It seems for any piece of financial advice out there, an opposite opinion is easily found on the Internet. It may be attempts to differentiate or because it applies to a unique situation. Always consider whether something makes sense for you using good old common sense. With that said, here are a few constants that have been with us for many years and are still valid:
1. Own your home - You buy a home and over a long term, it appreciates. Yes, even in spite of the 2008 crash, home values appreciate over time and your mortgage payment stays the same. If renting, your rent will go up over time...a lot. You just have to stay put if possible and not put too much money into the home.
2. Pay your bills on time - Not only does it keep your credit score up there to be used in an emergency, it also helps stay on budget. If you're constantly struggling to keep the bills paid, things could be off track budget wise.
3. Pay off unsecured debt as fast as possible - This includes anything purchased on credit that isn't appreciating in value. When you use debt to buy something that doesn't increase in value over time (credit cards purchasing consumables, car payments, etc.) it is a race against time. The higher interest is a dead expense that can snowball into a cash flow trap.
4. Chase the 10% Savings Rule - Save 10% of what you earn. The easiest way is through your 401k.
5. Don't throw money away - If your employer matches 401k contributions, at least contribute enough to get the match. If you don't, free money is disappearing right before your eyes.
6. Have a rainy day fund - Before you start hammering down on debt, build a rainy day fund. It should sit in a savings account and won't earn much but it will be there if you lose your job or the heat pump goes out. Much better than using credit since it could take some time to get back on your feet and you don't want to start a new life/career two steps back.