Financial Planning Experts Reveal the Best $100 They Ever Spent

Financial planners can help you manage your money, pay off debt and invest for your future. But they also have personal experience in handling their own finances, and they have seen the good, the bad and the ugly of people’s personal finances.

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With years of experience handling money and investments for others, we wanted to know what financial planners think were their best investments ever. But not big stuff, like buying a house or buying $10,000 in Amazon stock in the 1990s.

We asked them to give us the inside details of their favorite purchases for under $100 and how they view the return on investment for those purchases.

Here’s what financial planning experts say their best purchases were over their entire lifetimes. Also see how to shop like a financial expert.

Books

Sean Polley, CEO and private wealth manager at Polley Wealth Management, thinks books are the best investment money can buy. “The best thing I’ve spent less than $100 on is books to educate myself,” Polley said. “We don’t know what we don’t know and, after 27-plus years in wealth management, I am still learning. So, spend the money to invest in yourself by purchasing books and becoming a lifelong learner.”

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Chris Kimmet, founder of Steady Climb Financial Planning, is also a big fan of reading. “The best thing I have spent less than $100 on is a library card and kindle e-book reader,” Kimmet said. “I’ve always loved getting books from my local library, but I am able to read even more now because of the convenience of borrowing e-books and libraries have greatly increased the number of e-books and audiobooks they offer.”

Paul Monax, CFP and owner of Agile Wealth LLC, recently picked up a book that has been one of the best he has read in his career as a financial planner. “The best money I’ve ever spent for under $100 has to be a book. As for the best one, that is quite the challenging question, for sure, as I have so many that qualify as having a great return on investment and worth the money I spent. I’d have to say that my best one is Morgan Housel’s ‘The Psychology of Money.'”

Reading educational books is an investment in your future. Finding well-researched books on investing, salary negotiating or building a business can have a major impact on your finances.

But make sure you don’t just read the book. You don’t get any results unless you do what it says.

Insurance

Life happens. And insurance is there to protect you from major expenses during life’s mishaps. Whether it’s car insurance, health insurance or a homeowner’s policy, paying for the right coverage can literally save you tens of thousands of dollars.

Nathan Mueller, MBA and financial planner at Blackbird Finance, has gotten quite a few miles out of his AAA membership. “The best $100 I’ve spent annually on is an AAA membership,” Mueller said. “Cars come with all kinds of problems that periodically arise, drivers forget to fill up on gas, you lock yourself out, get a flat tire or get stuck in the snow. These are all things that can happen to new cars and old cars. Having an AAA membership has saved me numerous times from costs that would have been significantly higher.” 

In addition to avoiding the headaches of car trouble, Mueller sees the AAA membership as an investment. He’s more comfortable driving used cars because he knows if there’s an issue, AAA will help him sort it out without much fuss. This allows him to avoid new car costs, ultimately being able to save more money in the long run.

“In my opinion, this is extremely valuable and is one of the best $100 I spend each year,” Mueller said. “It pays for itself and more. I’m a firm believer in hanging on to cars and not cycling through them, so this membership is even more valuable for older cars.”

Convenience

Automation has made life a whole lot simpler. With almost any task or problem that needs solving, there’s an app for that or an automated solution.

Angela Dorsey, CFP and founder of Dorsey Wealth Management, is a huge fan of scheduling software. “The best $100 I ever spent was purchasing an online appointment scheduling software,” Dorsey said. “This saves me so much time from going back and forth to schedule appointments with clients. If I hired someone to do this task, I would have to pay a full-time person to do this. I like this purchase because it saves me time and money. I pay $10 a month, so slightly more than $100 a year.”

Dorsey recognizes that the most valuable currency we have is time. By finding the right software to handle her business, she gains back more of her precious time, while avoiding the cost of hiring an assistant for scheduling purposes at the same time.

Freeman Linde, CFP and founder of Lacrosse Financial Planning, values automation in another way. “I bought an automatic pet feeder a few years ago for around $50,” Linde said. “I went from having my cats yowl four times a day while I manually fed them, to the whole thing happening automatically like clockwork. It has saved me so much time, I will promptly buy another one if it ever breaks. If anyone manually feeds their pets dry food, invest in an automatic feeder. It’s worth every penny.”

Again, buying back your time is one of the best investments you can make. And that can take many forms, from apps to automatic feeders, to a lawn sprinkler timer. Whatever gives you more hours of your life back is a sure bet.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Financial Planning Experts Reveal the Best $100 They Ever Spent

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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