If This Were My Last Post on Money…

I’d want you to know the following:

Managing money is so easy once you figure it out. It’s scary and frustrating and all kinds of annoying before hand, but once you “get it” you’re good forever. It’s like riding a bike – you fall down a ton early on, but the more you practice the better you get. You’ll still fall afterwards, but usually only because you’re trying to be slick πŸ˜‰

The only one who cares about your money is you. People want you to succeed and love you of course (hi mom!), but at the end of the day it’s all up to you and the actions you take or don’t take. You’re the only one who can live your life and knows what makes you happy.

Work on the stuff that excites you! It doesn’t matter if it’s paying off debt, saving for a house, investing in retirement – they’re all GREAT ways to secure your future. Just pick the one that makes you happiest and focus on it until you get it. Then repeat. (And if you change your mind in two weeks? That’s OK too. There’s no one watching you or rules to follow.)

Max out your 401(k) match. It’s free money. If you don’t know how to invest it, check these guys out.

Create a seperate savings account when you’re saving for something big. Nothing is more motivating than watching a pile of cash grow and knowing 100% of it is going towards your main goal. It’s one of the easiest ways to score traction.

Use time to your advantage. No matter how hard we try, we can’t slow down time. Invest those dollars now – even if they’re just dollars – and get them on their way to making babies and grandbabies. You want your money copulating while you sleep.

Give yourself a break! Try not to be so hard on yourself, and focus on the future you and not the you that got yourself into a mess. You’re smarter now and ready to do this thing or else you wouldn’t be such a nerd reading about money right now πŸ˜‰

The end goal is freedom, not millions of dollars. Sometimes (often times) you need millions of dollars, but it’s not about piling it up just to see how high you can get it. It’s about living a life on your own terms and using money to buy you TIME. Time for your family, time for your passions, and most importantly time for yourself. That’s the point of paying attention to it all – financial freedom.

God forbid this is my last post, but if it were that’s exactly what I’d want you to know. This stuff isn’t rocket science, but you have to want it bad enough to go out and make it happen.

And I hope you want it bad enough πŸ™‚

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79 Comments

  1. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank July 6, 2015 at 6:33 AM

    J. Money, if this were your last post, you shared the most important lessons everyone needs to know about money. It’s like every basic thing to know is here from managing to saving money as well as how to keep motivated during this time. Nice post, J!

    Reply
  2. Simple Is The New Green July 6, 2015 at 7:21 AM

    “Use time to your advantage” is probably one of the best pieces of advice on finances!

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 6, 2015 at 8:06 AM

      and probably the most boring one, so people never do it – hah! they don’t want to get rich slowly, they want to get rich fast πŸ™‚

      Reply
  3. Taylor Lee @ Engineer Cents July 6, 2015 at 7:36 AM

    FREEEEEDOM!

    Sorry, very freedom-focused after a tough Q2 at work (and personally). Plus, well, we did just have the Fourth.

    Anyway, great post! Hope this is all just hypothetical!

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 6, 2015 at 8:14 AM

      Hypothetical that it’s my last post, but not that I want these on my Financial Blogger tombstone one day πŸ™‚

      Reply
  4. John C @ Action Economics July 6, 2015 at 7:48 AM

    “Work on stuff that excites you” is my focus right now. Working on my Q2 financial update I am more committed than ever to work on knocking out this mortgage.

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 6, 2015 at 8:23 AM

      GOOD!!!!

      I’ll be ready to celebrate with a beer (or ten) once you hit it. You’ll have to wait too long for me to hit it – hah πŸ™‚

      Reply
  5. Jake Cutter July 6, 2015 at 7:57 AM

    It wasn’t too long ago that you posted you sometimes don’t care about money. Are you trying to tell us something?

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 6, 2015 at 8:24 AM

      haha no.

      I’ve just had death on my mind a lot and you tend to start thinking differently when that happens πŸ™‚

      Reply
  6. Kalie July 6, 2015 at 8:06 AM

    Great “last” post! I love how you empower people to take charge with their money, without feeling like they have to do it perfectly, by one hand-and-fast set of rules. Also that the goal doesn’t need to be “getting rich,” but getting freedom to spend your time in ways you value.

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 6, 2015 at 8:27 AM

      thanks friend πŸ™‚ I don’t think you *can* do this stuff perfectly. unless you’re a robot!

      Reply
  7. Jordann July 6, 2015 at 8:33 AM

    Love it! This would be a great post to send to someone just getting into money. All of the important commandments, all in one place.

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 6, 2015 at 9:10 AM

      I’d like to think so πŸ™‚

      Reply
  8. Kim@Eyesonthedollar July 6, 2015 at 8:37 AM

    I love the riding a bike analogy. I think it take a “crash” every once in a while to remind us we need to stick to the path and use the skills we have.

