that can be accomplished with online finance management.
We are committed in building a great personal finance tool, but we are also committed in informing you of the many options you have in achieving financial independence — of these options, one of the simplest ways is to choose a sound financial lifestyle.
What then, is a sound financial lifestyle? Let’s take a look at what other people in the blogsphere thinks:
Jim from Blueprint for Financial Prosperity:
A sound financial lifestyle is making sure you can always provide for your family and not living beyond your means.
Madame X from My Open Wallet:
To me, a sound financial lifestyle is not about trying to get rich quick — it’s about trying to live within one’s means, and about working towards sensible financial goals. I’m doing it the slow and steady way, and trying to find a balance between enjoying life now and building financial security for later. I don’t make any claims to be extremely frugal, especially career-savvy, a brilliant investor, or any kind of entrepreneur. I could measure myself against some yardsticks and be considered a financial flop, but in other ways, I think I’m doing pretty well. I have made a good start on retirement savings, I’ve bought a home, and I manage to enjoy at least a smidgen of the cultural wealth New York City has to offer.
My goal is not to have to worry about money. I’m not quite there yet, and in some sense I suppose I will always worry about money. But there is a difference between caring about and managing your finances, and lying awake at night wondering how you’re going to pay your bills.
JD Roth from Get Rich Slowly:
A sound financial lifestyle is a sustainable financial lifestyle. That is, it’s lifestyle in which a person does not spend more money than they have. But I don’t mean to say that people should be misers.
It’s important to enjoy life. Money is a tool that can bring increased happiness. Too many people, however, use money they *do not have* to buy happiness now at the expensive of happiness in the future. Don’t be like them.
Trent from TheSimpleDollar.com:
A sound financial lifestyle is one that won’t collapse if the unexpected happens, which would include spending less than you earn and also having a well-stocked emergency fund.
Leo from Zenhabits.net:
To me, the words “sound financial lifestyle” evoke an image of stability, of spending within your means, of stress-free financial planning and maintenance, and of having a financial cushion in the bank so you aren’t living from paycheck-to-paycheck. That’s achieved, in my opinion, by being frugal, paying your bills on time (and automatically), eliminating debt and debt planning, increasing your income, and saving or investing as much as you can. If you can add to that an automated income stream, you’re golden!
FMF from FreeMoneyFinance.com:
Spend less than you earn, invest as much as you can and keep repeating year after year.
Jonathan from MyMoneyBlog.com:
A sound financial lifestyle would involve being able to balance work and life, while at the same time being able to save money for both short-term emergencies and long-term needs. This would help one to enjoy the life that they are working so hard to achieve.
Mapgirl from Mapgirl’s Fiscal Challenge:
To me, a sound financial lifestyle means putting money away with every check for retirement and for a rainy day. If you aren’t in a position to be able to save like that, then you are probably in a precarious financial position that needs shoring up.
Jeffrey from Personal Finance Advice:
To me, a sound financial lifestyle is using your money as a tool to achieve your life goals rather than having it control you. Many still believe that more money would buy them happiness, but the truth is that you need to find that happiness within yourself and the life you live.
Money can help you achieve more free time to pursue those life goals, but it won’t in itself buy the happiness many seek. Putting your financial house in order gives you the opportunity to pursue the life goals you have, and that, in my opinion, is the point when you have developed a sound financial lifestyle.
JLP from AllFinancialMatters.com:
To me a “sound financial lifestyle” is one in which current needs are balanced with long-term financial goals. Of course, this entails living within your means but it doesn’t mean saving ALL your money either. It’s important to enjoy today as long as you are endangering the future.
Michael from It’s Your Money:
A sound financial lifestyle means that everyday bills are nothing more than paper in, paper out. No stress, no worry, and all the “what ifs” have been handled as well as can be expected.
Nickel from FiveCentNickel.com:
A sound financial lifestyle to me involves spending less than you earn, saving and investing to build wealth, and taking steps to protect it.
Moneymonk from Money Living:
A sound financial lifestyle is avoiding consumer debt and living on less than you earn. The trick is to delay your gratification.
Kimber from NoLimitLadies.com:
The ideal financial lifestyle, for me, is having passive income equal to or higher than expenses
Prlinkbiz from NoLimitLadies.com:
Ditto what Kimber said, while adding that I would like to roll excess income back into more income producing assets, instead of saving it in the bank, creating more and more passive income.
Stephanie from Poorer Than You:
To me, a sound financial lifestyle is one that gives you flexibility in your life. When you’re not living paycheck to paycheck, you have no debt (or manageable debt), and have put aside money for the future, you can take what life throws at you.
Cap from StopBuyingCrap.com:
A sound financial lifestyle to me, is not about hoarding all your money, but simply allocating your money sensibly.
It is about spending less than you earn, saving and investing for the long term, being able to take care of your love ones, having the ability to do the things you want to do (such as pursuing higher education), and not letting money be the reason why you can’t do certain things.
What are the Common Themes in a Sound Financial Lifestyle?
As you can see, a sound financial lifestyle can mean many different things to many different people. However, there are some common themes that was repeated again and again:
- Living within one’s means (10 mentions)
- Saving and investing for the future (8 mentions)
- Having an emergency fund (4 mentions)
- Avoiding a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle (3 mentions)
- Debt Planning: Avoiding high-interest consumer debt (3 mentions)
Why Should You Choose a Sound Financial Lifestyle?
- To avoid stress (2 mentions)
- To take care of your family (2 mentions)
- To have a content life (8 mentions)
When you make a choice to live a sound financial life, you will have less stress in your life.
Consider this, according to a 2000 study by the Creighton University Center for Marriage and Family, money is one of the biggest obstacles to satisfaction in the lives of newly married couples.1 And according to a research done by Thomas Garman, a professor at Virgin Tech, 34% of American’s work force says that financial stress sometimes hampers their work performance.2
Choosing a sound financial lifestyle will also give you and your loved ones more choices in life.
Imagine not pursuing higher education due to financial troubles from yourself, or from your family. As reported by the Lumina Foundation in a publication entitled: The Doors of Higher Education Remain Closed to Many Deserving Students; not having enough money is the leading factor in whether a student goes to college.3
Wouldn’t it be a shame to not be able to see your child have the same, or better opportunities as you have had, because of your past financial decisions in life? It is because of these very reasons — and many more — that you should considering choosing a sound financial lifestyle.
Take Action: Choose a Sound Financial Lifestyle
- Spend less than you earn. Living within one’s means does not require an advance math degree. Budgeting, keeping track of your spending, reducing your expenses , and online finance management are some of the methods you can use to achieve this goal.
- Save early and invest for you and your family’s future. Know that saving money while you’re young is easier, and that the simplest way to secure your financial future is to understand and utilize retirement accounts.
- Create an emergency fund. Avoid financial pitfalls by having a financial parachute!
- Switch from the paycheck mentality to the wealth building mentality. Realize that it is not entirely about how much you make but more so about how much you save.
- Avoid high-interest consumer debt by using credit card wisely while you’re young. Have debt? Reduce it quickly by taking these five simple steps.
In the coming weeks and months, you will find on Mint’s blog a continual theme of financial articles with actionable tips — and one of our core focuses will always be on choosing a sound financial lifestyle. We promise it won’t be terribly boring and we hope you’ll come along for the ride!
Does a sound financial lifestyle have a different meaning to you? Please feel free to share.