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The Eight Most Counterintuitive Things About Personal Finance Normal People Must Know

by | May 15, 2023 | Money, Personal Finance

Personal finance is stupidly complex.

I thought I needed a finance degree to understand. Then I started working in finance and realized smart people just made it complex so they could make money “unlocking the secrets.”

Money drives everything we do.

Without enough money we’re destined to waste our precious time chasing it doing stuff we hate. The money ideas that can make you wealthy are counterintuitive. Here are a few.

Marriage can equal bankruptcy

Who knew money was a life hack?

Not me. But who you marry matters. If you marry a born consumer who spends more money than they make, even if you are Warren Buffett, they will empty your bank accounts with a smile and an “I love you.”

Don’t be a sucker.

Ensure your significant other knows the basics of money and isn’t a serial spender. Otherwise, again, you’ll always have to think about money instead of being happily married.

A school friend of mine is a divorce lawyer. He told me the most common reason for divorce is because of money.

Marry right. Give them a money quiz on the first date.

Being in love with money doesn’t make you evil

Money is seen as the root of all evil.

People who don’t have money hate on it because it’s cool to do. But money does a lot of good. Sure, it can buy wanker possessions like Lambos.

Money can also build schools in Africa or save someone’s life by paying for a heart transplant. Hoarding money is the real disease.

Using money for good is an act of kindness.

Actor Bruce Willis has been visibly sick the last few years. In his late 50s he married his second wife. They had more children together. The kids are still quite young. It’s obvious he won’t live for that much longer.

The next few years are full of medical bills, speech therapy, and unproven treatments to help him with frontotemporal dementia and aphasia.

His acting skills aren’t what they used to be. Bizarrely, he’s kept appearing in movie and after movie. Instead of winning Oscars he’s winning Razzie awards for some of the worst movies in history.

Critics have been harsh to poor Bruce.

They think he should choose sophisticated roles and be in movies with huge budgets. But those movies require long periods away from his family and multiple takes. His new illness makes him bad at remembering lines.

So he chose easy movie jobs. He got paid a lot less than he’s worth.

His illness means his death will arrive sooner than he’d like, so he’d like to make money for his family and spend the most time he can with them.

From the outside, it looks like Bruce is obsessed with making money. From the inside, money is a tool that takes care of his family and cements his legacy. It’s an act of kindness.

Tracking expenses is depressing (and no way to live)

The personal finance gurus crap on about expenses.

They have apps to track expenses. They buy all the specials at the supermarket. They use reward points and airline membership clubs.

What a tragic way to live, having to cut back on the good stuff and always be thinking “can I get this cheaper?”

Asking for discounts feels like death. What feels great is paying full price and knowing you’re helping a deserving small business with your purchase.

Tracking expenses is overhyped. The goal in life isn’t to track every little expense and become a tight-arse. It’s to make enough money so you don’t have to think about money.

The counterintuitive solution is obvious: make more money.

Not sure why acquiring skills that make more money isn’t the number one focus of most people. There are only so many expenses you can cut before you’re down to eating cans of dog food every day.

Inflation and currency devaluation guarantee prices are only going to ever get higher. So outpace inflation by making more money.

Saving is stupid

Popular personal finance advice we learn in school and from our parents tells us to save.

This is the worst advice in history. Park some money with Bank of America or a similar bank in your country. The vultures will pay you 0.5% if you’re lucky and stand on one leg and beg.

Meanwhile inflation is more than five times that.

Saving is how your money devalues and becomes worthless. Don’t become a saver. No. Become an investor. Buy assets that appreciate in value. One of the best assets is you. So invest in self-education.

Also invest in stocks, real estate, blue chip crypto, gold/silver and other (obvious) good investments.

Crazy levels of passion make you wealthy

I got on a call today with the local car registration (DMV) office.

I need to change my address and pay some bills. Stan took the phone call and had the enthusiasm of a coffin carrier at a funeral.

He kept telling me what he couldn’t help me with and sounded like he hated his job. I felt like saying, “Mate, how are you going to make a decent living from this line of work?”

The call resulted in an escalation to his manager.

It’s not Stan’s fault. He just hates what he does. The way to get wealthy is to do work you love. It’s to show up with passion and energy. Why? Because passion and energy are infectious.

They spread like wildfire. And when what you do spreads like a bat virus, people hear about you and opportunities come in from every corner of the earth. Those opportunities equal money.

Attract new opportunities by doing work that makes you say hell yeah.

One income is dangerous

Most of us work a job and earn a salary.

This is seen as normal. People call this way of life “safe.” But one income isn’t safe at all. Layoffs or a bad boss can end your one income whenever they want without giving a damn.

Now, you could get another job. The trouble is if it’s a bad recession or great depression then that’s hard. You may have to survive for 6 months with no income. And given the majority of people don’t have more than $1000 in savings, that’s a tough ask.

So when people say salaries are safe it makes zero sense.

Multiple income streams is the only way to live. Here are a few examples:

  • Side hustles
  • Dividend income
  • Real estate rental income
  • Affiliate marketing checks
  • Royalties from digital products or books

Whatever you do, don’t be the sucker in an economic disaster that gets laid off and realizes the pain of one income. Do whatever you can to have multiple deposits to your bank account every month.

Wealth isn’t inherited

It’s easy to think some people are born rich.

The truth is those who inherit money almost always lose it. Money is a curse for them more than it’s a gift.

Those who make money understand business, therefore, they either own a business or invest in other people’s businesses. Forget luck and become interested in business to master money.

The rich neighbors are poor bastards

We all got a Joneses family living near us.

They’ve got the BMW, Gucci handbag, fancy holiday to Italy, and front row VIP seats at the tennis.

What you can’t see is they’re drowning in debt and can’t miss a day of work. They’re prisoners of consumerism and status. They look happy on the outside but are deeply miserable.

Stopped getting tricked by fake-rich people on Instagram.

Wealth is a measure of how much free time and happiness you have. Not whether you own a silly luxury car that’ll be worth nothing in 5 years.

This article is for informational purposes only, it should not be considered financial, tax or legal advice. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.

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