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 6, 2015 at 9:11 AM

      Hah – indeed it does.. I’m getting my knees skinned all the time still πŸ˜‰

      Reply
  9. Lisa July 6, 2015 at 8:44 AM

    1 (800) 273-8255 that is the number for the suicide prevention hotline. Hope that you are around for a long time.

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 6, 2015 at 9:13 AM

      I love life way too much to take it with my own hands πŸ™‚

      Reply
  10. Lisa O July 6, 2015 at 8:50 AM

    NIce….it certainly makes you think on this Monday morning! I love the thought “its about living on your own terms”. We just spent the weekend at the lake with family and enjoyed it completely! We looked at 2 lake homes that are going up for sale in the next 5 years and they were beautiful! I came back to my husband to say they are everything I would want as a final home….one floor, plank floors, 1.5 baths, a beautiful kitchen over looking the lake with white cupboards, a stone fire place, an out door kitchen…the list goes on…it was like HGTV! Usually my husband is the first to say okay, he looked at me and said $500K is a lot to take on at the age of 50 and retirement would be no where in site…he was right! “Our terms don’t include a $500K lake home for retirement…we have always been simple people and enjoy the smaller things in life πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 6, 2015 at 9:16 AM

      Smart husband πŸ™‚ Though I was kinda hoping you were going to say y’all were gonna jump on it cuz it was only like $50,000! haha…

      How do you find homes that are going up for sale in the future like that btw? That seems like a good skill to have!

      Reply
      1. Lisa O July 6, 2015 at 10:21 AM

        Family friends talking, drinking, and eating on a holiday weekend. We all plan to retire someday and they are closer to that goal than we are. They own 3 lake houses…I mean 12 months a year the lake in retirement but down size to just 1 lake house. She like the smaller one for older years πŸ™‚

        Reply
        1. J. Money July 7, 2015 at 3:10 PM

          It always pays to party and network! πŸ™‚

          Reply
  11. Brian @ Debt Discipline July 6, 2015 at 9:04 AM

    “Work on the stuff that excites you!” – When you do this I think you are the most successful no matter what you are doing. J$ – come on man, you know this ain’t your last post!

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 6, 2015 at 9:19 AM

      I do πŸ™‚ But it’s an interesting experiment to try out – I highly encourage!

      Reply
  12. Robin @ The Thrifty Peach July 6, 2015 at 9:24 AM

    I love your idea about working on what excites you. It’s a simple idea, but it makes so much sense.
    We are working on having our mortgage paid off by the end of the year, and we are so excited about it. πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 7, 2015 at 3:11 PM

      I would too if it were that close! haha… way to hustle hustle!

      Reply
  13. Tonya@Budget and the Beach July 6, 2015 at 9:27 AM

    I think one of my big problems right now is competing goals. There are certain areas I want to spend money on to grow, both personally and professionally, but then the other side of that tug-a-war is my desire to be really frugal. I guess it’s figuring out who is really going to win that battle.

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 7, 2015 at 3:13 PM

      Maybe focus on one thing a month? 30 days seem to be good time periods depending on how large the goal is you’re working on.

      Reply
  14. Michelle July 6, 2015 at 9:49 AM

    Love this! Financial freedom is so very important. I already feel like I’m there (I know I’m not, but still), and I am loving life!

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 7, 2015 at 3:15 PM

      I like to pretend I’m retired already and just choose to do blog stuff in all my free time – hah πŸ™‚

      Reply
  15. Tawcan July 6, 2015 at 10:08 AM

    The end goal is freedom, not millions of dollars.

    Man that’s so true. Working on something that excites you is very important.

    Reply
  16. Jason @ Phroogal July 6, 2015 at 10:39 AM

    This post feels like something that would be referenced when your time comes. May it not be for many, many, many more years!

    I especially love the 2nd point. We all try to impress others but it’s silly.

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 7, 2015 at 3:14 PM

      Maybe I’ll just reproduce it then and add in a “I’ll love you guys forever” at the end πŸ™‚

      Reply
  17. Gary @ Super Saving Tips July 6, 2015 at 11:49 AM

    What you said! Whether it’s your first time reading the advice or a reminder to get you up and going, it’s all good stuff.

    “You want your money copulating while you sleep”…true, as long as it’s quiet and doesn’t wake me up. πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 7, 2015 at 3:14 PM

      hah! i’d rather wake up to my money copulating than others! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  18. Shannon @ Financially Blonde July 6, 2015 at 12:05 PM

    “This stuff isn’t rocket science” – So true, except it’s actually harder than rocket science because there’s emotion involved with money. My hubby has a degree in aerospace engineering, so I love to tell clients that my hubby is a rocket scientist and could literally explain the universe, but he still struggles with making smart money choices from time to time. It’s basic on paper, but not in practice. It takes work, but thankfully the work you put into it yields positive results all the time.

