Big Picture Financial Advice from Jonathan Clements

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clementsbookHere is some “big picture” financial advice from author and columnist Jonathan Clements. I’d like to collect enough of these tips from notable people and make a compilation post.

Clements recently wrote his last column “How to Live a Happier Financial Life” for the Wall Street Journal Sunday (which is ending publication), but he’ll still be writing for the main Wall Street Journal (on Saturdays). I’ll just paraphrase the bullet points below; read the full article for the details.

  • The biggest waste of time is commuting.
  • The best investment attribute to have is humility.
  • The biggest key to financial success is cheap housing.
  • The best way to spend money is to buy experiences.
  • Your top financial goal should be to have the ability to do fulfilling work, as opposed to working solely for a paycheck.

I guess he’s a sentimental guy because he also wrote a “last column” called “Parting Shot: What I Learned From Writing 1,008 Columns” in 2008 when he left the Wall Street Journal to join Citigroup (before coming back). Highlights below; read full article for details.

The question – What is the reason for all this saving and investing?

  • If you have money, you’ll worry less about it.
  • Money can give you the freedom to pursue your passions.
  • Money can buy you time with friends and family.

I checked and both articles weren’t behind a paywall at the time of writing, but that may change in the future.

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  1. Immigrant in CA says:

    Agreed on all points except for the first and last especially if you can listen to music or catch up on the news etc. on your smartphone during your commute. That time is better spent at home having fun with the kids. The last one, I am not so sure because I have seen lot of people get in real trouble trying to do that (anecdotal of course). Fun time is more fun if your work is boring but what do I know I have a job that I really truly love!

    • Agree, it should read, “commuting is a waste of time if you’re stuck in a car”. I often bike home from work, or if I don’t, I take the train where I can read a book–an activity I often do at home for recreation anyway.

  2. Problem is, commuting often leads to cheap housing.

  3. I really enjoy reading those kind of articles and I totally agree with almost every single one of the key points outlined, specially this one:
    ?Your top financial goal should be to have the ability to do fulfilling work, as opposed to working solely for a paycheck.
    About commuting– I used to see it as a waste of time as well (specially if you are driving an hour to work and back each day). However, for someone very well acquainted with public transportation (I live in NYC) I actually see commuting as a perfect time to get a lot of reading or work done. So, it depends πŸ™‚

  4. Or work from home. Commute time is seconds. It was part of the deal I negotiated.

    No gas or time spent. Plus the car suffers no wear and tear. Plus getting work done at the house is so easy.

    Electricity usage? Actually with our pv solar system we still over produce. And if the kid and nanny are out I only have my pc on…

    And I get much better/healthier/cheaper lunches.

  5. Thanks for the excillent advice. I find this veryhelpful.

  6. I definitely agree with the idea of spending money on experiences as the enjoyment from material items fades very quickly while memories last forever.


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