Some people just seem to be naturally good with money. They’re always on top of their budget, and no matter what life throws at them, they manage to have a full wallet and a comfortable lifestyle. For many of us, however, managing our money is one big mystery. If you’re sick of scratching your head every time you have to deal with your personal finances, here are a few simple steps to teach yourself about personal finances, even if you have no idea where to start.
Identify your Pain Points
If you set out trying to be an all-round expert on personal finances, you’d burn yourself out very quickly. This is certainly true if you’ve felt the need to seek out this post! For many people, the best way to move towards greater financial literacy is starting with a single, manageable issue. Sometimes, it can be handy to talk it out with someone you trust, who’s been in the same place as you. Picking apart this one issue is often the easiest way to get to the root of the problem. If you’re always up to your nose in credit card debt, look into tips to become more disciplined with your spending. If you’ve had a tough time managing your finances through retirement, and now you’re worried about what you’ll leave your next of kin, check out some tips for effective estate planning. Whatever your financial pain points are, pick just one, and focus on it.
Fill your Mind with Success Stories
Start browsing blogs like this one, personal finance forums, and even certain pages on social media, for stories of people who got through the same issues you’re facing right now. Look for details, and really dig into the precise method they used to solve their problems. For starters, reading these kinds of success stories can be inspirational, and reframe your current situation in a much more positive light. Secondly, the more you read, the more you’ll begin to pick up patterns in these success stories. This will naturally help you discern what works and doesn’t, expanding your knowledge of personal finances. While tips and tricks can get you some of the way, hearing personal stories, and understanding others’ mindsets, can be very conducive to expanding your knowledge.
Make a Plan
Like many other people, reading up on personal finances might make you feel thoroughly disheartened. So much of the advice depends on having spare money, which you may not have. For now, that is. To make the situation feel a little brighter, try jotting down all the advice that applies to you, and dividing this into things you’ll do immediately, and things you’ll do in the future. Focus on the most accessible steps, for example cutting down on frivolous spending. Then, gradually move onto investments and other steps that require money, gradually building up to the most demanding advice. Just remember that while planning is important, it needs to be followed up with action. Don’t fall into the tempting “I’ll do it later” trap!