Adapt your skills and strategy – best money tip ever

by Nick on September 4, 2010

I was really, really hoping this one was going to be useful.  It’s brought by one of my favorite CNBC personalities, Maria Bartiromo.  Alas, she let me down.  It’s OK in theory, but she doesn’t give us very much practical advice.  Here’s the detail, from the article:

Best advice I can give: Darwin said it: You need to be adaptable. As it relates to your portfolio, if you regularly put money into your 401(k) or invest in mutual funds, you might have to change your strategy as the economic times change around you.

As it relates to your skill set, make sure you have a broad understanding of where the growth is in the job market, so you can apply your talents there. We are seeing different skill sets required. We are seeing traditional industries change. Some positions are leaving and aren’t coming back.

Best advice I ever got: When I was a little girl and wanted an ice cream cone, my mom would say, “Yes. But how much change do you have in your jar?” (I would save my pennies.)

I am a big saver. I got my first credit card only about two years ago.

My take:
As usual, the advice she “got” is the most practical advice.  But let’s dig through hers first.  It’s simple advice, which I like.  But it doesn’t really help you very much, which disappoints me.  Sure, you should be able to adapt in any life situation (job market, business, investing, etc.).  But is that really the best advice she could give?  Well the answer to that is “no.”  How do I know?  Because the best advice she gives is later in the article – “I am a big saver.”

In fact, when it comes to investing at least, many investment gurus advise to not adapt.  Many investment advisers say consistent and diversified investment portfolios, over time, in broad mutual funds or ETFs is the best way to invest for the long term.  And they’re probably right.  As long as the investment strategy is well diversified among asset classes, and within asset classes, regular systematic investment is probably the best way to go (and least stressful).  So, bleh.  Ms. Bartiromo, if you’re reading (which I’m suuuuure she is…) feel free to defend yourself.  But SAFTM thinks staying away from the mall is better and more practical advice!  Adapt to that!

(It seems the degree of usefulness I’ve found so far directly correlates to the age and experience of the speaker.  Maybe I should have listened to my grandparents a little more when they were talking cash back in the day.  Or maybe I did and that’s why I have this interest in personal finance… hmmm….)

To her credit – being a “big saver” is great. Great advice.  I’ll give her that (but I won’t give her the credit for it).  So good job Mama Bartiromo.  You did well.  Teaching kids where money comes from is one of my best money tips ever.  Learning early on that money does not just appear from mom and dad certainly provides great potential for a financially responsible adult.

So diversify, diversify, diversify.  Adapt when necessary (I’m talking to all you typewriter salespeople here…).  But trying to find the “hot” investment is only going to burn you (like the play between “hot” and “burn”?).  So take her advice for what it’s worth.  It’s useful, but not in my top 21.  And, of course, put your credit card down and slowly step away from the mall!

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: