Kiplinger Offers 8 Keys to Financial Success

Kiplinger Sounds the Right Keynote

In an introduction before a speech at Auburn University’s College of Human Sciences Women’s Philanthropy Board exactly a year ago, the presenter asked the audience to give featured speaker Knight Kiplinger a “warm rock star’s welcome.”

“Rock star, wait until I tell my children,” Kiplinger, the editor in chief of The Kiplinger Washington Editors, said with a smile. “If they heard that phrase put on me as a tag, they would be thinking of geology rather than music. They would be thinking sedimentary rock and metamorphic rock and rocks a million years old.”

In that short, humble opening, Kiplinger established a warm rapport with the audience and immediately had them engaged. The same will be true when Kiplinger speaks to the Monday, June 6, lunchtime crowd at SIPA 2011 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. In addition to generously giving every attendee a free 6-month subscription to the highly valued Kiplinger Letter, Kiplinger will present an update on the U.S. economy and what to look for in the coming months.

At Auburn, Kiplinger focused on his eight keys to financial success. “At Kiplinger we’ve been studying and reporting on the ingredients of financial success, business success for 90 years. In my own four decades as a journalist, I’ve distilled what I’ve learned into a few simple pieces of advice.

“Key number one to financial security: Invest in yourself,” he began. “The most valuable asset that you ever own—can’t be wiped out in a market crash, can’t be confiscated by the government—is your own earning power. Keep your earning power growing through continuous education, training and personal development.” (He then encouraged self-employment, though adding that you’ll never work harder in your life. The SIPA 2011 crowd will not need to be reminded of that.)

“Key number two: Protect yourself and your loved ones. Before you acquire any financial assets, make sure you have enough insurance against life’s big risks,” he said.

“Key number three: Borrow sparingly, use credit only to purchase things of lasting value—a home, an education and maybe a car—and that’s a big maybe…Do you know anyone who ever got into big financial trouble because they didn’t borrow enough money?” Kiplinger asked before pausing and looking up. “I don’t.”

“Key number four: Pay yourself first. If you feel you never have any money left over at the end of the month for investing, donating to charity—after you pay all those bills—try reversing the process.” If there’s not enough money for those bills, he said anticipating the next question, cut down on your discretionary spending.

“Key number five: As an investor don’t swing for the fences. Shy away from speculative investments. Don’t try to time stock markets because I don’t know anyone who does it well,” he said.

“Key number six: Diversify, diversify, diversify.” Enough said.

“Key number seven: Live simply today for a more comfortable tomorrow. Deferred gratification is no fun,”—ask my children, he said—“but it’s the only way I know to fund your long-term goals. Take a close look at your current lifestyle and try to separate the needs and wants. If you see a lot of spending that is dispensable, consider it found money for the rest of your life.

“The final key, number eight: Give generously to create a better world. Your own financial security depends, far more than you may know, on the financial, physical and spiritual health of others in your community, in the nation, in the world. When you share your good fortune by donating your money, talent and time to charity, you help create a stronger economy and a healthier, safer world. So give generously to the charities of your choice.”

I was fortunate enough to see Knight Kiplinger’s insightful breakfast discussion with Jim Sinkinson at SIPA 2010, so I am eagerly awaiting his lunchtime talk this year. (We might as well pencil him in for a dinner talk at SIPA 2012.) He is just one of those magical speakers that you want to focus in on everything he says and quickly get back to the office—or home—and put it into action.

More take-homes from SIPA 2011!—better bring a big bag with you. This is one Conference that you cannot afford to miss. Register today (if you haven’t already)!

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