Money is not an easy thing for a lot of us to talk about. It’s one of the “forbidden” Thanksgiving dinner topics alongside the ultra-taboo “religion”, “politics” and… MIchael Bolton...
And while I don’t think it’s necessary to bloviate about how much money you make (or don’t make) I think it’s a HUGE issue in our culture that people are conditioned to scurry away from talking about money like they would a week-old, stinky roadkill skunk.
So today I want to talk about 9 personal finance lessons that totally changed my life and how they’ve just become more and more cemented as I’ve worked with students as a financial coach over the past decade.
My goal in this video is to just get you to try and think about your money just a little bit differently so that you can ACTUALLY have it start working for you more than you’re working for it.
And by the way, I cover ALL of these concepts in my FREE 8 Steps To Erase Debt/The Foundations of FI Workshop.
Let’s get into it...
Yes, income is important and if you can make more money I think you absolutely should. But one of my biggest life lessons was learning that, if I didn’t have control of my money (i.e. in a monthly budget), that I could just out earn my tendency to overspend.
I was approaching a solid 6 figure income but my financial and people pleasing habits were quickly sending me in the wrong direction. It took A LOT of foolish money moves for me to realize I wasn’t always “just going to be able to earn more” and outrun my bad decisions.
In fact, it took me about 2.5 years of paying off $174,000 of debt to buttress the realization that, while income is certainly important, what you do with that income MUST be controlled by a monthly budget in order for you to get control of your money, get out of debt and move on to FI.
In this day and age, it’s my personal experience that relying on one stream of income (your job) is actually pretty dangerous. The combination of the inherent fickleness of most companies and organizations coupled with just overall job market fluctuations, depending on one source of income can be a risky thing indeed.
One thing we advocate for in our community is the addition of side hustles and/or starting some sort of online business.
There’s something really liberating and confidence building about having even just one alternate stream of income. And then, once you have one adding another starts to look like not such a big deal.
This is particularly true in the world of online business. One of the things we do with our students who are going through the debt-elimination and even investing phases of our material is to get them to start thinking of ways that they can monetize things they already know about or know how to do.
You can literally start a profitable online business for less than $50 these days and recoup that money relatively quickly just by offering some coaching or consulting services related to your area of expertise.
I’ll be covering MUCH more about how to do this the right way in upcoming content, so if that’s something you’re interested in make sure to smash the subscribe button and turn on notifications.
This one really goes hand in hand with the last one. I was actually able to monetize the skills I learned starting my blog and YouTube channel to do some marketing contract work for a couple of tech startups.
This skill alone helped me bridge the gap between leaving my crappy corporate sales job to turning this business into a full time income. I was actually able to earn over $20k that year, all with a skill set that I didn’t have even a clue about a couple of years before.
This is never a bad idea BUT it does have it’s limitations. In other words, frugality is great and I totally advocate for it, but there is such a thing as frugality burnout and I want to help you to avoid that.
The first thing you want to do is get on a monthly zero-based budget if you’re not already on one.
Budgeting is one of those indispensable skills that we all should have been taught at home or in elementary school. And it’s actually made up of 3 distinctive steps: organization, budgeting and expense tracking.
If you’re not familiar with the process, it’s okay. Just take your time and know that it’s going to take about 90 days of effort to get it right, but once you do, you’ll have ALL the tools in place to not only lower your expenses, but to also increase your income in creative ways you’re not currently thinking of.
I actually have a FREE Budget Bootcamp workshop to help you get started with that, link in the description below.
Upscaling/overconsumption/hyperconsumption keeping up with the Kardashians is just absolutely normal in our culture and has been for decades at this point.
I mean, look at all the marketing messages you're bombarded with on an hourly basis through social media, tv, your phone apps, etc. We’re by far the most marketed-to-generation in history and, if you don’t have some externalities in place, you’ll be a lamb to the slaughter just like the rest of us.
What I learned and now advocate for is more of what I call “lifestyle deflation” or minimalism. In my experience both personally and as a coach, the only way to do this is really to get on that budget I’ve been harping on.
Do you see a recurring theme here?
But seriously, the art of cultivating contentment with what you already have coupled with planning and controlling your spending will be game changers for you.
This is actually that 3rd element of budgeting (organization, budgeting and tracking). This is where you save receipts, physical, digital and start journaling every single penny. Tracking my expenses and then reconciling them regularly with my budget was one of the biggest tactical parts of my debt elimination process that poured accelerant on my getting out $174,000 worth of debt in 2.5 years.
I’ll admit it’s a little bit hard of a habit to break into at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll likely do it for the rest of your life and your money will thank you.
This has been a pivotal element my wife that has enabled my wife and me to reach financial independence in less than 10 years. Budgeting and expense tracking is actually a baseline financial habit of most (actual) millionaires.
Some of the absolute best ideas and insights I’ve implemented in my own financial journey have come from some of my favorite personal finance books like:
Your Money Or Your Life by Vickey Robin
The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
This is one that I got from Tim Ferriss’s book, “The 4-Hour Work Week” and it’s still something that I constantly have to revisit, especially as I’m in the business of content creation and teaching.
There’s an endless amount of “empty calories” out there on the interwebs that is endlessly vying for our attention at every moment.
And while there’s nothing wrong with occasional doom scrolling your YouTube feed, you have to constantly ask yourself, “is this time I’m investing to learn something OR am I just procrastinating myself away from what I really need to be doing?”
Be honest with yourself, do you REALLY need to know every facet of what’s going on in your favorite celebrity’s life? Do you really need to get caught up in the latest virtue signaling mob obsession?
The answer is “no” and you’ll be much happier, healthier and more productive by learning how to cultivate some selective ignorance in your life.
This one is related to the last one. For me as a coach and content creator, it’s very easy to constantly be spying on what my fellow creators are doing.
But in getting on that endless treadmill, I’m dividing my time and very soon am consuming more than I’m producing.
The better focus for me is to make sure I’m always running my own race and that I’m producing more than I consume on a consistent basis.
And this principle is directly applicable to everything having to do with personal finance. If you want to get control of your money, get out of debt and move toward financial independence, you’ve got to start producing more than you consume and then figuring out all the things you need to do with that extra financial energy you’re storing up.
If you’re interested in doing a deeper dive into this princess, you can attend my FREE 8 Steps To Erase Debt/The Foundations of FI Workshop., I’ll leave a link in the description box below.
So which of these 9 personal finance lessons sounds the most appealing to you and which one or ones are you going to try? Leave a comment below and let’s continue the conversation.
Now, if this decision process is something you struggle with and you constantly feel isolated about, I’ve got some great news for you and it’s free.
Our private Facebook group, ZeroDebtTribe. It’s a group of like minded people that are all somewhere along this P2P/debt-elimination/on their way to FI continuum. So click the image above and apply to join us. :)
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All that said, let's keep on building your financial acumen and make this your best year yet!
Thanks so much for reading and we’ll see you in the next video post!