Sometimes I learn life lessons from observing my grandparents and parents. Other times I learn the hard way by experience and still, others I will continue to learn about as I grow in understanding of myself and my relationship to the world and people around me.
1. More isn’t better – I learned this from collecting, the desire to accumulate those precious pieces to fill the gaps in my collection brought immediate happiness but not a lasting one. The same would be true of money; getting a raise puts you in a nice spot for a while but eventually it seems that dries up and we are looking for the other raise.
2. Appearances-smearances – I don’t remember what my friend at work wore on Monday, but I do remember the great conversation we had on our lunch break. If I’m comfortable in what I am wearing or driving or living in, my demeanor will be one of truthfulness. Make the best of what I have, fix what I can and the rest be damned, life is too short.
3. Save your life – If you don’t want to live indebted to others (and no one does) then remember to live below your means and save for a rainy day. Freedom lies in chasing after the things in life that don’t depreciate in value.
4. Take your Time – Buying something can generate immense guilt and can’t always be taken back. If you know it isn’t going to be a ‘throw-away’ item like a house, car, etc – get value for your money and time. Taking the time to look means people will take less advantage of you.
5. Ask questions – No one ever got struck by lightening for asking a question. How will you know how to take care of your own home or investments if you don’t ask questions? Asking a question allows you to not only increase your knowledge and financial value but also allows you to give back to others who ask of you the same questions.
6. Rome wasn’t built in a Day – It’s an old saying but it’s a good one. It takes time to build up the savings and investments and to reach towards your goals. Hurdles will pop up and their may be times you feel like you are jumping through more hoops than a circus lion, but in the end you will be the better for it.
7. Sit and Listen – Rushing through the day to get things marked off of the ‘to do’ list and planning for tomorrow can leave me feeling like I still haven’t accomplished anything or all I see are the mistakes or what I haven’t done. Take a moment and sit down to reflect on where you were before, what you have learned and where you want to go, it may have changed course in the last couple of months.
8. Humility – Confidence is great in the work world where it seems like you swim with sharks, but it's your personal life that connects to a financial one where humility will get you a lot farther and allow you to tolerate frustrations better. Besides, keeping up with the neighbors isn't all it's cracked up to be.