Facts about money I wish I knew sooner
Oct 1, 2013 / 5:00 am
Sometimes I wish I could travel back in time and tell the younger me ten facts about money. I’d probably also tell myself to buy Microsoft, Apple, and Warren Buffet stocks. But I could never find a flux capacitor for my Jetta, so instead I wrote them down hoping it will help somebody else.
1. You have to pay attention to your money, otherwise your money will leave you.
Unless your cupboard contains stacks of dollar bills instead of food (in other words if you’re not stupidly rich), you need to know where your money is coming from and how much you’re spending. Simply checking your bank account to see if you have enough money before you buy a sandwich doesn’t keep you informed. You need to control your money or the lack of it will control you for the rest of your life.
I once talked to a fellow who paid double rent for a number of years due to a mistake his property management company made. He never noticed it because he never bothered to check his account statements. While he enjoyed a very decent income, he never knew how much money he was spending. Only after running into financial issues did the mistake became obvious, but he could have wasted a lot of money until he discovered it himself (if ever).
2. Almost everybody wants to take your money away from you.
At the present time, advertising is everywhere. While we might be used to it on Internet or radio, marketing companies are coming up with more and more ways to sell us more stuff. Video game makers now sell advertising space in video games. Your local pizza shop puts advertising for local real estate companies on pizza boxes in case you are so hungry that you want to buy a house. After consuming a few beers at your local bar, you head for the washroom and end up staring at beer ads on the wall. Oh, the irony…
There’s a war for your wallet going on 24/7. Be aware of it, pay attention to sleek marketing schemes, and don’t fall for advertising. Your personal and family needs should be dictating your spending habits, not advertising.
3. Wealth is not evil.
Books and movies teach you stereotypical knowledge about money. Rich people are not all jerks, and poor people are not all gold-hearted. Portraying them this way helps to sell more books and movies, but it’s far from reality. Money doesn’t turn anybody into jerks. Money just intensifies people’s desires. If somebody has a heart of gold, they’ll spend money helping people around them – no matter how much or how little they have.
Think of money as bricks. If you have a lot of bricks, you can build a hospital for everyone’s benefit. Or you can build a wall around your house to keep people away. It’s what you do with bricks that counts, not the fact that you have a lot of them.
4. Looks can be deceiving.
Just because somebody has a shiny new car doesn’t mean they’re rich. Just because somebody rides a bicycle to work doesn’t mean they’re poor. Don’t judge a book by its cover, and don’t judge people by their appearance. You’ll be surprised how many seemingly well-to-do people bounce credit cards, and how many seemingly blue-collar folks can live without an income on their savings for years if they were to lose their jobs.
5. Forget about getting rich quick.
If there was a legit way to get rich quickly, everybody and their uncle would be doing it.
Read more Money Ramblings of a Financial Underdog articles
- Why you need multiple savings accounts Dec 3
- Best personal finance podcasts Nov 26
- Investing in Canadian farmland Nov 19
- Emergency fund Nov 12
- Family money: combined or separate? Nov 5
- Living long enough Oct 29
- Canadian banknotes are fascinating! Oct 22
- What happens if mortgage rates double? Oct 15
(Click for RSS instructions.)