The first money lesson that I wish I knew earlier is to understand inflation.
So inflation is the decreasing value or purchasing power of any given currency over time. What that means is, in general, the price of everything is going up and the value of your cent or whatever currency you have is going down over time. Knowing that your cash is devaluing over time is really important because it means that you can’t just let your money sit in the bank. I wish I knew earlier that if you left your money sitting in the bank, you’re losing money because the value is going down.
So you’re supposed to do things to grow your money at the same rates or higher rates ideally then inflation so that the value is keeping up with inflation. So once you’ve saved up a good amount of money in your bank know that the money that sits in the bank is devaluing over time. So if you have any extra, you can use that money to invest and grow it in other ways. A good rule of thumb for knowing how much cash you should keep in the bank at a time is to calculate your average monthly expenses.
Then depending on your level of risk tolerance, whether you are a risky person or you like to be very safe, you can have between three to six months’ worth of expenses in your bank. If you’re super safe, maybe a years’ worth of expenses in your bank before you have like extra money to invest.
2. Good Debt Vs Bad Debt
Know the difference between good debt and bad debt. So I think a lot of us are taught that debt is bad. “Don’t owe people money” because we’ve seen so many of these horror stories where people are in debt and it just spirals into more and more debt, and they’re never able to pay it off. But there is a difference between good debt and bad debt. So good debt is when you borrow money for the purpose of increasing your net worth or having some future value. For example, taking out a home mortgage or a student loan.
It’s about using leverage to your advantage, which is a really smart thing to do in the finance world. Even though a business might have enough money to pay for something it’s much financially smarter to borrow that money from a bank and then have extra cash to do something else.
So people do this all the time. It’s called leverage. I also didn’t realize that it actually helps boost your credit score. If you have some sort of healthy debt and you’re making, you know, full payments toward that every month, the reason is when you have debt, like say a student loan and you pay for it in full, it proves to those credit people that you are trustworthy and that you’re paying something.
If you don’t have any debt or any loans your credit score isn’t as high because you don’t, you’re not showing them that you’re borrowing and paying something back. Bad debt on the other hand is when you borrow money to purchase something that doesn’t hold its value, like the value just depreciates either immediately or over time, for example, purchasing everyday necessities like food clothes, everyday things.
Usually once we purchase them, we can’t resell them for the same price or even higher price like it’s used. It’s done. And this translates to what a lot of people do with credit card debt. Credit card debt is the worst kind of debts. I want you guys to know that too, because with credit cards, it’s so easy to just pay the minimum and then have a balance on your credit card. But what they’re doing is they’re making money on the interest that they’re charging you every month. And the interest for credit cards is super high.
So essentially with credit card debt, you’re paying these banks extra money on top of the money you already owe them. And if you don’t pay that full amount, the next month, it just grows and grows and grows to the point where you were owing them more money in interest than what you originally owed them from your beginning balance. So this is just a reminder to pay your credit card balances in full each month so that you don’t owe the banks anything. To be honest, the banks want you to just pay the minimum. They make it so easy to pay just the minimum because they want you to owe them more and more money. That’s how they make more money. But if you want to be smart, pay everything in full every month.
3. Invest Early
This is something that I wish I knew in high school. I wish I started investing my money, even if it’s like a little bit in high school, because I could understand compound interest. I could understand how investing helps you grow your money. Because once I learned about that, I was like, wow, this is magical. Like I wish I knew this earlier.
So learn what compound interest means, understand how the stock market works. Don’t be intimidated by the stock market. Don’t be intimidated by just all the investment options out there. No matter what age you are. I don’t think it’s too early to learn. It’s not too early to learn about stocks, bonds, investment accounts, investing in real estate. Like whatever you’re curious about, just learn about it.
You have Google because it will help you in the long-term. Investing and compound interest is all about using time to your advantage. And there’s no one that has more time than young people. So if you’re a young, know that time is on your side. If you start now, the money will like grow and compound into something really big and really major.
4. Money Mind-set
Become aware of your money mind-sets and any limiting beliefs around money. So you might not be aware of this, but you probably have some preconceptions, assumptions and limiting beliefs around money based on how you grew up your environments or the media that you were exposed to.
Have you ever told yourself, “oh, I can’t do that”? “Oh, they have this because they’re rich” or “I’m too young to start investing”. All of these are just beliefs in your mind. And they are beliefs that once held, you think they are true. And so you live according to them. It’s so important to recognize that you probably do have some limiting beliefs and start to ask yourself, “okay, where do these beliefs come from?” And “can I release these beliefs?” Because they’re not helping me.
You know, it’s not helping yourself to hold yourself back. A lot of people have a limiting belief around how much money they think they can make because everyone in their family only makes this range of money. They don’t believe it’s possible for them to make more. They believe, oh, everyone just makes this range of money. And so they hold themselves back. They prevent themselves for achieving their fullest potential because in their mind, their box and the ceiling only goes up to here.
