Common-sense money lessons from 2008

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Saving trumps spending for financial healthIt is easy to think of 2008 as a terrible year for your finances, but there is a silver lining – lessons learned.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Brett Arends suggests that the past year has caused people to realize that they need to take control of their own wealth, rather than relying on so-called experts.

Investors should always understand the systems in which they are investing their funds, he argues, pointing out that even the CEOs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac seemed to not completely comprehend their money-making strategies.

"Simple stocks, like Amazon or Anheuser-Busch, rarely embarrass you in this way," Arends writes.

He also points out that 2008 was another year in which some of the most popular investment sectors fell apart, which underscores the principle of taking charge of your own finances – and having the guts to stray from the pack.

Arends suggests that another lesson from the past year is that saving for the future is a better financial strategy than spending beyond your means in the present – something that may sound obvious but has largely been ignored by many Americans for the past several years.

We probably don’t have long to wait to see if 2008’s lessons have an impact on the coming year.
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