We asked 16 regular people on the streets of NYC about the best and worst financial advice they have ever received, and most were told the same thing

Myelle Lansat/Business Insider28-year-old Alia Shalaby said the best financial advice she received is to seize the moment and plan for the future without overthinking it.
  • We asked people in New York City about the best and worst financial advice they have ever received.
  • Some people said the best advice was to save and prepare for the future, while others said the worst advice was to accept a job just for the money.
  • Parents don’t always set a good financial example, and some people had to learn finances the hard way.

Whether you read it, hear it, or see it, goodandbad financial advice surrounds us.

After asking people in the streets of New York City the best and worst money advice they have ever received, we found that a majority of people were told similar things.

For the most part, bad financial advice included taking a job just for the money or waiting to save until later in life. Many said the best money advice they received is the exact opposite: save, budget, and plan for the future.

For advice that can’t be read online but is more often passed down from parents, the answers were also similar. Many people said their parents taught them to save and plan for what lies ahead. Some people did not receive great advice from their parents and taught themselves how to be financially successful – or are still learning.

With escalating trade tensions, high cost of living in major cities, and spiked interest rates that could lead to a possible recession, being equipped with good financial advice is as crucial as ever.

We asked 16 people on the streets on NYC about financial advice they have received in life and what their parents taught them about money. Here’s what they had to say:


Angel Tenesaca, 52

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderAngel lives in Jackson Heights, Queens and is a restaurant owner.

What’s the worst / best financial advice you’ve received?

I would say that you have to save it. You have to organise your finances, for your kids’ education and for your retirement. I think that’s best.

What did your parents teach you about money?

They didn’t give me any advice because economically they were not well, so this is what I learned from scratch.


Alia Shalaby, 28

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderAlia lives in New York City and is currently unemployed.

What’s the worst / best financial advice you’ve received?

That’s a hard question. It’s always when you make more money, like when you go for a job that offers you more money and you’d be happier, that’s the worst.

The best – try to seize the moment and buy what you really want in the moment, I mean, yes you plan for the future, but don’t overthink it.

What did your parents teach you about money?

They probably encouraged me to save money but I never did, yeah I’ve never been able to do it.


Dakota Lillie, 26

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderDakota lives in New York City and works at Bloomberg.

What’s the worst / best financial advice you’ve received?

Best: maximise your 401(k) early on, save for retirement.

What did your parents teach you about money?

To budget and plan accordingly for your needs.


Linda Paul, 54

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderLinda lives in Canada and owns a lingerie retail store that’s been in her family for 39 years.

What’s the worst / best financial advice you’ve received?

The worst is easy: To buy a racehorse. Princess Time was the name of the horse, I know nothing about horse racing and yeah [my business partner and I] went in it together about 30 years ago and lost our arse, so not good.

What did your parents teach you about money?

Definitely work hard, have great work ethic, and always put something away for yourself at the end of the day.


Mimi Lin, 30

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderMimi lives in Brooklyn and works at Apple.

What’s the worst / best financial advice you’ve received?

The best financial advice I’ve ever gotten would be probably to start saving at a really young age.

The worst would be to live life to the fullest and just go on your vacations now and spend your money now, because when you get older you’re not going to be able to do the same things as you’ll be able to do now.

What did your parents teach you about money?

My parents have always told me that you should start saving at a really young age. My aunt starting saving at a really young age and then when she was actually 25 she was able to furnish her entire apartment all by herself without any help from her parents whatsoever and my mum has always said, “Look at your aunt, look what she can do because she learned how to save.”


Job Cooper, 35

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderJob lives in Williamsburg and makes his own music.

What’s the worst / best financial advice you’ve received?

The best financial advice I have ever received is to chase the dream, not the money. Because if you chase the money it could lead to immoral and corrupt motivation and if you chase the dream its your passion, it’s something you love so it will be a lot easier to attain success.

What did your parents teach you about money?

My mum taught me about priorities in terms of money. When she was younger and I was younger I basically did not understand when she had a job like, “What do you mean you’re broke?” As an adult I totally get it – that you have a job and all of your money is accounted for so to make extra money you need to have your money diversified in portfolios and different investments, so that’s probably the biggest lesson my parents taught me about money.


Ashley Delpizzo, 29

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderAshley lives in Ridgewood and works at Trader Joe’s.

What’s the worst / best financial advice you’ve received?

Try to budget, I don’t know, that’s like terrible advice because I don’t really know how to budget.