    Reply
  19. MJ July 6, 2015 at 12:07 PM

    I JUST commented on Budget and the Beach about how frustrating it is to have competing goals…and then I read “Work on the stuff that excites you!” That’s the best advice I’ve heard on figuring out which thing to focus on. It’s easy: the one that excites you.

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 7, 2015 at 3:18 PM

      Haha good! We all have multiple goals at all time going, but there’s always those special ones that for whatever reason REALLY get us pumped. Always feels great working on them πŸ™‚

      Reply
  20. Christine @ The Pursuit of Green July 6, 2015 at 12:10 PM

    The time thing is so essential!!!! I’ve had to encourage other people who are in their 30’s to start their 401k!!!!! It’s crazy how people get so paralyzed by that and they just need to dip their feet first in the pool and know it’s not that bad.

    Happy post-July fourth!

    Reply
  21. Crystal July 6, 2015 at 12:30 PM

    Great points! I hope you don’t have death on the brain for sad reasons but best wishes either way. Sometimes it’s refreshing to just stay on top of the big stuff and know you’ll be okay.

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 7, 2015 at 3:22 PM

      Thanks friend. It’s been on my mind for a number of reasons, but all is good overall πŸ™‚ Just gotta remember to soak up all the days we’re blessed with!

      Reply
  22. jolie July 6, 2015 at 1:39 PM

    “no one cares about your money but you”

    That is the one that is resonating with me this week.

    Great list. Glad this is NOT your last post on money πŸ™‚

    Reply
  23. Femme @ femmefrugality July 6, 2015 at 1:42 PM

    These are all perfect. The last one has been really clicking with me lately. Sometimes on the way to our goal we get so tied up with earning that money that we forget the money isn’t the object; it’s the freedom we’re after. We should be making our lives better, not more stressful, in the pursuit of it. A lesson I really needed to learn.

    Reply
  24. Melanie @ Dear Debt July 6, 2015 at 2:31 PM

    I love this advice! I love the part about doing what excites you. Paying off debt for so long, I’ve realized that sometimes I’m just over it and I prefer saving. Now I’m insanely inspired to get out of debt and working with that excitement to fuel my progress. Your insights are on point, J… I can’t bring myself to say what the new kids are saying (on fleek). πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 7, 2015 at 3:24 PM

      Fleek – hah! I’ve been using “rad” a lot lately after hearing a younger person drop it all over a call I had. I thought it had gone out years ago but apparently not! Either that, or she’s a super hipster. Either way, it’s rad πŸ™‚

      Reply
  25. Mrs. Frugalwoods July 6, 2015 at 2:54 PM

    I totally agree that the only person who cares about your money (or your life) is you! It was a huge revelation for me to realize that nobody else cares how I live or what I do–it’s up to me to craft the life I want. And I want it frugal and free :)!!!

    Reply
  26. Vawt @ Early Retirement Ahead July 6, 2015 at 2:56 PM

    Well said, sir. Sometimes we take this stuff too seriously and need to relax and know that good habits results in good results. You can endlessly optimize every monetary decision or leave some time to enjoy other things in life!

    Reply
  27. Steve July 6, 2015 at 3:13 PM

    Nice post – agreed, saving money (even a substantial amount of money) truly isn’t all that difficult. It takes some motivation for sure, and a little bit of discipline, but man, this stuff is easy. Once you figure out that “stuff” doesn’t make you happen, that’s almost all it takes. Stuff is draining.

    Retirement is ever-freaking-lasting.

    Reply
  28. Kalen @ MoneyMiniBlog July 6, 2015 at 3:13 PM

    Awesome. This may be the last thing you would say about money, but it’s the first thing people need to hear. My favorite point? The end goal is freedom.

    This is pure truth. Pure gold.

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 7, 2015 at 3:26 PM

      “This may be the last thing you would say about money, but it’s the first thing people need to hear.”

      Well said! I like that πŸ™‚

      Reply
  29. Fervent Finance July 6, 2015 at 6:12 PM

    These are great points and fundamental to understanding your money. I just hope you have many more posts!

    Reply
  30. Reelika @Financially Wise On Heels July 6, 2015 at 8:19 PM

    Absolutely, and I would just add that it is important to write down your short, mid and long term financial goals and create a plan to achieve them!

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 7, 2015 at 3:27 PM

      that’s probably smart, yeah. I’m horrible at looking into the future, so it’s pretty amazing I’ve done as well as I have without planning – hah.

      Reply
  31. Jon @ Money Smart Guides July 7, 2015 at 7:55 AM

    The freedom part is key. People who want the money to buy everything under the sun are the ones who go broke 3 months later. I want millions but not because I want to buy tons of things. I want the freedom to not have to work or even work at a job I love, regardless of the pay.

