Personal finance is one of the most involving things you will ever get yourself into. Whether or not you intentionally think and act on your finances you will still feel the effects of it throughout your life. In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the late Dr Stephen Covey posited that the way you see the problem is the problem. To apply this to personal finance we can say the way you see money is the problem. Many but not all, personal finance quagmires are the result of how you see the money. This is by no fault of your own, we are socialised and indoctrinated into beliefs about money from an early age and whether they are right or wrong they are what we know. Let’s discuss some personal finance tips that will help change the way you view your money.
Your most important values should be in sync with your financial decisions
You could put this statement the other way around it would still hold. Your most important values and your financial decisions should be congruent. Many times I speak to people who are facing personal finance problems this is something I notice very early on. To put in practical terms if you are a person who values coffee then you would surely spend your last $10 buying coffee rather than tea. Look at your financial behaviours and check if they are congruent with your values.
Happiness cannot be bought with money
Yes. I had to include the controversial one. Happiness can’t be bought because happiness is a feeling. Feelings of course are brought about by conditions that money can impact on. However having the money is not enough, it’s doing the right things with it that will make the difference between being happy with money or unhappy with money.
Plan for emergencies
This might seem a little counter-intuitive, after all, how do you plan for the unexpected when you don’t know what’s coming? The reality is we never know what’s coming but when it does come it is invariably those who are better prepared that do well. Emergency funds helped many people hold on to their lifestyles in the face of the financial turmoil covid-19 came with. So if your answer to “what will you do if X event happens” is something along the lines of “it won’t” this one is for you.
Respect your money
I’ve written at length about this and if you haven’t you should take some time out to read that article. Another habit I notice in conversations about personal finance is that people tend to lack respect for their money and therefore let go of it easily. If you respect your money you will not hand it over to just anyone but to the best product, your money can afford. Just because your money is in an unfavourable currency or a small amount does not render it useless. This is one of the most important steps in personal finance.
Learn to see the wood for the trees
To a hammer, every problem is a nail. A saying which is quite popular and contains an important personal finance lesson. When you believe your biggest problem is a lack of money you are likely to believe every problem you have is a money problem. This isn’t always true. Perhaps you are reckless with the little money you have. Perhaps you’re poor at planning. Perhaps you are living above your means. None of these are money problems but rather behaviour problems.
Your most precious asset is your time
This tip speaks to the last one. It’s not about money outright but it does have a huge say in your money situation. Time is the most valuable asset you possess and how you choose to spend 0#or invest it will have a big say in not only the quality of your life but also the choices you will be able to make in the future. Things like financial education, investing and saving favour those who allocate more time to them and sooner.
Pay yourself first
If there’s a personal finance tip I’ve seen being butchered over the years it’s this one. I remember reading a newspaper article that advised people to pay themself first by spending money on their favourite things before paying their bills. Yes, horrific. Paying yourself first is about the money you keep, the word paying deceives but it is investing in yourself. Savings and investments come out of your income before any expenses, that is paying yourself first.
I really could go on and on when it comes to personal finance but we will stop here for now. These lessons are the ones I see that people I have interacted with are most in need of and perhaps readers will relate to one or two.