I can’t say advice that someone gave me but there are people in my life who are good at finances that I am trying to learn from. It’s not really advice it’s more guidance than advice. I think just watching my brother-in-law and my sister, they’re pretty good at saving. My current boyfriend is good at saving so he’s teaching me a lot.

What did your parents teach you about money?

They really unfortunately didn’t teach me a lot. They weren’t great at finances so I had to learn from other people … and I’m still learning.


Uroosa Malik, 22

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderUroosa lives in Queens and is interning at at New York Construction Alliance.

What’s the worst / best financial advice you’ve received?

[Worst] Just don’t bother saving and just spend money like no tomorrow.

I mean, I always think it’s better to save.

What did your parents teach you about money?

Always save; make sure you have enough money in your bank account for emergencies.


Dunsten Cormack, over 50

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderDunsten lives in New York City and is an actor.

What’s the worst / best financial advice you’ve received?

Just put it in the bank and forget about it, that was the worst. Because they changed the laws so many times that you can’t even get the money you have in there you’re forgetting.

What did your parents teach you about money?

Save, watch your pennies.


Naomi Zingman-Daniels, 24

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderNaomi is moving from Boston to Toronto and is a graduate student studying transnational medicine.

What’s the worst / best financial advice you’ve received?

Best would be to think long-term in terms of budgeting, where it’s not just this month but think about what I might need over the next little bit. And worst would probably be to “just go for it” every time, when I was like 18 and didn’t have the money for that.

What did your parents teach you about money?

Separating what was needed versus what I just wanted, because especially when you’re a teenager you don’t really have any concept of needs and prioritising and bills and learning, not only budget but like, “All right what is actually needed there?”


Ivette Sanchez, 50

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderIvette lives in New Jersey and works as a patient service representative for Mount Sinai Hospital.

What’s the worst / best financial advice you’ve received?

The worst one was when I got my timeshare thing, that was the worst. Because you want to use it but you can’t on the days that you want, so it’s like a waste of time. Seriously. I regret doing that.

What did your parents teach you about money?

To save. Save. Save. Save. Save. Save for a rainy day, and that’s all I do, is save.


Ebonie Lewis, 21

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderEbonie lives in the Bronx and is a dog trainer.

What’s the worst / best financial advice you’ve received?

I’ve always been told you save a portion of what you get no matter what and I’ve kind of been living by that and that’s been the best advice when it comes to money that I’ve gotten, school and otherwise.

What did your parents teach you about money?

My dad, he’s more when you get it you spend it. But my mum always taught me you save what you get, you work toward what you want, you don’t get everything all at one time so you won’t be broke, you know you gotta save your money up and all that. And you always have to have a side hustle, one job is never enough. It’s never enough.


Garth Ayre, 19

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderGarth lives in New York City and is a model.

What’s the worst / best financial advice you’ve received?

I guess just to stick to what you like and what you want to do and make the most connections you can make and just keep networking and build your way up. That was the best.

The worst is, basically, pick a job for the money.

What did your parents teach you about money?

To be wise about it and don’t go spending it all in one place. And to treat yourself as well, because if you don’t treat yourself you’re going to think, why am I doing this in the first place? So just be wise, I guess.


Jelan Coley, 26

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderJelan lives in New Jersey and works at PhotoShelter.

What’s the worst / best financial advice you’ve received?

I guess the best would be to pay off your credit cards when they’re due and have I think like a low percentage like less than 16% or 12% of debt on the card.

What did your parents teach you about money?

To start a 401(k). If your company has it just do it.


Iain Stevens, 19

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderIain lives in New York City and is a student at New York University.

What’s the worst / best financial advice you’ve received?

Don’t listen to Algerian princes when they email you I guess, that’s probably one of the best. Budget and time is money. If you’re not doing something productive with your time then it’s not worth doing.

What did your parents teach you about money?

Pretty much the same thing. Not to spend frivolously, to be cognitive of your future, put money away for saving, not spend so much on material things but make sure that you and your family are set up before you go spending on entertainment.


Ekenam Ofili, 26

Myelle Lansat/Business InsiderEkenam lives in Hamilton Heights and works part time at as a bike instructor for Bike New York.

What’s the worst / best financial advice you’ve received?

You only live once, spend all your money while you can – that’s the worst. The best would probably be save, save as much as you can.

What did your parents teach you about money?

They gave me a lot of advice. They just help me with budgeting, saving tips, not spending lavishly.

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