    Reply
  32. john July 7, 2015 at 9:58 AM

    i love me some unsplash photography! i had used that exact picture on friday to make a landing page for a subscription service (i linked it above, im not trying to be spammy just find it rather remarkable we used the exact same picture in the same week).

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 7, 2015 at 3:29 PM

      hah! that’s pretty cool!

      Reply
  33. Prudence Debtfree July 7, 2015 at 11:03 AM

    This is great, Jay : )
    I LOVE the “Give Yourself a Break” one. After 3 years of debt-reduction, I can confirm that you’re right: That smarter “future self” is emerging! I’m too inclined to dwell upon the “old self” that got me into that debt mess.
    About “Work On The Stuff That Excites You”, I would only add that sometimes, as you’re working on what truly is exciting, it will seem dull. That doesn’t mean it’s time to jump ship. I’d say stick it out. You’ll catch the vision again : )

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 7, 2015 at 3:30 PM

      true true… in those cases you can always move to the #1 excitement area at the time at that point and then move back when that one gets old too, haha… though that may only work best for those of us with A.D.D. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  34. Kurt July 7, 2015 at 11:16 AM

    Yep, in the end it’s up to each of us, right? No excuses.

    Reply
  35. Suzi July 7, 2015 at 2:05 PM

    Great post, and a timely reminder to keep the key points in focus.
    BTW, I just pictured my dollars making babies. Things that can’t be unseen… Traumatized!

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 7, 2015 at 3:37 PM

      I’m trying to envision that now, haha… if they copulate too much they’ll rip holes in each other! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  36. Jacob July 7, 2015 at 2:38 PM

    I thought it was just going to say “STAY SEXY!”

    But instead you dropped a knowledge bomb. I especially like “Managing money is so easy once you figure it out”.

    I LOVE IT when I see the light turn on a people start to get it. Once your budget’s in the black, you can’t go back! πŸ˜‰

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 7, 2015 at 3:38 PM

      HAH! You know it, sir.

      Reply
  37. Millennial Money man July 7, 2015 at 4:48 PM

    I always get hung up on the millions of dollars instead of financial freedom and being too hard on myself for not being wealthy already. When you are young, you want everything RIGHT NOW. Learning how to wait is freaking hard.

    Reply
  38. Done by Forty July 7, 2015 at 5:14 PM

    If you leave me now, you take away the biggest part of me…

    Whooo-eeee-hoooo, no, J Mo please don’t go….

    Reply
  39. Mrs. FI July 7, 2015 at 5:29 PM

    Great list. Mr. FI and I recently began renovating our kitchen, so we could not agree more with your advice to “Create a seperate savings account when you’re saving for something big.” It not only made every paycheck that went into that account more exciting, but it allowed us to set a date and actually DO IT. Money is quite the motivator. πŸ˜‰

    Reply
  40. Red to Riches July 7, 2015 at 9:56 PM

    It seems so simple! πŸ™‚

    Execution is much more difficult in modern day society, but it’s easy if you take it one step at a time.

    Great summary of some great rules to remind everyone!

    Reply
  41. TheMoneyMine July 7, 2015 at 11:20 PM

    Hi J. – If this were your LAST post, it could also be the FIRST post that anybody starting the journey should read. That’s a great summary!

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 9, 2015 at 3:31 PM

      Thanks πŸ™‚ And you’re right!

      Reply
  42. Jason @ Islands of Investing July 8, 2015 at 2:26 AM

    Funny how most of these things are all within us – you don’t need to go hunting ‘out there’ for some fancy tool or program or advice, you just need to dive in yourself, be kind to yourself, and make sure you don’t mess up your own good work with bad habits or worrying about what everyone else thinks.

    Reply
  43. Michelle July 8, 2015 at 11:26 AM

    There is a simplicity to money that is messed up by the introduction of emotion.

    Reply
  44. maria@moneyprinciple July 9, 2015 at 4:39 AM

    J., I think this is probably the best post on money (and life) you’ve published. Only thing is, I am getting worried because it sounds a bit like ‘good bye’. Keep it up and continue doing what excites you :).

    Reply
    1. J. Money July 9, 2015 at 3:32 PM

      Thanks friend πŸ™‚ I’m not going anywhere, don’t worry. Just in one of those “thinky” moods! Who knows what will spill out next?

      Reply
  45. Lisa July 10, 2015 at 5:27 PM

    The last point is my favorite. Of course being wealthy would be amazing, but most importantly – freedom is THE end goal!

    Reply
  46. Mahmudul Islam July 15, 2015 at 1:56 AM

    Superb. Freedom is the eventual goal

    Reply
  47. Kalen August 11, 2022 at 5:29 PM

    I’m late to the party here and just stumbled across this article, but that piece about taking responsibility over my money has been a game-changer for me. “The only one who cares about your money is you.” Wish I would have realized this one sooner in life, but once I did everything changed! Good stuff.

    Reply

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