I have been interested in personal finance for over a decade now. I’ve learned a lot about money, investing, and the psychology behind money.
It has taken me a good while to learn these truths about money and implement them. I still don’t have all these truths about money down to a tie, but I know them good enough to realize they’re important. Here are 11 truths about money that are so important that everyone should know them!
1. Money Takes Time To Grow
Compound returns are the holy grail of personal finance, and (s)he who finds it will reap the benefits of it. It takes time, however, to put this to work.
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It means the best moment to start is yesterday and the second-best moment is today, so set up your investment accounts and start investing.
It may be tempting to wait until you know everything and feel 100% comfortable. If you start before you’re ready, your future self will thank you.
2. Time Is More Important Than Money
The second truth about money I realized is that time is more important than money.
When I was studying and money was barely present in my life, money was more important than time. That’s the reality when you need money now.
I would do anything to earn a little more income. I worked night shifts, sometimes over 40 hours per week, participated in medical experiments, filled out online surveys and more, all while studying full-time.
Now, I don’t do anything anymore to get a little extra money. I appreciate my time, as well.
I enjoy reading books. I enjoy writing. I enjoy spending time with my friends and family. That’s what I spend my time doing instead of working more hours.
In any case, I believe that working smart in this phase of my career is more important than working hard. I got a promotion within nine months of starting my career, and I got a 21% salary raise.
I also realized time is more important than money because I love to travel, which is harder to do the older you get. A way to enjoy your time now is to build in mini-retirements in your current life. You can do whatever you want in a mini-retirement, go traveling or working on a passion project being two of those.
Negotiating a mini-retirement is easier than you think. Don’t wait until retirement. Enjoy life today!
3. Being Rich Is About Earning And Spending
Lots of people have the potential of becoming a millionaire when they are patient and determined to succeed.
If you’re not currently in a place of inheriting a large sum of money or selling your company for a considerable lump sum, I’m right there with you. No worries.
Self-made millionaires are organized and motivated about their financial goals. They are savers, spend money on things they enjoy, and they make estimated guesses. They are all about building their money-making machine.
Becoming financially independent is a marathon, not a sprint.
It’s important not to spend more than you earn, take on minimal debt and get your money habits in check.
4. Small Habits Can Have Big Impacts
One truth about money that I learned is that small habits can have a significant impact.
For example, I had a no-spend month in November 2018, where I decided to cut my food budget in half for the month.
Instead of going to the grocery store every day, I only went once per week. This resulted in me spending 50% less on my groceries. It didn’t feel like a life-changing habit when I was doing it, but when I looked back at the end of the month, I found that I saved loads of money.
Saving can be easy and painless when you try to change your small daily habits where you can and set yourself up for success.
Another great habit that I have taken up over the years is to have a monthly money routine. That way, I know where I am at with my finances every month.
5. Money Buys You Options
Indeed, money can’t buy you happiness. But money can buy you options or experiences that make you happy. When used in the right way, money can provide comfort and stability.
You can spend money on the things that enhance your quality of life. You can also explore your passions without the pressure of having to bring money in to pay for basic life needs.
Spending without thinking about it will be stressful, unfulfilling and leaves you guilty. When you spend mindfully, you don’t have to spend much money to feel rich.
Ultimately, knowing what you value and knowing what you want to spend your money on can be the most comfortable zone to be in. For me, pursuing Financial Independence and Retire Early (FIRE) is what buys me my options.
I live more intentionally because of the blog. I’m more aware of my impact on the world, and I am generally happier.
6. Pay Yourself First
There is a reason why many people recommend to pay yourself first – because it works.
You put your savings and investments away before you are paying any other bills. The money automatically gets transferred into the designated accounts, and you won’t even know you had it.
After you’ve transferred this fixed amount into your other accounts, you can start paying your bills. Whatever is leftover is what you get to spend.
It is what people call a budget. That’s not nearly as difficult as you thought, right? It’s the easiest way to remove the temptation of having too much money in your account and wanting to spend it all.
