Personal finance isn't just about thinking long-term. It's about letting go of the thoughts in your head that tell you that you need something to boost your happiness. That new jacket, new camera, new piece of technology, etc.....may cause a temporary blip of excitement but won't impact your long-term overall happiness.

s a round of shots for all of your friends necessary? Could you eat out less? It makes me sick to my stomach to think of how much of my student loans were spent on shots and eating out! Yes, I had fun and yes, my loans are paid off, but I could probably have a new car if I had spent a little more wisely in school.

We are all at different stages of our life, career and financial independence. If you are a student, you are likely a little broke and trying to budget your student loans. If you are just out of school, you have a new influx of cash and are navigating how best to spend, save and to pay off debt. If you are established and raking in the dough, you are focused on retirement and wealth maintenance. Whatever stage you are in, there are several principles that are universal.

Save for an experience
I just cleaned out my closet. A lot of clothes went in the trash. Many of the items were only worn a handful of times. I would rather have spent that money on a trip or have it in my bank account for our house.

However, the Spring break vacations I took in college, the concerts that I attended, and the times spent with friends all have been a great investment to my overall well beings do I have memories that will last forever.

Don't live above your means
Enough said - you will have to pay off your debt eventually and you don't want your future decisions to be affected by the bad financial choices you make now.
I was talking to my best friend this weekend. Both of our families are debt free and it is so freeing to be financially independent. We are both contemplating moves and it is nice not to be tied down or to have to stay in a job or location that isn't ideal because we have to.

Let go of keeping up with your peers
There will always be something new on the market - new clothes, new cars, or new technology. At some point, you are going to have to settle and live with the things you have. Stop acquiring so much and focus more of your time on developing and maintaining your relationships.

Keep on saving
I remember my first pharmacy manager telling me that when he graduated (at 26?), he spent $1000/month eating out, over $800 a month pleasing a Porsche, and another significant chunk on his bachelor pad. He used it as a cautionary tale to me because he spoke of it with regret and "I could have so much money right now!" Now ten years later, I'm sure he is fine, but it would be nice to have that extra money in a savings account somewhere or for his house or children.

WellnessJoanna Simmon