My take on how to manage personal finance
Iwas bad at managing my money all my life. It just happened that my parents never gave me a proper financial education. Not their fault, they never got one either. They figured out how the money works all by themselves but maybe never had the time or didn’t know how to find the approach to educate their kids about the money.
One day I read the famous “Rich Dad and Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki and I believe as many of us I went like:
I was shocked how much of the mental rubbish I was carrying throughout the years. That book has become the first cornerstone of my financial intelligence. As I continued to immerse in the works of Napoleon Hill, John Kehoe and George Samuel Clason my FQ was further improved. I started to dig deep in my mindset rewiring it along the way and take action on my personal finances.
Most of the things that will follow will sound like a common sense for many people. However, apparently the common sense is not so common. I believe this essay will find it’s reader — someone like me back in the days wondering what the hell is happening with all his money.
This is the summary of the things I wish I knew when I was a teenager :
Investigate the old mindset. You could have some things in your mind that just do not work.
Example. When I was a kid my parents used to say: “Do you think we print this money in the night?”, “Money doesn’t grow on the trees” etc. As a result, I have developed a scarcity mindset that there is always a lack of money and that one should work extremely hard in order to provide himself with a decent level of income. It took me years to get rid of this program imprinted in me since childhood. I don’t blame my parents, not at all. They lived in a different time and really had to fight for the place under the sun. My point is different.
Detect and eradicate the mindsets like the one that I just have mentioned. Find the beliefs that are hindering your financial growth.
Develop Abundance Mindset
Thanks to the technological progress more and more material things will become cheap. As human species, we have never lived in such an abundant world that is precisely tuned to our needs but unfortunately, we still struggle to get rid of our scarcity mindset.
Some people dream about $100k salary a year and some people can spend this amount of money a night. The attitude towards what we may call a big expense is defined by our perception but it is also our perception that helps us to open ourselves to bigger incomes.
Check out this presentation by Peter Diamandis where he discusses in details how the technology will cause massive demonetization. It really helps to revise the abundance mindset.
Several years ago I have been practicing affirmations. Of course, don’t get confused — doing nothing but mumbling money-calling mantras will never improve your financial status but at least repeating affirmations can become your very effective tool to rewire your brain by self-programming.
Keep repeating every day: “The world is abundant. I am worthy of all the wealth on this planet. I think like a millionaire. I attract money. I am a money magnet.” Be creative in making your mantra. Make it personalized.
Money can’t be a goal
One of the best books that I ever read that shifted my mind completely was the “Transurfing of Reality” by Vadim Zeland. The book is brilliant and describes an extremely practical model of the world.
Here is what Zeland writes about money:
Money is not the goal and not even the means of achievement. It is just an accompanying attribute. The goal is what the person wants to reach in life.
It’s better to be illustrated with an example. If I put $10 on the table in front of you, you will not see 10 dollars. You will imagine a movie ticket, a lunch in a cafeteria, a phone case, or maybe a bag of fruits. If I put $100, you see a dinner in a restaurant, a gadget, a weekly grocery. If I put $1000, you see a plane ticket, a gift for your partner, a monthly rent. You see the point. Money itself is just a paper — an instrument. We understand the concept of money by imagining the things we can afford with it.
This is what I learned in practice. Money can never serve as a goal. A goal should be crystal clear. Money is just too abstract. It doesn’t have the energy itself. The idea behind the money — that is what is charging us to get up and do things.
Zeland is emphasizing that money will find you as long as you are doing “your thing” —fulfilling your Mission on Earth, delivering value by doing what you love and what you are good at, honing your skills.
Money is energy
And as all different kinds of energy it follows certain rules:
- Law of attraction. Money makes more money. Rich people get richer.
- As energy, they empower their master. Money gives energy that flows into other aspects of life, for example, enriching their owner with confidence.
- Energy can be shared and it can be borrowed. Energy can flow.
And as a consequence of the last rule — if they can flow,
They should flow.
Money caught up in a stagnation loses its power. This is why many people who saved their money for the “black day” actually live up to it and when the “black day” comes their savings can’t save them.
It is important to be placed in the flow of the money. Search for places where the big money move, seek out people who are wise with their finances and hang around them. Work for free for them in exchange for mentoring if necessary.
Let the money flow through you. It doesn’t mean that you should spend every penny that comes to you. It means that when money comes to you greet it with gratitude but do not get attached to it and when you spend the money part with it lighthearted and carefree. You should become the channeling point money flow through, not the dead end.
I want more money!
How much more money do you want to make? 100$ a month more? 1000$ a month more? 10,000$ a month more?
This is what many people don’t tend to understand — it takes more of you to make more money.
I will make an analogy with the weight lifting. I respect and admire professional powerlifters who lift over 200 kg but I also understand how much time, effort and sometimes even health it takes in order to get there. I look up to them but I don’t want to even imagine to become like them. I am just not willing to put all this work sacrificing the balance. This is not my objective.
Same is with money. Earning a lot is like lifting a lot. It is hard and it takes enormous effort. Look at the superman Elon Musk who earned billions by having Tesla, SpaceX and Solar City. But looking from another prospective they are having him as much as he has them. With all his money he is failing at basic man’s need, a need that makes men do things in the first place— building a relationship with a woman. He simply doesn’t have time for that.