When in reality, there is no ceiling. It’s all in your mind. Let go of those assumptions. Let go of those old beliefs, especially if they are not serving you. So much of success is really breaking down those barriers mentally so that you can allow yourself a more abundant life, allow yourself more possibility and opportunity in the world.
5. Ask Questions on Money. Money is not Taboo
Don’t be afraid to talk to people about money, speak up and ask questions. That’s the only way you’re going to compare information and learn. So a lot of people are scared to talk about money. I get it, me too sometimes. I think in our culture, we’re taught that talking about money is taboo, but I’ve found, especially for women. We shy away from talking about money. I see like my male friends talk about money and business and these topics much more often than I see my female friends. And it shouldn’t be that way. Money shouldn’t be a taboo topic because we should be communicating, sharing information and sharing knowledge so that we all can learn so that we all can grow together.
Talking about money and sharing information can really help you because knowledge is power. So whether you’re talking about investments with your friends, or you’re talking about money with people in your industry, because you want to understand what things are worth, what people’s salaries are, this or that, that information can only empower you to know your own worth so that you’re not playing guessing games.
6. Go Long
Think long-term not short-term with your spending. So I know once you start making money, it’s really tempting to want to splurge on trendy luxury pieces or dining at expensive restaurants and just upgrade your lifestyle a little bit because yeah, it’s fun. But consider that some things are short-term and fleeting while other things are better investments for the long-term. So instead of spending a hundred dollars on a fancy meal for yourself, where else can you put that a hundred dollars? Can you put it towards like equipment that you actually need for your job, or a course that will enhance you and give you more skills, think about the value of your dollar and spending it in ways that will help you in the long-term and especially watch out for the purchases that you’re making just to impress others, or just to keep up with the Joneses.
It’s not worth it. This leads me into the next lesson, which is invest your money in ways that will help you grow.
7. Invest for You and Your Growth
So I am a huge advocate for investing in yourself and I don’t want to cheap out on myself, meaning if I want to take this course and it’s expensive, I’m going to do it because I know at the end of it, I’m going to be a levelled up version of myself because I’ll have acquired new knowledge and skills. And those things are really valuable to me. I also don’t cheap out on things that are essential to the quality and the growth of my career. So for example, software and equipment, there are so many free tools for like graphic design or video editing.
But I truly believe in using like the high quality professional software, because you got to be a pro you’ve got to be operating at the pro level in order to create pro results. You don’t want to cheap out on that stuff and not learn, not take the time to learn these more expensive programs, because there is a difference in the quality that you put out. So obviously there are times where you can get the budgets, the cheaper version and create just as good quality of a result.
But, you know, I’m all about just investing in the things that matter, investing in the things that will help me grow. And then I can be a little more frugal with the things that are not essential to me and my future.
8. Buy Second-Hand
So this is more of an environmental tip and reminder that you don’t have to buy everything new and you don’t have to throw your things away because one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. So first, if you have anything and you want to make a little extra cash, definitely utilize those apps where you can sell your items or even donate your items. I love donating everything that I can donate.
The other side of this is to purchase second hand. So if there’s an item that is expensive, that you’ve been eyeing instead of trying to buy it brand new, purchase it second hand, like you can get a lot of cameras, second hand that are in perfect condition. Basically you can get designer bags. I can hand there’s so many things that you can buy second hand. So just putting it on your radar because overall it is better for the environment.
We don’t have to be a one-time use society. We don’t have to generate this much trash, just keep it in mind. And you can see your items in a different light. You not only save money, but you’re also helping the environment.
9. Plan Your Retirement Now
Start planning for retirement if you haven’t started already. So for most people, this means getting a retirement account, like a Roth IRA. I recommend you look up the different types of IRAs and you understand what they mean and which one is the best for you. I’m not here to give financial advice like that, but it is important to start planning ahead.
I know if you’re young, retirement sounds like forever away, but you want to make sure that you are taking care of yourself and that you protect yourself in the future because you can’t depend on social security. You can’t depend on the government to take care of you. At that point, you have to make sure that you’ve saved enough money by then to live and retire comfortably and take inflation into account. Because the amount that you need to live today will be different when you’re retired.
If you’re an entrepreneur, or if you want to be entrepreneurial, I highly recommend you start learning about the types of investments that you can make that will give you a passive stream of income. A popular example of this is to invest in rental properties that you can rent out and people are paying you rent on a monthly basis. If you have enough of those properties, the passive income that you’re making will be enough for you to live. And that could be a great retirement plan.
So wherever you are in your journey start thinking about it now and start planning ahead for your retirement, because it all matters. You don’t want to have lived life. And then you’re like, oh my god, it’s too late. I don’t have time to save enough money. And so you’re forced to keep working. That’s not good. The information is there. The knowledge is out there for you guys to start learning and grabbing these knowledge tide bits so that you understand how to prepare yourself, how to invest, how to create abundance in your life.