Bodybuilding magazines often promote new & improved workouts that will help you “gain an inch of muscle in your biceps by lunch time” or some other amazing results. They will usually offer complex explanations for why it works. We figure that it must be true since it’s in a magazine. The same goes for personal finance advice. So called “experts” tell us what the latest hot stock picks are and where we should be putting our money. We often get so caught up in the personal finance confusion that we choose to listen to these “experts” or we blindly hire someone to manage our money for us.
I want to tell you guys to stop getting intimidated by money management! I wanted to share the DOs and DO NOTs of money management:
The DO NOTs of money management:
You don’t have to invest in stocks.
You don’t have to stress about finding the next hot stock pick. You don’t have to look at boring charts all day. As a matter of fact, you don’t even have to invest in stocks if you don’t want to. I get the occasionally reader emailing me about stock advice. For starters I don’t even want to give stock tips (from the little that I know) to close friends, let alone readers. Also there’s no sense in investing your hard earned money into something you don’t understand. If you don’t understand something, how could you risk your money on it? Is it really worth it?
You don’t have to buy a property.
Buying real estate can be very overwhelming for most 20-somethings. Yet for some reason every college graduate feels the need to purchase a home. Why? You can rent or stay at home for a bit while you save up money until you’re comfortable with such a heavy investment. You don’t have to feel the pressure to purchase a home right after college or at any time for that matter. This is a decision that you will make when the you know that the time is right.
You don’t have to understand how the stock market works.
Who the hell cares anyway? Unless you want to get a certification as a financial planner, you won’t need to worry about how the stock market works. We get completely confused when we attempt to understand how the stock market works and we just give up. The thing is that we don’t have to clutter our minds with complicating thoughts.
The DOs of personal finance:
You must be accountable.
Claiming that you don’t understand how to manage your money is not a viable excuse for ignoring your finances. You don’t have to track every grain of salt, but you can keep track of your problem areas with your spending. If you don’t take accountability for your finances then nobody else will. Nobody else will ever care about your money as much as you will. You don’t have to understand how currency is valued, but you do need to be responsible for your own financial decisions. There’s no excuse for this.
You must attempt to earn more money.
If your current income sucks then it’s up to you to change that. Nobody will ever offer you more money. You have to ask for a raise or find that well paid position. If you don’t make moves to earn money money, then your money management skills will never improve. Below are a few quick tips to consider for earning more money:
- Upgrade your education.
- Ask for a raise.
- Use your skills.
- Start a side business in college.
- Sell your crap.
You must learn to save money.
If you don’t find ways to fix your problem areas or to cut back on your spending, your financial situation will never improve. That savings account will never grow and that debt won’t go away. Arguable the most important aspect of improving your money management skills revolves around learning to save more of your money. Below are just a few articles to help you get started:
Did you guys enjoy my no nonsense money management tips? Did I miss anything? I hope I didn’t scare anyone away.
(photo credit: justin and elise)