Think about money. What is the exact number? What is the exact amount of it that would make you feel satisfied and fulfilled? People say that after your salary reaches 7,000$ a month money stop being the most important factor defining the quality of your life. Another aspects come into play — atmosphere at working place, relationships in your collaborations, the mission.
I never thought that being a CEO of a unicorn can be called a sustainable life. Making 50,000$ working 5 hours a week sounds more like it.
Now, the practical part. Those are the basics of the management of personal finances:
If you don’t track your money you can’t control it. You may try to do it with a notebook and a pencil designing your own old-school ledger. But why bother when there are great tools that technology gifted us.
Best mobile app — Mobills.
My personal pick. Great product. The closest to being perfect among many that I checked. I will not even bother to do a review of other apps. This app allows personalizing categories, incomes, expenses, multiple accounts and transactions between them. Multiple currencies, calculator, budget planner and useful statistics. Website version is synced with the app. Simply brilliant.
Good old spreadsheets. I am using a simple list of three columns:
- Expenses on the left
- Income in the center
- Current balance on the right
Using basics formulas such as making a sum, subtraction, calculating the average you can easily calculate your total income, total expenses and plan your budget accordingly. I also use spreadsheets to track separate income channels.
Sort of a simple rule that you have to keep in mind.
The more cards you have the more money you spend.
Try to limit yourself to 2–3. One main card, one savings card, one extra if you really have some fancy additional needs.
Can be a useful tool if your FQ is high. Otherwise, it can become a pure evil. Using a credit card is essentially a debt. Speaking of which
Debt is a bitch
Avoid taking debts. If you are in a critical situation and you need to borrow the money, give it back asap. Your relationship with the person you borrowed money from is bleeding out with trust in direct ratio to the number of days you owe him money.
It is better to operate with cash. Having a wallet full of cash is energizing. It is fueling your mindset with the feeling of abundance. Cash is easy to deal with and even easier to track. It’s a good habit. Foster it.
Very few advice on this matter.
Be smart in learning how to earn money.
At the age of 15–23 try things, explore. 8 years is plenty of time. Learn about yourself and the world but more about yourself. Your psychological profile is critical for choosing your career. Read this essay, pass the MBTI test, study. It will help. Know yourself, choose your career wisely.
At the age of 23–30 work on one thing. By this time you better find out what are things that you are genuinely good at, what are your strengths and weaknesses. Focus on your major, at least most of your time and very intensively. Another 8 years is enough to forge yourself into an expert in your domain. The rest of the time foster the generalist in yourself. Learns bits of other crafts.
At the age of 30 presumably, you are particularly good at least at one thing. If you are not then your life is over. I am joking. It’s ok. You are 30. It is only a start. That’s at least what I keep telling myself. Haha 😅 Keep exploring, be hardworking and the most important things in whatever you do are persistence and consistence.
I can’t advise you further as I am 30 myself. But these guys can. I learned a lot from people on Quora who shared what they wish they knew at my age. Pretty insightful.
They taught me that 30 can be a fresh start indeed. It is a beautiful age when you are not so stupid anymore but still full of ambitions and energy. They also taught me that it is ok to change careers at this age.
Anyways, life is too short to do stuff that you don’t like. Wherever you are, do what you love and create value for others, the money will come on the way.
This was my personal pet peeve for years.
I learned how to make money yet I barely saw them. It was very late in my years when I learned a simple rule:
Savings are just as important as your income.
A saved dollar is an earned dollar.
This mindset should be elevated to the level of your personal creed — your life philosophy.
It doesn’t matter how much you earn. The second rule comes into play:
Pay yourself first.
When your money comes, get 10% aside and put it one the Savings account. The rest divide into pools: absolute necessities (rent, phone, food, tuition), secondary priorities (gifts, debts), and tertiary group(“wants”, things nice to have but unnecessary). Follow the budget.
Set the goal
Put the number on the paper or on your spreadsheets. What is your target goal? For a month? For a year? Keep this number in mind whenever you are getting money or you are about to spend them. What is this saving for? What is the supreme goal?
Become a minimalist
Follow the simple rule:
Don’t buy things that don’t contribute value to your life.
What’s the value contribution, you ask? As a rule of thumb, things are worthless if they
- Don’t let you work more efficiently/save time and as a result, make more money and are not necessary for survival
That is pretty much everything except a laptop. Or a bike. A bike is a good buy.
Here is an example of a minimalist. The guy is a bit extreme but definitely has something to teach us all:
As a continuation of the one above. Make yourself a challenge — 30 days of decluttering. Every day throw out or sell at least one thing from your home. It will feel like a sip of fresh air. Proven in practice. Get rid of stuff, sell stuff, make a bit of cash on the way.
Beware of the Devil in the details.
Small purchases are sucking out your money. Small wares, snacks, daily coffees, little gifts, cigarettes — these little bastards are all in the range of 1–5$ but at the end of the day, they make a huge difference.
The investment hemisphere of my financial brain is at the rudimentary stage. I have not yet achieved the understanding of this matter to the level of competency when I could give any sound advice. It’s temporary. I will get there. For now, I encourage you to explore all the wise men out there who are way smarter than me.
I have started to work on my financial intelligence way too late and I lost a lot of money due to my incompetence. I learned my lessons from my mistakes. You don’t have to. If there is anything you found useful in this essay, deploy immediately. If not, share with someone who struggles.
Thank you for reading!