For years, established personal finance experts, such as Suze Orman and David Bach, as well as YouTube stars like Graham Stephan, have said that Americans should skip buying coffee from restaurants if they want to build wealth.
The advice is fairly simple: Don’t spend money on coffee because it’s so much cheaper to make it yourself at home. In fact, Stephan has his spending down to just 20 cents per cup of iced coffee. Instead, take the $3 or $5 you’d spend on a latte every day and invest it or save it for your emergency fund.
But other experts argue that skipping your morning splurge will not make you poor and buying daily coffee is not the reason that more Americans aren’t millionaires.
For financial expert Patrice Washington, the ‘skip the latte’ advice has never worked. “When I started in the personal finance industry and I was becoming more known, I would talk a lot about sitting in Starbucks. People would say to me in the comments, ‘How can you be a personal finance educator giving all your money to Starbucks?'” Washington tells CNBC Make It.
What these commenters didn’t know is that Washington wasn’t just hanging out at Starbucks, she was working from there three to four times a week, she says. She would spend her days there fleshing out and writing her first book (her latest book, “Redefine Wealth for Yourself” is set to be released in January).
“When you look at the trade off in the fact that my first book would help my career take off, it was worth spending some money on a latte,” Washington says.
Washington says you shouldn’t blindly follow every piece of financial advice you hear. Many times, it may be a sound recommendation, but if it doesn’t fit with your lifestyle or your goals, you’re probably not going to stick with it anyway.
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“Whatever advice is not in alignment with whatever vision you have for yourself, it’s OK to reject it,” Washington says. Still, everyone should find a way to manage their finances that works for them, she adds.
“There are so many ways to build wealth. There are so many paths to financial freedom. And your job is to find the one that works for you.”
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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.