Through ages, humans have acquired much knowledge and wisdom. Sometimes this wisdom can be condensed into simple sayings that capture the entirety of the idea making it easier to communicate with just a single sentence or reference. You will see a lot of this in your finance journey as you go about the task of seeking more information on financial literacy. Let’s look at some personal finance sayings that do so well to capture wisdom that you should live by them. We will also break them down a little to help make sense of them.
The way you handle anything is the way you handle everything
This is not strictly personal finance saying but it applies so much to all aspects of life that I couldn’t leave it out. The idea is that human beings are creatures of habit and on the balance of probabilities you will handle big things the same way you have handled small things. This is not for a lack of desire but rather your capacity as built through your habits overriding the best intentions. So if you’re wasteful with $10 you’re more likely than not to be wasteful with $1000. There is no being serious when the stakes are high or the amounts are big, just you and the habits you built when the stakes were small.
Stop throwing good money after bad
We all make mistakes, it’s life. In many cases when we initially make a mistake it’s because of a lack of knowledge about something. However, as people we sometimes find ourselves trying to fix our mistakes or justify them. Nothing wrong with trying to fix our mistakes as long as we are fixing them. More often than not people are spending additional money to cover up their mistakes and this is throwing good money after bad. Good money because at this point you should know better. This behaviour is often justified with the saying “in for a penny, in for a pound” which suggests that since you’re already within something you may as well dig deeper.
Spend your money where you want to spend your time
This one has been quite the revelation in my life. Expenditure directs activity in ways we sometimes do not realise. My favourite example of this is the person who intends to eat healthily but does not make purchases that are consistent with healthy eating. They instead buy and accumulate food that is not healthy and then curse themself for being unable to eat healthily. The problem here is that expenditure was not consistent with the desired activity. Do you want to read more? Spend your money on books AND avoid spending on things that distract you from books.
Success loves preparation
Another one I’ve stolen from general life sayings because of how well it expresses a pearl of personal finance wisdom worth living by. In life, we get what we prepare for, not what we want, as another saying goes and that is the essence of this point. Your chances of succeeding at anything are directly related to the degree to which you are prepared for the thing. It makes sense. The more comfortable you are with something the less likely you are to make mistakes when you are required to make decisions or take action. When it comes to managing your money your ability to make the right choices is determined by how well you understand the meaning and consequences of each decision you make.
Just because you can pay for something doesn’t mean you can afford it
I bring this one up because it is a widely misunderstood nugget of personal finance wisdom. Many people conflate being able to pay for something with being able to afford it. However, this is not always the case. Affordability ties in a lot more factors. For example, being able to pay for something through a credit agreement doesn’t mean that you can afford the payments in the long term. You may be able to make the payments but it may be at the expense of other things. This is a natural part of life. The problem is when the other things that are overlooked are essential things.
Perhaps there are some personal finance-related sayings that you have come across that contain a lot of wisdom. I’d love to see them in the comments so please do share.