Everyone has a difficult time managing their personal finances. No one is ever alone on that front. The most important lesson about being a in financial services industry is learning the key word in personal finance is personal.
Everyone has different resources, goals, material desires, and ethical codes by which they manage their finances. It makes sense then, why most American's don't talk about personal fiances or how much we make at work with people outside our inner circle.
The almost certain inequity of any such conversation creates opportunity for judgements that have no place in polite company. That is to say, the role money plays in our lives is a very tangible representation of our future goods and services, and of our ability to maintain adequate physical security. Therefore, money has the power to make us both very happy or incredibly worried and upset.
There can be a high level of "sophistication" when dealing with financial instruments and the vocabulary has been developed to enhance the sound of that high level. Don't ever let it scare you off.
An accounting professor once told me, “I think it was only named it Amortization because it sounds more complicated. It’s the same exact math problem as Depreciation, but to the client it sounds like you’re doing something a little extra special because there's a "z" in it.”
The point of his joke was - you don't need to be scared or know any fancy math for the test. You just need the simple math you already know.
Robert Kiyosaki wrote in Rich Dad Poor Dad that broke is temporary. Poor is eternal.
He meant you can be broke, but at least you can fix broke with hard work and a good math problem. Poor is a state of mind and the belief you have no ability to change the circumstances.
It's like the financial broadcaster Dave Ramsey says, "I'm just selling common sense to people."
Despite Davey Ramsey and Robert Kiyosaki's polar-opposite opinions regarding debt, these huge names in personal finance share one thing in common: They both came up from broke once.
You already know the simple budget math, too. It goes like this, passed down from my grandfather to my father, and then passed onto me:
“If you make $20.00 a week, and spend $19.99, you’ll be just fine your whole life. If you make $20.00 a week, and spend $20.01,you’ll be in trouble your whole life.”
Even though it's common sense like Dave Ramsey says, I still meet people completely turned off by the idea of putting self-inflicted austerity measures in place for the sake of their personal finances. However, having this hedonistic mentality is stopping at every rest stop on road to financial security.
If you keep pausing your progress along the way, you’ll lose the power of momentum or more specifically, compound interest. And frankly that’s a terrible idea. As you know, the world’s most famous scientist once said, “Compound interest is the world’s most powerful force.”
You'll never enjoy the power of compound interest until you have some money left over to invest.
Only small percentage of the books, podcasts, and other media prepared for the financial self-improvement genre ever focus on get-rich-quick schemes. To the contrary, the best and most tired and true financial advice, starts by managing your personal finances as mere common sense.
Note from the Author:
I almost didn’t start writing this blog even though it's been passionately burning in the back of my mind now for over a year. I honestly thought that there was already too much content being distributed in the market for it to be worth the effort.
I realized I was wrong when I read Ben Franklin’s “The way to wealth” recently. It is an essay he wrote 1758, that contains a short collection of the wisdom he had squeezed into the small spaces left over in Poor Richard’s Almanac.
He describes how he felt after having heard the advice being repeated in the city square:
“The frequent mention he made of me must have tired anyone else, but my vanity was wonderfully delighted with it, though I was conscious that not a tenth part of the wisdom was my own which he ascribed to me, but rather the gleanings I had made of the sense of all ages and nations.”
I’m happy to repay Ben Franklin with another quote for the boost of confidence his writing gave to me in starting this project. I’ll be happy to someday share his estimate of my own contribution to the road to wealth as a generous tenth as well.