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10 Things About Money I Wish I Could Travel Back in Time and Tell Myself

by | Jul 10, 2023 | Money, Personal Finance

Time travel isn’t possible (yet).

But it’s still helpful to think about what you’d go back and learn at an earlier age if you could.

I only got smart with money in my 30s. Had I learned about money in my 20s, I’d probably never have to work again. Such is life.

Here are the surprising things I’d share with myself if I could time travel.

The cringiest thing *never* to do with money

If you dare put on your archaeologist hat and visit Facebook, you’ll notice something weird. Dudes sharing pictures of themselves in business class either in the lounge or on the plane.

They’ll say where they’re going and go “see you soon.”

What they meant to say is “I’m better than you because I can blow money on expensive flights and you can’t.”

You should pity these people.

Wasting money to upgrade status is the fastest way to stop yourself from ever being wealthy. If you must fly first class because you’ve got a bad back, just shut up about it. No need for photos that scream I’m richer than you.

Money can make you go mad

Betcha didn’t expect this one.

I think a lot about psychology and how it drives the world. One way to ruin your psychology is with money. I should know because that’s exactly what I did in my 20s.

I let a successful startup go to my head. I bought crocodile skin shoes and talked down to employees and customers.

Famous investor Charlie Munger says the problem for most of us isn’t getting rich. That’s easy. The problem is staying sane.

Money can make you go insane.

Money can amplify your ego and destroy your focus. Don’t let money ruin you. Money is an enabler of freedom, not a measuring stick for success or self-worth.

Books can make you rich, but not from the book sales

Tim Ferriss is a god to some.

I like him but I wouldn’t kiss his hairy feet (just saying). Tim wrote a book called The 4-Hour Workweek. He went on to become wealthy.

Many people believe he got rich from the book sales. What they don’t know is after the publisher takes their cut, there are only scraps left over.

Even if you sell millions of books, you probably won’t be able to pay cash for Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. Such is life.

Recently, Tim shared the source of his wealth on a podcast. He became wealthy after the book came out because he got access to startup investment opportunities that no one else could access — Uber, Shopify, Duolingo, etc.

“Founders” podcaster David Senra also had the same experience. His simple podcast full of book reviews made him wealthy. It’s not the ads or the affiliate links to buy books that got him there. No.

It’s also the startup investing opportunities. And meme social media account, Bored Elon, said his account is worth $20M because of the connections for investment deals.

So the lesson is to build things that strengthen your network. That’s why digital assets such as newsletters and podcasts are so important.

Direct monetization online is a distraction.

In-direct monetization is where it’s at.

“Inflation is too high” is a sentence that’s completely misunderstood

Inflation is the boogie monster everyone is afraid of.

Thanks to inflation, interest rates went sky-high to slay the ugly beast. Finance expert Matt Darling has a brilliant explanation for why the masses misunderstand inflation.

“Inflation is too high” translates to the average person as “I would like goods to be cheaper.”

Inflation affects the costs of goods, sure, but there’s way more to it than that. Everything from the growth in wages to how much money is circulating through the economy is affected by inflation.

Most don’t understand that when money is created out of nowhere by central banks to pay for disasters — like a bat virus or banking collapse — it puts more money into the economy and that creates speculation and fake optimism. All of this can lead to high prices.

The key is to understand inflation in detail because it affects how much money you’ll have over your lifetime and the degradation rate on every dollar you have stored.

If inflation were simple, everyone would understand it. It’s complex by design.

The difference between 6 and 7 figure earners online

The internet has meant that anybody can make money fast. What I’ve noticed over the last 9 years is there are two types of people.

  • One person makes 6 figures and then gaslights everyone else who hasn’t had their same success. They brag. They flex. They take selfies.
  • The other type of person makes 6 figures and stays humble. They don’t make a big deal of it. Instead, they use their new income as a way to get around 7, 8, and 9-figure people.

Become the second type of person. They’re not a d*ck.

More importantly, they understand the power of networks and learning from people smarter than them. This allows them to access time freedom sooner and not think about money as much.

It’s not about how much you earn

If you make $80,000 and then spend $78,000, you are broke compared with someone who earns $40,000 and spends $10,000.

The money leftover that’s available to invest is what counts.

Spending most or all of your money is a disease that causes you to play status games. What you want to play are wealth games. So manage your money in a way that forces you to spend less.

I look financially stupid because of this

I used to drive luxury cars.

BMWs were my favorite. 12 years ago I sold my car. My aunty gave me her 10 year old car to look after for a while. It looked like a nanna-mobile.

Friends, family, and neighbors made all sorts of comments. “What happened Timbo? Are you broke now?”

Then 8 years ago when the car reached the end of its life, I bought the most basic brand new Honda Civic money can buy because there were no second-hand ones available.

On the outside I looked poorer. But those who are financially smart knew what was really going on.

The secret benefit of a piece of crap house

Millionaire startup founder Nick Huber surprised people with a similar story when he revealed he still lives in a house he bought in 2017 for $289k.

The reason for his decision is, a low mortgage makes the battle of entrepreneurship less stressful.

If he makes a few big business mistakes, it’s unlikely to cost him his house. That’s the reason I recently bought a humble home for a third of the debt the bank was willing to lend me.

  1. I don’t need a fancy house.
  2. Less debt equals less stress. I can take more punches to the face and not have my 7 month old baby lose her home the way I did at 12 years old.

Humble accommodation creates a life of less stress. You age slower when you’re not so damn stressed out all the time.

Stay away from these types of investments

Investing is a great way to climb the money ladder faster.

But some investments create a lot of stress too. It’s why I don’t own an investment property. Dealing with random house repairs and used car salesmen known as real estate agents is my idea of hell.

Tim Ferriss gave similar advice recently.

A good night’s sleep is worth more than some sh*tcoin crypto that’s pumping and dumping every few days. It’s one reason I’ve slowed down with crypto investing and gone back to the blue chips.

It’s too stressful.

There are more important things to me, like caring for a baby. Perhaps you can relate. Think about money in terms of how it increases stress.

Social media is a mirage

The typical advice online is to build a personal brand.

The grifters who peddle this nonsense also love to talk about how rich they are. They even tie personal branding to net worth. LOL.

As Alex Becker said in a tweet, most 9-figure individuals have no social media accounts or less than 10 followers.

The size of your social media following has nothing to do with financial success. Often, it’s an inverse correlation. The more followers equals the more broke and desperate someone is.

Just read timeless books on money if you want to learn to be wealthy. Start with the book “The Psychology of Money.”

That’s the last thing I’d tell myself if I could travel back in time and give my former self a slap in the face about money.

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