Un-Dilbert-Like Financial Advice

I’ve learned of this second hand and haven’t managed to lay my hands on a copy of the book to confirm this came from there, but it’s good advice even if it didn’t.  Scott Adams, he of Dilbert fame (and fortune), wrote a book back in 2002 called “The Way of the Weasel”.  According to my sources, in it he presented a one-page list for managing your money.  How such a thing would come to be included in a Dilbert book is beyond me- given its very un-Dilbert-like character.  But, seemingly it did and here are his nine things to do in order to get your financial act together:

1. Make a will
2. Pay off your credit cards
3. Get term life insurance if you have a family to support
4. Fund your 401(k) to the maximum
5. Fund your IRA to the maximum
6. Buy a house if you want to live in a house and can afford it
7. Put six months expenses in a money market account
8. Take whatever money is left over and invest 70% in a stock index fund and 30% in a bond fund through any discount broker and never touch it until retirement
9. If any of this confuses you, or you have something special going on (retirement, college planning, a tax issue), hire a fee-based financial planner, not one who charges a percentage of your portfolio.
Now, is this gospel?  No.  This is a nice overall general list- one that you probably should consider following in some form.  There are no doubt subtleties in your situation than may necessitate you varying from the list (i.e. your investment mix may need to be different, or term insurance isn’t the most appropriate).  But if you manage to achieve numbers 1 through 8 - with or without number 9 - you will be doing quite well and certainly, I assure you, much better than most of the people you run into each and every day.  So, get started.  Do them in any order you wish.  Make a New Year’s resolution out of it - but one you follow-through on .  Go for it!  You’ll be glad you did.


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