Of recent, I have made a dedicated effort to up-skill myself on personal financial management. This has mainly stemmed from the fact that I am a recent graduate, and as you know, student life can leave your bank account in tatters. I believe this is mostly down to the fact that as young people, our financial knowledge is generally substandard. Not only do we have no formal education on it, but for a lot of us we barely have any real responsibility on managing our finances until we get to university. Consequently, most people learn how to manage their finances through trial and error, often including some costly mistakes. For me, things turned around financially when I realised the key was in changing my attitude towards money. Three ways I went about this are as follows:
- Removing the emotional aspect: A lot of us underestimate how significantly our emotions can affect our financial decisions. At the end of the day, finance is numbers, numbers are logic, and therefore logic must prevail over emotions. When faced with a financial decision, particularly the more expensive ones, be honest with your current situation. Can I really afford this? Are there more cost effective alternatives? Is this a necessity or a luxury? Will I die if I don’t buy it now? These are all very important questions to ask yourself, and gets you into the habit of combining rationale and money decisions.
- Instil discipline: Following on from the above step, we must establish discipline in order to change our emotionally-charged habits. Of course, this is a lot easier said than done. However, your success with this step lies in how much of a priority your finances are. If you are someone that doesn’t mind living paycheck to paycheck (or student loan drop to student loan drop, whatever your situation may be), then all of this advice will probably seem very unnecessary to you. However, if you are looking to at least improve your current situation, then you have to transcend your emotions, and coach yourself into being more disciplined with your finances. The way you would go about this would look very different for each person. For example, some people find it useful to follow a budget. Others, like to track their spending, which can be done on apps such as Monzo. Find a method that works best for you and act accordingly.
- Money is not a taboo subject: In my opinion, this change primarily needs to be accomplished on a more societal level. However, as individuals we too can contribute to this. More money conversations need to be incited. Due to lack of financial education in our school curriculum, it is up to us to informally educate ourselves for now. There is no one-size-fits-all guide for financial management; everyone’s needs, priorities and strategies are different. However, there is nothing stopping you from reaching out to your networks, and asking questions (of course, whilst respecting their privacy). This can be on topics such as their experiences with a particular bank, or on a certain investment strategy. Often times, other people’s experiences makes the best advice. The more we talk about it, the more everyone will learn.
In summary, these are just a few small changes I think you can all implement if you haven’t already, and over time you will see a real improvement in your financial life. I hope you found this useful!
Thanks for reading,