Soon after you’ve introduced it, you will start to love seeing your numbers grow month by month!
7. Following Your Passion Isn’t For Everyone
Few people on this planet are lucky enough to pursue their passion in their everyday working activities. Even then, they will have bad days where they can’t get out of their bed and want to watch Netflix all day.
I have yet to align my passion and my job.
My true passion is helping people get a hold of their finances, which I am doing now through the blog. During working hours, I am a financial consultant, so making an impact should also be possible.
In my current position, I’m not making a direct impact on the lives of people. It means the alignment between my day job and my passion is not there yet, but I’m sure that someday it will come.
One thing to be wary of is not to go and work in a job you hate to live for the weekends. Try and strive to be among the lucky few, and find a way to get your passions involved in your day job.
It doesn’t have to be today, this month or even this year. Take small steps every day that will get you closer to your dream job.
Options to make the job bearable could be:
- Working shorter hours
- Having a short commute, thus moving closer to work
- Enjoying your work environment
- Getting to work from home
- Getting the opportunity to develop yourself through training or new skills
There are always options!
8. Think About Costs Per Use
I’ve bought quantity over quality for the longest time, and it has not done much for me. That’s why I’ve been selling and donating the things that I don’t like, don’t need or don’t bring me joy.
When you doubt whether or not you should buy that blouse that you will wear to a wedding, think about the cost per use. If you’re not going to wear it on any other occasion, it’s probably a waste of your money.
When I’m buying something new now, I’m assessing quality over quantity. When you buy expensive upfront, but you will be able to use it longer, it can save you money in the long term.
Think about the amount of money you’ve spent in the past on low-quality things in categories like clothes, appliances or furniture. It’s no fun having to replace everything or seeing something break within the shortest amount of time.
Choosing quality over quantity doesn’t mean that you have to have the newest, fanciest, most expensive version of everything. Quality is not the same as popularity.
I’m trying to say: Think about your more significant purchases and spend your money wisely.
9. Investing Is Not Complicated
For me, that is one of the most crucial money truths that I’ve learned over the past years. Investing is not complicated! People want to start investing and immediately dive into individual companies. They get overwhelmed and don’t know where to look, don’t know how to diversify and opt-out again.
Luckily there is a straightforward solution for that: invest in low-cost index funds. Low-cost index funds hold thousands of stocks into one fund. You can choose between different funds to determine what you want your fund to focus on.
No need to manually diversify. Everything is taken care of.
The only thing you have to do is to create an account and start buying stocks! Wow, that was easy!
10. Giving Gives Joy
Generous people are healthier, happier, less stressed and have deeper relationships with others, as was found by this study. In another study, people were given $5 every day. They were asked to spend this $5 on themselves or $5 on others. Those who spent money on others were measurable happier.
What can we take from that? Giving to others gives you joy.
It is what I’ve also found to be true in my life.
When I was a kid, I was a ranger for the WWF. In high school, I helped my mom organize events for the elderly, and throughout my study, I’ve given my time to the student board of the Red Cross in my city.
It doesn’t mean that you have to donate money. You do you. If you can give money, give money. If you can give time, give time. Find an organization that’s close to your heart, give from your own initiative and reap the benefits.
When you find an approach you like, you will do more, give more and gain meaning and happiness.
11. Keep It Simple
One final thing that you should keep in mind: Keep it simple. This is truly the way to keep up with what you want to do, not feel overwhelmed and make things easy for yourself.
Please keep it simple with your finances, keep it simple in your house, keep it simple in your life. Get rid of all of the clutter that is not serving you. It’s taking up physical and mental space.
You can start to declutter every area of your life. Do you want to get rid of stuff in your house? Would you like to have less clutter on your computer? Do you want to switch to one broker instead of having five?
Think about areas in your life you could simplify for yourself, areas that are taking up a loss of your energy, and essential areas for you. These are the areas where you can get the most benefit out of it.
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