When one of your favorite personal finance writers, Jonathan Clements, tweets you take notice.

This sentiment is similar in nature to what my other favorite finance writer, Jason Zweig has written on the topic:

“My job is to write the exact same thing between 50 and 100 times a year in such a way that neither my editors nor my readers will ever think I am repeating myself.”

Apparently Jonathan and Jason have had an ongoing disagreement on the number of unique personal finance stories there are there. But the range seems to be somewhere between 10-20.

So in the immortal words of Barney Stinson: “Challenge accepted!” Here is my quick take on the number of unique personal finance stories that can be written. I gave myself a time limit and prevented myself from looking at any other sources. In no particular order:

  • Spend less than you earn.
  • Take free money when offered: company, government, etc.
  • Know what you own, i.e. avoid complex investments.
  • Your benchmark isn’t the S&P 500, it’s the ability to fund your goals.
  • The less you spend on investment fees the more you keep.
  • Insure against potentially devastating risks.
  • Avoid lifestyle creep and keeping up with the Joneses.
  • Invest in yourself (career, education, hobbies).
  • Borrow prudently, pay off quickly.
  • Avoid credit card debt at all costs.
  • Personal finance IS personal. What works for you may not work for someone else.
  • Money carries emotional baggage for everyone. Awareness is a good first step.

Surprise! I came up with a dozen. I suppose with some additional time and effort, and the use of Google, I could come up with a few more. How many can you come up with?

Update: here are some worthy additions…

  • After tax real returns are what matters. (@econompic)
  • Time is on your side. Let the magic of compounding work for you. (@justinisreal)
  • Here a list of Jonathan Clements’ list of 20 money stories.  (@clementsmoney)
  • Do not mistake luck for skill. (@investordna)

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