Money

The best money advice we heard in 2019, from Mark Cuban, Warren Buffett and other experts

Mark Cuban
Tyler Golden | ABC | Getty Images

There's a lot of money advice out there to sort through. To make your life easier, CNBC Make It rounded up some of the smartest things personal finances experts and self-made millionaires and billionaires had to say about earning more and growing your wealth this year.

Here are five helpful pieces of advice that Mark Cuban, Warren Buffett and other successful people dished out in 2019.

Ignore the noise

In September 2019, one Twitter user asked Mark Cuban for advice on surviving a potential upcoming recession. The billionaire offered seven pieces of advice to prepare for an economic downturn, including: "Don't listen to any 'experts' about whether or not a recession is coming."

"We live in a global economy, whether we like it or not," Cuban tweeted. "The butterfly effect applies. We don't know what combination of big and/or little things will make things better or worse till they happen."

As George Washington University economist Tara Sinclair told The New York Times in July: "Historically, the best that forecasters have been able to do consistently is recognize that we're in a recession once we're in one. The dream of an early warning system is still a dream that we're working on."

Focus on what you can control, encouraged Cuban, like keeping your spending down, saving as much as you can and being valuable at work.

You have to ask for what you want

Salary negotiation isn't the easiest conversation to have, but not asking for more could mean leaving a lot of money on the table.

"In terms of negotiating your salary, the right time is yesterday," Sallie Krawcheck, co-founder and CEO of digital investment platform Ellevest, told CNBC Make It earlier this year. "And if you didn't do it yesterday, the right time is today."

In terms of negotiating your salary, the right time is yesterday.
Sallie Krawcheck
co-founder and CEO of Ellevest

You never want to assume that your hard work will be noticed, she added: "Don't think, 'Oh, if I do a good job, Santa will bring me a present, and it will be a raise.'" Rather, "find those metrics that are relevant to your job that will help the company be better."

Invest in yourself

According to investing legend Warren Buffett, the very best investment you can make isn't directly related to money.

"By far the best investment you can make is in yourself," he told Yahoo Finance editor-in-chief Andy Serwer in April. The best way to start is by improving your communication skills, he added: "If you can't communicate to somebody, it's like winking at a girl in the dark. Nothing happens. You have to be able to get forth your ideas."

Honing this skill could even increase your worth by 50%, Buffett has suggested.

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The "Savers-Investors" path is the easiest pathway to millionaire status

According to financial planner Tom Corley, there are four main paths to becoming a millionaire — and the "Savers-Investors" path is the easiest one.

Corley came to this conclusion after spending years interviewing and researching the daily activities, habits and traits of 233 wealthy individuals.

The "Savers-Investors" group typically had a middle-class income, a low cost of living and saved 20% or more of their income. Importantly, "they started investing their savings early in life and continued to do so prudently for many years," Corley said, adding: "No matter what their day job was, this group made saving and investing part of their routine; they were constantly thinking about smart ways to grow their wealth."

Saving and investing, "if you start early, it almost always guarantees a lot of money," wrote Corley. "The Saver-Investors in my group reached their first $1 million around their mid-to-late 30s, and accumulated an average net worth of $3.3 million by their mid-50s."

Start today

If you want to build wealth, stop making excuses and jump in, personal finance coach Ramit Sethi told CNBC Make It in June.

"The single most important factor to getting rich is getting started, not being the smartest person in the room," he wrote in the updated version of his book, "I Will Teach You to be Rich."

The single most important factor to getting rich is getting started, not being the smartest person in the room.
Ramit Sethi
personal finance coach

Focus on what you can control, starting with your thoughts and beliefs, he told Make It: "If you describe yourself as 'bad with money,' guess what — you're probably going to be bad with money." Instead of saying "I'm bad with money," try: "I haven't yet learned the skills of managing my money, but I'm going to," he suggested.

After you change the way you talk and think about money, you can set specific goals and create an action plan to actually change your behavior with money. "It's not too late," said Sethi. "Take control, you can do it."

Don't miss: Bill Gates sent an 81-pound package to his Reddit Secret Santa—here's what was inside

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