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The Most Important Money Lessons People Learn Too Late in Life

by | Feb 13, 2023 | Money, Personal Finance

My wife would never have to work again if I wasn’t an idiot.

But I lost a stupid amount of money one fateful day due to my own ignorance. And my sometimes out-of-control ego.

We all like to think we’re good with money but the truth is most of us suck. If I had known a few of these money lessons earlier, my wife could have spent more time with our newborn daughter.

Learn these lessons so you don’t suffer the same fate.

No one’s going to come bail you out

It’s easy to get into financial trouble.

The cost of living can spiral out of control. A rogue layoff can break your nose and steal your kid’s lunch money. We often think it’ll all be okay and some good person (maybe a family member) will save us. They rarely do. Why? Is everyone an a-hole? No.

Everyone is too busy with their own money problems to care about yours.

Once you understand this you stop relying on charity and get to the root of the problem.

Showing up to a house auction looking rich isn’t fooling anyone

My wife & I are trying to buy our first home for our 3 month old daughter.

It’s been a long process and we’re getting nowhere. In Australia, most homes are sold via public auction.

Last night I went to bid on a small shack in the middle of an average suburb. I was the first to arrive. My fellow competitors rolled up one by one. Many of them were high rollers — aka property investors.

They came to take another home off a family so they could add it to their business (should be illegal). They each had these stupidly fancy cars.

One guy even revved his engine so everyone at the auction could hear him coming. I couldn’t help but think to myself, “most of these people are broke.” They have no liquid cash, only a mountain of debt.

Don’t get fooled by debt junkies.

Large debt makes you a slave. The truly free person doesn’t need to steal homes from families to boost their ego and rent a Mercedes Benz.

(Sorry to my baby daughter who still doesn’t have a home. Daddy is trying.)

The answer to a lot of life problems is “make more money”

Not being able to buy a home can be tough.

You can blame, complain, or get frustrated. It’s taken me decades to learn this gets us nowhere. If money is a problem then the stupidly simple answer is to make more money.

How? Learn new skills. Try a different strategy. Expand your network.

If you’re connected to the internet you have access to the best form of financial equality you can ever hope for. The key is to use it. There are literally millions of Youtube videos to show you if you don’t know how.

Nuke money problems with more money.

“Making money online is like an open book university test”

My friend JK said this. Smart fellow.

He argues that you can find ways to make money online if you simply look at what everyone else is doing and copy it. But he reckons people are too lazy to copy the answers and cheat the test.

I wouldn’t go that far. I would say I open a stack of emails that say weird stuff like “how do I get started on LinkedIn?”

You can google the answer. ChatGPT can even tell you.

Access to information doesn’t give you a financial advantage. Execution does. Resourcefulness does.

Money only makes you happy if it comes with a struggle

Former US president Richard Nixon once said rich folks are some of the unhappiest people in the world because they can never afford to struggle.

I have quite a few 20-something friends. They’re all hustling their faces off to get rich and buy a Lambo.

Many of them know I’ve been there. I’ve owned the luxury cars they desire. Heck, I got to drive a Bentley every day at 18 years of age.

I try to be like their older, wiser brother and tell them they’re chasing a fake goal that won’t give them what they want.

Money brings joy and happiness when you have to struggle for it.

When money is inherited or won at the casino it loses its value. A Porsche feels great to own for about 14 days. After that it feels like every other tin bucket car you could ever own.

Yet through my journey from poor to wealthy and back down (several times) the part that has made me happy is all the struggles I’ve had to go through.

Why financial struggles feel like s*x

Author Morgan Housel goes further.

He says the pursuit of money makes sense when you understand what your brain desires. Your brain doesn’t get horny over a chunk of metal. No.

All your brain wants is the dopamine chemical.

Buying luxury crap gives you a quick hit of dopamine. The brain loves a new experience or possession for a few minutes. Then it gets bored like a toddler and wants something else new.

The pursuit of money aka the pursuit of dopamine never ends. You can never get enough dopamine, therefore, you can never have enough of what money buys. Dopamine is a chemical more addictive than heroin.

TikTok figured it out and created an addictive app that makes you dumber.

Businesses all over the world are now training their employees to understand the reward system of the brain that dopamine is a part of so they can exploit you to want more. That’s capitalism baby!

The vaccine to the dopamine epidemic is to learn about it.

Once you understand, you won’t be manipulated so easily into the luxury life of buying junk that you trade time for.

In most cases, $1M equals dirt poor

I don’t care if you made $1M.

If you can’t take a day off without feeling guilty or asking for permission, you’re dirt poor. Too many people live their life like a modern slave. They have to pay the debt bills or they go bankrupt.

They have to work for a company or boss they hate to keep the paycheck that defines their self-worth. Their calendars are jammed full of sh*t they can’t unclog.

Instead, we should value freedom.

It’s why I think my daughter is the richest person in the world. No one tells her what to do. She can do the most embarrassing thing and we forgive her and even think it’s cute. She spends her days however the F she wants.

Redesign your life to be free from being told what to do. It starts with owning and wanting less.

Increase your value to get more money

Money is the payment you get in return for your value.

If money is a problem it’s not a sign to get upset or blame society. It’s a blinking red neon sign that’s trying to tell you to increase your value.

How? With new skills. Skills equal value.

Every day money helps to measure your value. It’s a choice whether you want to increase that value or not.

Because if you do the same stuff you’ve always been doing and it’s producing financial ruin, it’ll keep doing that if you don’t change the game plan.

Invest … or work until you’re dead

That’s where the world is heading.

Doesn’t feel good to say but it’s the truth. Investors buy assets that appreciate. Consumers buy fake assets (stuff) that go down in value and require more of their time to be wasted to keep playing the game.

Own or be owned.

True wealth is the ability to stop thinking about money

Let’s finish with a kickass paradox.

All of us secretly want to stop thinking about money. To roll up at a restaurant and order whatever we want without paying attention to the price tag.

Money is such a mental virus.

When there’s a constant need for it, it’s hard to think about anything else. After all, we go into debt to buy a home and then just assume that whatever income we have at the time will remain the same.

But life isn’t that simple. There are going to be storms.

The only way to ride out a storm and think less about money is to have a plan in place to automate money. That plan is called passive income. Learn the art or become someone else’s passive income.

Mastering money improves your focus.

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