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Financial planner and entrepreneur Alexa von Tobel (LearnVest founder) shares 6 money mistakes she thinks you should correct today.

Stashed in: @troutgirl, Advice, Fitspo, Awesome, Personal Finance, Women in Tech, Real Talk, Personal Finance, Cognitive Bias

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6. Do not overspend on housing.

Generally speaking, your living arrangements should never be more than 30% of what you take home each month. If you’re sitting there feeling guilty, keep in mind that almost half of all US renters are overspending.

When it comes to mortgages, Americans are buying the most expensive first-homes relative to their incomes in the past 40 years, failing to factor in additional expenses like property taxes and maintenance costs. Better to find a smaller place that fits your budget and costs less to heat, cool, and clean.

To me this fails to take into account how expensive some housing markets are.

Especially for renters. 

that is a rough one! there are a lot of variables around living arrangements and location. 


So I don't think she should recommend a blanket rule like "never be more than 30% of take home".

3. Save for retirement.

The biggest financial regret for nearly one in five Americans is not starting early to save enough for retirement. It’s tempting to defer responsibility for that “far-away” day and become laser-focused on other obligations like bills and loans, but it’s certainly not advisable. This is doubly true if your employer happens to offer a retirement savings match — this is free money!

For more advice from Alexa, read her recent columns on personal finance, or visit her online at

Okay but not all employers match any more. Most ones I'm familiar with do not match. 

She seems to undervalue paying bills and loans in her advice here. 

After years of reading articles on PandaWhale, my only universal piece of financial advice is this: exercise every day (but maybe not stuff that super fucks up your joints, like Crossfit). Whether you're young or old, the odds are very good that a health crisis is going to be the thing that sucks up a gigantic chunk of any money you manage to save. There are other kinds of crises in life -- houses burn down, loved ones die suddenly, you have triplets who all expect you to pay for their college educations and weddings in the same year -- but health costs are UNBOUNDED in a way that nothing else is. So it's a major miscalculation to save money if you aren't saving your health first... and the #1 thing that seems to stave off chronic disease is a little bit of exercise every day.

That's sound advice. I hope we can spread that message to more people. 

So while in college don't eat top ramen to be frugal, because of the health effects of trying to save money through poor diet... unless it's a healthy well balanced ramen?

Ramen can be part of a healthy diet but not if it's the majority of meals. 

Not to get wildly OT but... is the author photo here not 100% a "I AM JUDGING YOU" face? No wonder people don't want to take financial advice.

She does look like she's judging us, yes.

It's hard to do financial planning. A lot of people are judgmental. 

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