Jeff Rose is a financial planner and blogger that has helped thousands of people get their finances under control with his common sense, easy to follow advice. Jeff’s background in the army and reflections on his own life & experiences give his writing a unique style that’s it hard to stop reading.Following our feature of Jeff in the 8 personal finance bloggers you should follow, we were able to get in touch and see if he’d be interested in an interview. We’re delighted he said yes. Read his answers to our questions below and find out his top tip for improving your financial situation:
What is the most common mistake you see people making with their finances and what are the first steps they can take to improve their situation?
I think the most common mistake I see is that people are complacent at what’s going on with their finances. The first step they can do to improve that is to make themselves aware of what’s going on. Start a budget. Use online tools like mint.com or youneedabudget.com. Track your spending. Know how much you’re putting in your 401(k) and what it’s invested into. Hire a financial coach and tax professional to keep you up to speed on what you need to be doing with your money.
What is your financial vice or weakness, if any, and how do you keep it in check?
My biggest weakness by far was overspending. I like stuff and I like gadgets. One way that I kept myself in check was marrying a spouse who wouldn’t let me buy stuff that I would later on regret. We also had a conversation that each of us would talk to the other before buying anything over a certain dollar value. Having that open line of communication has been huge.
What influence if any do you think having been in the military has had on your attitude towards money?
I think the biggest influence is just the discipline to continue to invest. I also think it makes me appreciate and not want to waste opportunities that are right in front of me. I have a greater appreciation for life, having seen how other countries live. I want to take full advantage of the opportunities that our country offers us.
You mentioned on your blog that you have not always enjoyed success. What was the turning point for you and what can others learn from your experience?
The biggest turning point for me was not being afraid to fail. Not having the perfect outcome doesn’t always feel good and to be honest it sucks but once you taste that once, you want to do everything you can to not have a repeat occurrence. You research more. You work harder. You seek guidance from mentors that have done it before you.
What motivates you to write and share your experiences with your readers?
Having been a financial planner for over 10 years now, I see so many mistakes that people are still making, some that I made when I was younger. To the best of my ability, I want to put an end to some of these silly financial mistakes that could be avoided if people had the information and know-how.
If you had one tip for people looking to improve their financial situation, what would it be?
When it comes to improving your financial situation, it’s more than saving more and spending less and all the usual stuff you hear. To really improve your financial situation, you have to understand what is the why behind the change that you’re seeking. For example, increasing your 401(k) contribution from 5% to 10% won’t give you that satisfaction if you don’t understand the why behind it. The why, for example, could be wanting to retire at the age of 45 instead of working until they’re 70. If that is the why and your goal behind it, then making those small changes means that much more and you’re more likely going to stick to it.
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