I’m going to write a series of posts aimed to help people of all ages regain control of their financial lives. I hope to fill a bit of the void left by most public and private education systems regarding financial smarts. I strongly believe that the better off we all are individually, the stronger and healthier we are as a nation.
While these posts will be geared to investors of all ages, I have a bias towards helping younger generations. Many of the ideas that I present here have been learned from my own younger self’s mistakes, and from those of my client’s. But because there’s no better teacher than the “school of hard knocks”, you’ll find that I’m not shy about sharing my own stories here.
Leading a productive life is a bit like running a business, and few are formally prepared to do that. It is sad that millions of students graduate high school, and even college each year without a clear understanding of the basics of running one’s life with a purpose. These graduates are thrown to the wolves and endlessly tempted by new “must haves”, while offered creative ways to buy them. Yet these “wants” won’t enrich many lives, and instead just distract most from leading fulfilling and productive lives.
So, I’ll break things into what I call the Four Habits for Lifelong Happiness. Essentially these are practices that allow for a healthier and lower stressed life. The practices of spending less than what one earns, being your own money boss, saving for a rainy day, and planting dividends for the future might sound cliche, but they support a productive and happy life.
Speaking of breaking things, along the way I’ll help readers break a few bad habits. These are habits we’ve all fallen into for various reasons, but we’ll replace them with better ones. Here’s a few we’ll take on right away together:
- Telling ourselves “I work hard, I deserve this”
- Not talking about money in front of the children
- Buying our kids things because we feel guilty about something
- Comparing ourselves to others
- Not doing “The math” on most things
- Letting our jobs determine our lifestyles
Instead, I’ll share how to work smart now, so we can work doing something we enjoy later. We’ll learn to communicate openly about money with our spouses and children, with much better results. We’ll start doing some very basic math, every time we’re thinking about buying something. We’ll find new purpose for whatever jobs we may be involved with right now, or be better prepared to look for a more rewarding career.
After we’ve gone through this posts, we’ll end up turning off the auto-pilot that runs our income and spending, and well … our lives. We’ll feel empowered and free to take on new opportunities like never before. We’ll be more productive and valuable members of much stronger local communities, and ultimately as more people embrace these practices, our country.