Having been on earth for so long, I have learnt a lot of lessons along the way, chiefly money lessons, some the difficult way. Some of this advice came to me through my folks and still others I learnt from watching others fail.

It may seem like I am bragging but honestly, this is going to be an entertaining and educational read, that can help you better your life, so please do not stop mid way.

As months turn to years I feel I am afraid of the passing years, in part due to the relentless ticking of the clock, and the fact that there are so many unfinished goals that I haven’t done anything about so far.

A lot of people experience lives as choke full of unmet goals, responsibilities and never- financial strain. At 18, I wasn’t the best with money. I suddenly felt I had to shoulder in tons of responsibilities. I had to learn to adjust to a new people, a new land and language. There are a ton of mistakes I made but since I didn’t have much money at hand the financial repercussions were limited.

It’s good if you sit down and do an annual review of the mistakes and lessons learnt and write down important nuggets of distilled wisdom from what you could gather from your review. You’d learn from this exercise on what not to do.

Whatever mistakes I made, they’re mine. I am proud of having made them and I am proud they played an important role in forming me through and through.

Self realization is the only way forward because that way you get to take stock of the past, let go and gallop ahead.

Some of these lessons could be obvious to some reading this post. For others, not so much. But everything is a window to I am and so you will enjoy this.

It may seem like I am bragging but honestly, this is going to be an entertaining and educational read, that can help you better your life, so please do not stop mid way.

As months turn to years I feel I am afraid of the passing years, in part due to the relentless ticking of the clock, and the fact that there are so many unfinished goals that I haven’t done anything about so far.

A lot of people experience lives as choke full of unmet goals, responsibilities and never- financial strain. At 18, I wasn’t the best with money. I suddenly felt I had to shoulder in tons of responsibilities. I had to learn to adjust to a new people, a new land and language. There are a ton of mistakes I made but since I didn’t have much money at hand the financial repercussions were limited.

It’s good if you sit down and do an annual review of the mistakes and lessons learnt and write down important nuggets of distilled wisdom from what you could gather from your review. You’d learn from this exercise on what not to do.

Whatever mistakes I made, they’re mine. I am proud of having made them and I am proud they played an important role in forming me through and through.

Self realization is the only way forward because that way you get to take stock of the past, let go and gallop ahead.

Some of these lessons could be obvious to some reading this post. For others, not so much. But everything is a window to I am and so you will enjoy this.

1. Value your time more than money

More than the money you make, the quality time you spend with near and dear ones is of importance. Years go by pretty quickly. And you might not realize when you’re suddenly old unable to do any of the things you long cherished to do.

Don’t live out an existence full of money but rife with regrets.

There’s very little in terms of the quality of life that money can buy. Health, fitness, and time spent with loved ones and doing the job you love sit a tad higher than things that can be purchased off a catalogue.

Time is of essence and that’s why it’s valuable.

2. Comparisons only result in regret

Your beginnings are going to be slow. No one starts off well when they’re beginning their journey of life. If you start comparing yourselves to others who are well off, consider that their and your situations are vastly different. Sometimes it is enough motivation to work harder, at other times it’s just a drain on your soul.  Don’t be unrealistic in the expectations you set for yourself and become a roadblock in your own way.

Choosing to become a blogger/freelance writer felt as the worst financial decision to me for several years as I was from hand to mouth. Not to mention the incessant mocking by friends and extended family alike. But comparing you to others who are well off in secure jobs only results in regret.

How hard you try growth in career comes in small increments and not giant leaps. You can work all your way to secure faster promotions, to secure quick career leaps and so on but none of that is going to matter if you sacrifice quality time with your own family.

3. Plan for your retirement

The dreams you have for your retirement should be followed up with a solid plan in action. Let me cite an example I recently came across. A financial consultant is my acquaintance. A couple into their 50s approached this consultant to help them with retirement planning. They were making upwards of 100k combined and wanted to continue with the same lifestyle on retirement as they were now. Approximately 8 years left before retirement they wanted to save up and invest in instruments that would allow them to maintain their same lifestyle for up to 85 years of age upon which they hoped to die.

The financial consultant firmly pointed out there was no instrument that gave annualized earnings to the tune of what they were hoping. They had to cut down to one-fifth of what they were used to earning now.

If you want to travel, maintain the same lifestyle plan for your college kids education you need to plan astutely to reach those goals. And that has to start early not when you’re on the verge of retirement.

If there’s a goal in mind you should strive to reach it no matter what.

4. Be positive

I really believe in being positive. Life throws many a curveball at us and more often than not we are at a loss to understand what to do. Truth is most things we worry over don’t transpire. Stop worrying. If one door closes others will open.

5. Learn new skills

One of the better things you can do for yourself is to continually update your repertoire of skills.

Why?

