Reading. It is the absolute best way to learn something. The knowledge you learn cannot be taken away. You can choose what you want to learn about. You can take it at your own pace. And the best part, no exams!
A formal education that prepares you for what you want to do with your life is great, but when it comes to some financial things it is hard to know what you need to do in order to be successful. Because unfortunately, the Pythagorean theory has yet to help me solve an actual real-life problem.
There are a few things you need to know about when thinking about your financial situation. Most importantly, you have to define financially successful for yourself.
I define it as financial freedom, you probably will have a different definition.
You may define it by living debt-free or the ability to retire early- it really just depends on you. Maybe your idea of success involves a fancy house or a comfortable home. You will be the one who has to live with your financial choices, so make sure you understand what success would mean to you.
However you decide to describe a healthy and happy financial situation, you may come to realize that your current situation is in fact unhealthy.
So how do you change your financial situation?
Acquire knowledge. If you know what you need to do, then you can go ahead and do it.
A new education in personal finance is not out of the realm of possibility. This will not require any college classes, but it will demand some amount of effort from you.
Although you may not be paying tuition, a personal finance education may be the most important education you ever receive.
Now you are probably thinking, “If this knowledge is so important, why don’t they teach it in school?” Good question, one that I have never been able to figure out. Although it would be nice to learn these things at school, it is never too late to learn.
Where to Get Started
Of course, as with almost everything you can utilize the internet.
I recommend you check out some of my own articles.
Some other great resources include books!
My three favorite personal finance books are listed below. I read all of these at the beginning of my personal finance education in an attempt to elucidate the hazy world of finance. These books are an extremely strong base for anyone who is trying to gain control over their own financial situation.
Believe me, I know the feeling of self-doubt when it comes to dealing with money. I kept hearing about how the mistakes you make could impact your financial future forever. There really are too many choices when it comes to dealing with your money, and these books were the start of my confidence in managing my own money well. So I hope these books help clear some things up for you!
This was the first book about finance that I ever read. The author does an amazing job of explaining relatively complex topics to beginners. I found this book really helpful because I started to understand the importance of good financial habits. I also saw new ways to improve my financial situation that I had never even thought of before, definitely worth checking out.
I really enjoyed the first Rich Dad Poor Dad book, so I bought this book to help clarify the subject of investing. Investing can be scary if you are not sure what you are doing, but investing can be a great way to safeguard your hard-earned dollars from the threat of inflation. I would not recommend investing without out some basic knowledge of how it works, it is also not a bad idea to talk to a financial advisor in person.
This book helped me to realize that my goal did not need to involve buying a castle (or two if you are Nicholas Cage). Spending lavishly may feel great in the moment, but it can cause havoc later down the line. The idea of living well within your means was an idea strongly engrained in the book and it is one I live by now.
The author helped me to understand that everyone has different financial goals and living lavishly to prove your wealth to others was an unnecessary and potentially dangerous path.
For me, saving money is more important than spending money on an object that I really don’t need. For example, I would rather spend my time doing free things that I enjoy and saving my money for the things that actually matter to me (like traveling!)
Of course, we all splurge now and then. However, it is important to identify what matters the most to you and spend your “splurge” money on that. For example, I love to travel so I scrimp and save as much as possible in order to spend my money on traveling whenever I get the chance.
Putting it into practice
When you have a more solid understanding of basic financial things, managing your money is suddenly much less scary.
Unfortunately, money can really have a hugely negative effect on your life if you are unable to manage it well. So the sooner you learn how to effectively manage your money, the better off you will be in the long term.
I hope these book help you build the knowledge that will help you to navigate one of the trickiest parts of adulting: money!