How can one keep on the straight-and-narrow path, financially speaking? What's the best motivator to keep on track?
People have a tendency to fall back into old habits, so that's why it's so difficult to stay on the straight and narrow. If it's really important to you, that's where your money will go. So, make sure that you are really and truly motivated to keep making the right choices for yourself and for your money. Money is like anything else: It's not a question of how you're gonna do it, it's a question of why you're gonna do it.
I worked with a woman, and her life was a true disaster. She was facing bankruptcy and was in debt everywhere and she could see the impact this was all having on her 11-year-old daughter. And she told me, "Larry, I have to fix this because it's upsetting my daughter. I've been a bad role model and I've got to fix this for her." That was her motivator, it was the "why" that kept her on track.
So, pick a motivator, pick a reason as to why you want to change your life for the better.
Any final thoughts or words of advice you'd like to impart to Bankrate's readers?
It's OK to enjoy your money after your bills are paid, your investments are made, a portion of savings is set aside for emergencies, and you're left with some cash that you can then just play with. That should be the goal for people. Once you get there, you can feel free to set aside some money to enjoy. Because money, in the end, is merely a tool that gives you the freedom to go out and enjoy your life.