As human beings we live long. We’re not to value one career above everything else. There’s enough time to excel at three, four, five or more things.

Being able to experience life fully often boils down to the kind of learning you’re exposed to.

Boredom is the true form of sadness. With your skills even long after your primary career has seen its dusk you will keep yourselves occupied and probably make a few hundred dollars on the side.

6. Live life to the fullest

While saving money is essential, so is living life to the fullest. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are, what you do, and how much bank balance you hold. Living life to the fullest doesn’t require any of those things.

As William Henry Davies puts it, “WHAT is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare?”

Living life to the fullest, often boils down to finding time and engaging in things you care deeply about.

7. Less is more

In the immortal words of Tyler Durden, “ Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.”

Less is more.

Read that again.

You need not surround yourself with junk to feel happy. Instead you will feel happier when you get rid of most of these things.

After a while things you don’t use and never intended to use keep piling up. Get rid of them.

Less clutter means you can improve the few things you really use or buy more of.

Every year take stock of the junk you own and get rid of it.

8. Gain control of your financial situation

Being financially well off can help you take care of unexpected circumstances which life is so full of.

Savings come in handy on a rainy day. Essentially, taking control of your financial situation boils down to one habit— to earn money than you’re able to spend.

You wouldn’t imagine that people earning millions in royalties (without having to work) would face a debt problem. But they do. Famously, Michael Jackson drowned his entire networth buying up paintings, knick-knacks and other items that would do well in museums. At the end of his life he was an anxiety-laden mess with massive debt and a failing career, one he desperately tried to resurrect with his world tour. You shouldn’t fall into the same trap.

To be held back from life, its dreams and goals because of your lack of handle on money is a big but avoidable problem.

9. Money is just money

Being financially accountable doesn’t mean piling on a lot of money and sitting atop the hoard.

You need money to pay off bills, survive, fund your kid’s education, healthcare and so on. Don’t paint other characteristics into it.

Don’t live for money but rather use as it as a tool that helps you finance expenses and live happily.

10. The key to finance management is stress management

Stress doesn’t allow you to behave properly financially

Managing stress is key to proper financial spending. There are many things when living a family life that can bring a torrent of stress. It could be health issues. It could be home renovations.

Being poor at managing stress makes you poor at decision making.

Meditation, cardiac exercises and yoga can help.

If you’re overworked and stressed out you can make many financial mistakes like I did when stressed out. I find planning in advance to be a great help that helps overcome any financial situation.

You can keep stress at bay by not accepting too many responsibilities.Delegate at least some of your responsibilities to others and finally get some peace of mind.

11. Getting rid of useless items is a relief.

You could be a collector who likes to remember the past or collect cards or other knick-knacks as a hobby. But this shouldn’t be done to fill up a void. Because then you would go hunting for clearance sales to find more such items to fill the void at home.

You would not only spend a sizeable amount collecting these things but also eventually run out of space when you do so every weekend of every month.

Downsizing is good for your mind.

People can feel weighed by family possessions. Going through and deciding to throw them away can be challenging but living with less is also freeing. You can feel better and take better care of yourself.

When surrounded by the past you’re living in the past, cut off from the present, living in an self created utopia.

Realize the aspects of life where you’re a minimal and understand how to work best from there. Those parts require little in terms of upkeep.

An overstuffed closet is the last thing you need.

12. Invest into a car wisely

Buying a car can be a big financial drain. It calls for careful planning and browsing through all available options. And it’s better if you invest in on it wisely. Unlike the past almost everything today is reviewed on multiple platforms. There are video reviews, even of expensive items as planes, notwithstanding of cars.  

You should have a strategy with cars. Take your time, rather than making impulse-driven purchases led by the sweet talk of a salesman.

There’s a gap between expectation and reality. Rather than taking the approach reading reviews online and then checking out those cars in a dealership put the reverse foot forward.

Go to a dealership

Note down the models you liked after seeing them in the dealerships.

You will have a better idea now what is it that you truly want.. What is acceptable to you?

Are you big on mileage?

Do you want a latest model?

‘Through trial and error you will get those models that are fit for your needs.

Then call up dealerships, tell them what you want, no compromises made, what’s the figure you can arrange and if they’re willing to adhere t the agreement you can purchase.

Another option is to purchase second hand cars.Second hand cars allow you to cut the commission agent and deal directly saving a lot.

13. Be part of a social circle that doesn’t give big weightage on spending money

If your social circle doesn’t give too much importance to spending money on events that’s great for you. If they like hanging out at either free events, parks or houses that could be very less expensive for you.

A study found that obesity spreads to friends. If you hang around with obese people very soon you will find yourself overweight.

I wasn’t surprised much by the study having seen how entire families where every member is obese. Friends share a much closer bond.

