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What I Wish I Had Known About Money When I Was Younger

By Tom Breiter, Integra Capital Advisors

Taking care of money and finances involves discipline, planning, strategizing, and, most of all, confidence. For anyone who has dreams to fulfill, causes to contribute to, and plans to turn into reality, they have to be willing to look at their numbers without fear and take swift and consistent action.

Even though my passion for finances can be traced back to my college days, there are a few things I wish I had known back then; tools and knowledge that could have increased my bottom line. 

These are the three things I wish I had known about money when I was younger: 

Take Money Seriously, Sooner

Money is serious business, especially when it comes to savings and compound interest. Had I taken my spending habits more seriously, I would have made a point to spend less money, be more thrifty and savvy, and deposited more into my savings account. The lump sum of my savings would have been larger and I would have been able to take greater advantage of compound interest, which is accumulated interested based on the initial principal amount as well as previous deposits. (1)

The bottom line: The sooner you take money seriously, the better. 

Know About Dollar Cost Averaging

The right strategies and tools can make a huge difference when it comes to any investment portfolio. In this case, Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA) is quite useful to build savings and wealth steadily while balancing out short-term market volatility. (2)

According to Investopedia, DCA “is a strategy that allows an investor to buy the same dollar amount of an investment on regular intervals. The purchases occur regardless of the asset’s price.” For instance, an investor can choose to allocate a set amount of his/her money to go to the same investments every time he/she gets a paycheck. During that time, the value of these stocks will rise up and down. At any given time, the stocks can be worth more or less than what he/she paid for them months ago. However, due to DCA, the cost to the investor for these stocks is leveled out to an average as opposed to paying for these stocks on an extreme high or extreme low. Therefore, the volatility is neutralized. 

The bottom line: Spread the wealth on a consistent basis. 

Take Advantage Of Tax-Free And Tax-Advantaged Retirement

As soon as anyone is able to, he/she should open up a tax-free or tax-advantaged retirement account. A tax-free retirement account is exactly what it sounds like. No taxes are required for any income earned before or when it is withdrawn after retirement. (3) Examples of these include Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s. This means that more money gets to stay with you, without worrying about taxes.

Tax-advantaged, or tax-deferred, simply means that any income earned before retirement is not taxed, but taxes will be due once withdrawals occur after retirement. (4) Examples of these include traditional 401(k)s and IRAs. These tax-advantaged retirement accounts benefit investors in two ways: 1) The retirement contributions make the overall household income less, therefore less taxes are due in the present, and 2) For some, they will be in a lower tax bracket after they retire, so by the time they need to pay taxes on their withdrawals, they pay less than they did before they retired.

The bottom line: Research what retirement accounts benefit you the most taxwise.  

How We Can Help

We work primarily with clients who desire our personal yet structured process for planning and investing that relieves them of the day-to-day worry of the financial markets with freedom to pursue what they value most and allows them to feel confident and reassured. We call this process the “Waypoint Formula.”

Call us today at 941-778-1900 or email info@integracapitaladvisors.com to plan your path to financial freedom.


(1) https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/compoundinterest.asp

(2) https://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/dollarcostaveraging.asp

(3) https://www.thebalance.com/tax-free-retirement-accounts-faqs-2894621

(4) https://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/tax-advantaged.asp