Learning about money as an adult

Learning about money as an adult

I was brought up in a family that cherished intellectual thought, art and culture above the pursuit of money. We just didn’t discuss finances, the subject didn’t come up in conversation. Which I now realise resulted in my being utterly unprepared for a world in which, to a large degree, money dictates life experience.

For me the words ‘financial advice’ have historically been associated with an uncomfortable and ill-understood part of life - money. The level of our financial savvy-ness comes down to how we manage our money. Some of us are better at this than others. But we can all improve with small, simple changes.

The reality is that we all have to deal with our income and our expenditure. We have to pay taxes. We have to save for our old age when we can no longer work. And if we may have to provide for our families - while working, if we fall ill, and once we are gone. That is our financial reality, in a nutshell.

One of my favorite Minimalists is Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist. He wrote a great article entitled 7 Pieces of Financial Advice That Forever Changed My Life. Powerful, hopeful title.

What interested me was the clear wisdom and simple financial advice that readers offered in the comments section. I have grouped some of them below in themes. Maybe they will offer you some simple, life-changing financial advice.

A minimalist approach to finances

“One piece of advice that I heard was, there are three ways to have more money, Make more, save more, and want less. Brilliant! I am working on wanting less.”

On Saving habits

“It’s not how much you make, it’s how much you keep that makes all the difference.”

“It’s not your salary that makes you rich it’s your spending habits – Chuck Jaffe, financial expert.”

“Save 10% of every paycheck”

“Pay yourself first… you never miss the money out of your budget because it comes out first.”

On spending habits

“Let wealth accumulation be your motivator, not possession accumulation. Focus on getting off the perpetual earn-and-consume treadmill.”

“Learn to love having money in the bank, it’s a great feeling watching your savings grow.”

“Before each purchase, ask yourself if it’s a need or a want. I usually end up not buying it.”

“I think that being mindful about spending is 90% of it.”

On debt

“If you can’t pay cash, don’t buy it. Save for it.”

“Don’t spend more than you earn. Stay away from debt unless it’s for life threatening emergencies.”

“Never borrow to go on a holiday. Don’t spend 4 weeks enjoying a trip and then the next 4 years paying it off.”

The real value of how we spend our time

“Since most of us have to work for a living, everything we buy, we essentially pay for by hours of our life. So the next time you want to buy something, calculate how many hours you had to spend at work to afford this and, only buy it if it’s still worth it to you.”

If I may, I would add my own pieces of advice - seeing as I have started my financial planning very late in life:

On starting now

“it is never too late to start saving”