Studies show has that people with a strong social network have a 29% lower risk of heart disease and 32% lower risk for stroke compared to those without. Being alone often ups the risk of loss in cognitive faculties. Social isolation is as much a risk factor for high BP and obesity as is smoking.

Between the yacht parties you host for them, expensive vacations and golf memberships you’ll feel squeezed so tight that you’ll want to count pennies from your pocket before hiring a cab.

The cost of friendships shouldn’t be too high in your life that they become a financial damper.

This lands serious dents on your financial health and for the sake of a peaceful life you should consider other people.

There are many local meetups you can be a part of that a simple Google search would reveal.

14. When you’re thinking through a financial decision, get a pen and paper

Even though there are excellent note taking mechanisms available in the form of Evernote I tend to stick to pen and paper when it comes to thinking about important decisions that can wreak some havoc in my financial health.

Play out the scenario over and over again in your mind and make a mental note of things before reaching a decision.

Write down several options you have at hand and for those options write their list of pros and cons and extrapolate on them.

With hard decisions look if the pros listed cancel out with the cons. It need not be something expensive as a house or car. It can be something that has implications for you over the years.

For instance, over the past few days I was spoilt for choice between Amazon and Netflix. Prime comes in two flavors either $13 per month which is $119 annually or $59 annually if you pay at one go. Two day shopping, discounts, Amazon s4 cloud storage and video as available on Prime.

Netflix is much lower at $9 to $16 depending on whether you want SD or HD. The prices are set to increase next year by a tiny bit.

However the quality of content is much better. Netflix originals are true classics in most cases.

I cannot let go of free shipping and I want the original shows on Netflix. It seems like a hard decision, one that I had to live with for years.

If you’re in a similar position with each service offering a set of benefits you can’t do without write them all down, list out all pros and cons.

Being stumped this way, I decided I needed more data. I went through my purchases on Amazon and realized I shopped mostly for books. And most of the books I ordered weren’t covered by Prime. So no free shipping. Upon realizing this, I promptly made my choice.

15. It’s okay to be afraid

There are so many new thing that most people are afraid of. They are fearful of the unknown.

Life is never easy. No matter how safe you play, you will never make it out of it alive. So why not risk and try new things and see what happens.

16. Record your expenses

I learnt this habit from a buddy while at college. He had this annoying habit of writing down each and every expense in a little black diary of his. I didn’t adopt the habit while at college because I never had a lot of money at hand so there was no issue of over-spending. Once I started freelancing, to keep a tab on expenses stemming from the freedom granted by my independent bachelor life, I decided to make his habit my own. That’s how you save money. By figuring out where it goes. Compared to most, a sizeable unit of my expenses were from courses I brought to teach myself online marketing and writing.

The problem wasn’t the lion’s share went to courses but in that I didn’t utilize my expenditure. I never flipped through a page or completed a video course.

I eventually restrained myself to buying courses that I had the will to learn.

If you’re having difficulty penning down each expense compare expenses using bank statements or card statements.

17. Make a budget

With expenses recorded, you need to make a budget to plan your spending and limit the amount you overspend. These expenses can be organized into a budget. The ones you feel aren’t worthy should be cut out.

When you make a budget, sit down and include expenses that occur yearly and a spare a little for miscellaneous expense.

A few months, my savings can go as high as 80% but most months its between 10 to 15%. Additionally, I portion unexpected windfalls into savings as well.

If you can’t save at least that much, you should cut on expenses by figuring out extraneous expenses.

18. Save towards a goal

When you have a goal the distractions and compulsions to spend money otherwise move away on their own.  That’s why when you’re saving for something, the goal easier to reach. It could be a number of things you want to save for be it a vacation to somewhere exotic or be it for retirement.

Picture the time required to reach that goal and work your ass off.

19. Make saving automatic

It might be difficult for you set apart a certain amount every month, month after month to your savings account. Banks allow for automated transfers from one account to another and you may choose to repeat the same amount every month on a certain date.

Portion of the cheque can automatically go to a savings account. This spares you the temptation of spending it elsewhere.

20. Prepare in advance for grocery shopping

You will be able to order less food that goes to wastage if you go to the store fully prepared. I wasted countless dollars shopping without checking the stock in the kitchen beforehand. We add lots of coupons and discounts for groceries each and every month.

This can help you save even more.

21. Wait it out

Being patient is key to financial health. Time and again I’ve seen this with my own eyes. Come summer, everyone is hopping on to purchase swimwear. But if you wait it out a little longer, until August, retailers are running discount sprees and store clearance offers everywhere you can lay eyes. They just want the excess inventory gone. What you would have paid full price two months ago is available at 80% off. The same rule applies for almost every item. Just wait it out a little.

Concluding thoughts

What do you think of the financial tips I laid out for you?

Do you have similar stories to share. If so, please use the comment section or mail us. We’re eager to hear from you.

Show CommentsClose Comments

Leave a comment