Pity the Gen Xer; The single most important key to personal finance success; Lessons from a financial crisis; How much are your friends costing you?; 5 ways to save money without trying

Pity the Gen Xer; The single most important key to personal finance success; Lessons from a financial crisis; How much are your friends costing you?; 5 ways to save money without trying

By Amanda Morrall

1) Pity the Gen Xer

Generation X, the novel by Canadian writer Douglas Coupland, is one of my all time favourite books.

I'm showing my age but that's because I am a Gen Xer. The book was published more than two decades ago now and captured to a tee the cultural mileu of my day.

I reckon the book has aged well, the generation it defines less so. That's particularly the case when it comes to retirement readiness according to new research (reported here by Forbes) which shows that my peer group and late boomers are looking at 50 shades of a crappy retirement because of lifestyle inflation, high debt and low assets.

The moral of this story is that my generation and the later boomers are going to have to curb their spending or else lower their expectations of what a comfortable retirement looks like to avoid disappointment. Don't let this be you. 

2) Defining personal finance success

If I had to narrow down personal finance success to one trait, I'd say it was awareness tied with mindfulness.

Awareness; in the sense you have woken up to the state of your personal finances as a starting point for taking a more active interest in and control over them; and mindfulness in the sense of deeper consideration of and greater control over all the decisions (big and small) that make up your financial wellbeing. 

According to this blog from The College Investor, the single most important trait defining personal finance success is accountability. That's a good one too I reckon. 

3) Social proof

Just as the company you keep says a lot about who you are, they can also cast a reflection on the state of your bank account.

Well, that's the theory behind this piece from Wellinformatics.com looking at social influence and the price it extracts from your wallet.

The term for this is "social proof." As the piece explains, social proof doesn't have to be negative and can operate from a position of positive influence if you work it to your advantage, for example by having friends that think and spend similarly to you. 

4) Lessons learned from a crisis

I don't like the word failure. Or mistake for that matter. When something doesn't pan out or go according to plan or you disappoint yourself in some regard it's a problem made 10 times worse but looking at it thus, and beating yourself up for it.

When you see the opportunity to learn and grow from it, and more importantly seize the chance to turn into a 'good' something 'bad' then it's really just a blessing in disguise. Resilience, it has been shown time and time again, is one of the keys to "success.''

For more on what we can learn from a financial crisis, check out this blog from retirehappy.ca.

5) Five ways to save money without trying

2013 might go down on record as the summer that never ended given these unending beautiful and balmy temperatures. That said, it's only a matter of time, surely, before Mother Nature decides to turn down the thermostat.

For five ways to save money and energy without even trying, here's some illuminating but simple suggestions from freemoneywisdom.com.

Like what you've read? You'll enjoy the book better. Here's how to order a copy of Amanda's book Money Matters: Get your Life and $ Sorted. The book is also available in ebook format as well via Amazon and is replete with hyper links to help you get your finances in order. 

You can also follow Amanda on Twitter @amandamorrall; check out her previous Take Fives here; Find out what she's up on on her own blog here.  

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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It is so much easier to blame someone, anyone, everyone else, just read the comments on this blog.

So true wise Ralph.