12 Essential Money Tips

Everyone makes money missteps at some point in their lives, whether it’s splurging on unnecessary items or neglecting to contribute to retirement funds as soon as possible. To help you avoid the same pitfalls, here are some tips from the experts that will help you live your best money life.

1. Start With Saving – Although it’s tempting to spend rather than save when you get a paycheck, the experts say it’s important to prioritize contributing to your savings accounts. One way to make it easier is to automate payments.

2. Avoid Lifestyle Inflation – Ted Jenkin, a certified financial planner, said it’s important to increase your savings rate whenever you start earning more to keep growing your net worth.“Save one-third of every pay raise you get so you don’t succumb to lifestyle inflation,” he said. By starting this practice early in your career, you’ll develop good habits like saving, investing and paying down debts instead of spending it on more stuff you won’t care about in a few years’ time.

3. Don’t Waste Your Money on Things You Don’t Need – Whether you’ve just received your first paycheck or your first raise, it can be tempting to spend your money on things you want rather than on things you need. This can be a huge mistake. “Don’t spend so much money on clothing,” said Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, founder of the personal finance blog “Making Sense of Cents.”

4. Don’t Buy Things to Impress Other People – Spending on immediate wants can hurt your future needs, said John Rampton, founder and CEO of Calendar. “Don’t waste your time on expensive cars or gadgets,” he said. “It’s better to save money for the long-term and for things that can keep generating money, rather than taking money.”

5. Start Investing in Your Retirement ASAP – It’s easy to put off saving for retirement when you’re in your 20s, but that’s the best time to start. The sooner you save, the sooner you can take advantage of compound interest. No matter your age, it’s important to prioritize investing in your retirement accounts, the experts said.

6. Don’t Fear the Stock Market – Doing something that scares you can be a good thing for your finances. Novice investors are often scared of the stock market, but just by getting started, even on a small scale, you’re furthering your financial life. That’s why Tom Hegna, financial author, speaker and economist, thinks you should invest in the stock market. Certified financial planner Jeff Rose concurs. “Invest sooner,” said Rose.

7. Now, Invest Even More – “Invest in the market, and lock in gains by purchasing income,” Hegna said. “Once you have your basic expenses covered with income, buy more.” By making wise investments now, you can create income for yourself in retirement to supplement Social Security, allowing you to live a more comfortable life in retirement.

8. Invest in Yourself – In addition to making financial investments, it’s important to invest in yourself by learning everything you can about personal finance so you can create a financial plan that works for you.
“No one will care about your financial success as much as you will,” said Marsha Barnes, certified financial social worker and founder of The Finance Bar. “Learn as much as you can today.”

9. Listen to Yourself and Take Action – “Figure out what you want in life, then make decisions based around this goal,” said J.D. Roth, founder of the financial website Get Rich Slowly. “Once I got clear on what my larger aims were, I was able to make financial decisions that supported these goals.” When you know exactly what you’re saving for, it motivates you to stick to your goals and work even harder.

10. Don’t Waste Time Worrying – Don’t let fear get in the way of going after what you want, said Jen Sincero, New York Times best-selling author and success coach. “Worrying is praying for what you don’t want, so stop worrying about money and focus on what you do want,” she said.

11. Remember That Money Isn’t Everything – Although you need money to cover expenses and other life necessities, it isn’t the be-all and end-all. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for what you deserve. “Ask for more money and learn to negotiate as soon as possible,” said money expert Brittney Castro. “Don’t chase money, because it’s not the holy grail. Enjoy it. Make lots of it. But always remember it’s a resource, not an indication of who or what you are in the world.”

12. Don’t Let Money Define You – Dominique Broadway, a millennial personal finance expert and founder of Finances Demystified, notes that money doesn’t define you or your success. “Do not link money with success,” she said. “Money can come and go. Focus on saving and growing your money and don’t focus on ‘shiny things’ to keep up with other people.”

Long May It Wave!

Motorists traveling the West Dodge Expressway near the west city limits soon will be greeted by a huge American flag at the site of Dino’s storage. The City Council approved a zoning waiver on July 10 to allow Dino’s owner to erect a 125-foot tall flagpole on the hill at 204th & West Dodge.

The Omaha Planning Board had previously approved installing the pole, which will be roughly 12 stories high. Paladino had said he wanted to fly the American flag and, on Nebraska football days, the N flag of Nebraska football. The council, however, said only the Stars and Stripes may be flown from the pole.

Zoning regulations allow no more than a 75-foot flagpole, but that was waived for Dino’s new flag pole. Paladino said construction will begin immediately.

Paladino said he wants to express his own patriotism and bring Americans together by flying the Stars and Stripes high atop the Elkhorn hill, a place of prominence on the west end of Omaha. “We just want to send a statement that we just need to be more patriotic,” said Paladino, who also puts Bible verses on message boards at his storage businesses. “I wish Americans loved America as much as other countries love America.”

Fact or Fiction?

In the era of “fake news” and conspiracy theories, it seems appropriate to look back on events we all have heard of from the distant past. We note that there are historians and others who claim some of these events never happened, but that by no means means that those claims are true. Make up your own mind about the events detailed below.

Nero didn’t fiddle while Rome burned
Nero, the original unconcerned bystander. While this first-century Roman emperor certainly isn’t blameless in the story of Rome’s fiery fall, he definitely wasn’t playing the fiddle during it. For one thing, Nero wasn’t even in the city when the fire began; he was in Antium, about thirty miles outside of the city. For another there was no such thing as a fiddle in ancient Rome. While Nero was a musician (and supposedly liked to play a harp-like instrument called the cithara), he sure wasn’t playing an instrument that wouldn’t appear until the 11th century. A Roman historian has claimed that, if anything, he was singing about the legendary fall of Troy when he learned his city was burning, but there were no witness accounts to back this up.

Rats didn’t actually spread the Black Death
Recent studies have discovered that rats may not actually be to blame for this devastating plague that wiped out a third of the 14th century population of Europe. So it’s time to rat out the real culprit. Scientists at the University of Oslo conducted an experiment that assessed the potential transmission routes for the deadly pandemic. They discovered that the parasites that carried the disease were much more likely to have come from humans than rats. The model showing the disease spread by human fleas and lice matched the death rates of the actual Black Death much more closely than the model involving parasite-carrying rats.

The Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria weren’t the names of Christopher Columbus’s ships
When it comes to Columbus, the only fact that the history books really have right is that he sailed in 1492. First of all, he didn’t “discover” America – people had already been living on the continent for thousands of years. He wasn’t even the first European explorer to reach North America. A crew of Vikings sailed to Canada around 1000 AD. Even the oft-repeated names of his three ships aren’t historically accurate. In the 15th century, most sailing ships were named after saints, so while the Santa Maria is probably the real name, the Niña and the Pinta were probably just casual sailor nicknames for more piously named vessels. According to history.com, the Niña’s real name was most likely “the Santa Clara,” while the Pinta’s real name is unknown.

Martin Luther probably didn’t nail his 95 Theses to a church door
The revolutionary monk Martin Luther and his list of grievances about the Catholic Church have gone down in history as the catalyst for the Protestant Reformation. While the 95 Theses were real, and did have a major impact on people’s perceptions of the Catholic Church, the events didn’t quite go down the way you learned. There is no historical evidence that Luther posted the Theses on the church door; that story wouldn’t appear until 30 years after 1517, the year the act was supposed to have taken place. What we do know for certain is that he very politely mailed his 95 Theses to the archbishop, and that he never actually intended to start a revolution within the church. Luther was a devoted Catholic, and he simply wanted the clergy to recognize their corruption. Even if he did also post the Theses on the church door, that wasn’t quite the defiant act historians have portrayed it as. It was actually the norm, since that’s where the church notice board was located.

An apple never fell on Isaac Newton’s head
The story that the famous mathematician had an epiphany about gravity after being bonked on the head by a piece of fruit is most likely an embellishment of what really happened. The first time the apple story appeared was in a biography of Newton written by his friend William Stukeley in 1792. The account says, “the notion of gravitation came into his mind…occasion’d by the fall of an apple, as he sat in a contemplative mood.” Historians believe that he may well have seen an apple fall and begun pondering why it did so; but nowhere in any records of Newton’s life does it say it hit him on the head.

Suspected witches weren’t burned at the stake in Salem
Even though you probably think of “Salem witch trials” and “witch burnings” as interchangeable, not a single accused witch in 17th century Salem suffered a fiery fate. All but one of the 20 people executed for practicing witchcraft in the colonial Massachusetts town were hanged, while the twentieth victim was crushed to death with heavy rocks. While a few other accused sorcerers died in prison awaiting trial, there were no burnings – at least not in Salem. The widespread idea that witches were burned most likely stems from witch hysteria that took place in Europe. In the 15th to 18th centuries primarily, anti-witch hysteria raged throughout western Europe and Scandinavia, and many of those accused witches were burned at the stake.

Ben Franklin didn’t discover electricity
Ben Franklin’s famed experiment involving a key tied to a kite wasn’t quite the revolutionary scientific venture you might think it was. He certainly didn’t “discover” electricity; scientists already were well aware of its existence in 1752, the year of Franklin’s experiment. What Franklin sought to discover was whether lightning was a form of electricity, and he was the first to propose that hypothesis. But, complicating matters, it may not even have been Franklin himself who sent the famous kite into the air. In 1752, Franklin wrote in the Pennsylvania Gazette about the success of the experiment and described how it worked – but he never actually said that he performed it himself. It wasn’t until 15 years later that scientist Joseph Priestly wrote an account attributing the experiment to Franklin.

Marie Antoinette didn’t say “Let them eat cake”
The doomed French queen never actually made this condescending remark about her impoverished subjects. There are accounts of spoiled royals suggesting that poor people eat delicacies they can’t afford dating back long before Antoinette’s rule. In one such tale, a German noblewoman suggests that her subjects eat a sweet bread called Krosem in the 16th century. Antoinette was born in the 18th century. The “Let them eat cake” quote itself – “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” in French – first appeared in a 1767 autobiographical account by the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He attributes the quote simply to “a great princess.” Considering that Marie Antoinette was a young girl at the time, it almost definitely wasn’t her.

Vincent van Gogh didn’t cut off his ear
Not all of it, anyway. The artist only severed the bottom part of his left ear, and no one knows for sure the reason he did it. He was certainly suffering from severe depression at the time. Some historians claim that he was agitated after a spat with his artist frenemy Paul Gaugin. Others claim that it was an act of rage committed after he learned that his brother, who was a major source of financial and emotional support for him, was engaged. One thing is for sure, though: it definitely wasn’t his entire ear.