Many people lament their lack of financial education during their younger years. Most schools do not teach kids how to manage money and build wealth. Schools were created to teach citizenship. If anything, our schools teach generations of youngsters how to be good workers. Good workers make good employees. Good employees develop great skills and get good jobs. Thirty years later, they retire with either a pension or retirement account, maybe a paid off home mortgage and a few grand kids.
Society and marketers teach us to live by the month. Most expenses are monthly bills: rent or mortgage, car payments, and household utilities. Pay checks come once or twice each month. We look at our monthly take-home and build a lifestyle that fits within those means. Spending no more than you earn is billed as the benchmark of good financial health.
Most of us didn’t get a good financial education at home either. Our parents didn’t know much about money and our relatives didn’t spend much time talking about money either, unless it was to bemoan how little they had.
In the Internet era, getting a financial education is free and accessible. It isn’t as thrilling as gaming, but the future reward of learning how to maximize your savings, invest wisely and learn how to minimize your tax liability are exceptional uses of your time. Instead of binge-watching yet another Netflix series this weekend, why not devote a few hours to reading Mr. Money Mustache to learn how people are saving and investing so they can retire early? Maybe you don’t want to be as extreme as MMM, but you can still learn several good habits that will make a big difference in your life.
You can also check out tons of great financial books at your public library at not cost. Don’t take all the advice of just one person. Read as much as possible, then make your own decisions. Good financial decisions doesn’t mean opening up a stock account and buying and selling what’s hot. That’s gambling. Get a solid understanding of the investment instruments available, talk with with your tax professional and read up on everything offered by your employer.
We can sit around and complain that we weren’t taught these concepts as kids, but right now there’s no excuse for not taking control of our learning.
p.s. Check out the new NDQ Guide: 500 Tips the guide that will give you actionable steps to jump start your savings and investing immediately.
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