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I’ve been in the personal finance management business for quite a while, running a personal finance blog and founding a fintech startup called The Financial Manifesto LTD.
Before my meetings with attendees of our events in London, or business meetings with clients, I was often thinking of who can run successful projects related to personal finance. I came to the conclusion that it might be three types of people.
A rich and famous influencer whose message to the audience is “if you want to be rich, happy and famous like me, just follow my advice.”
An expert who showcases his or her great professional career and various certificates and says “look how great my professional achievements are; it’s worth following my advice!”
A blogger who is quite similar to their readers. They are neither rich or famous nor have any spectacular professional achievements, but they share their personal experience with money management, which is relevant to their readers.
I feel I belong to the third category. I am quite like you, but decided to explore in depth how finance works and share with you some useful insights and tools.
Exploring finance is at the same time improving financial literacy and working on your beliefs, patterns of thinking and values. Without knowing very accurately how modern finance works, you have no chance of achieving financial freedom. On the other hand, financial expertise alone is not enough to be financially successful. You also need to develop proper patterns of thinking, useful habits and productive beliefs.
There are quite a lot of dangerous, common myths about finance and business that can be real obstacles preventing you from accumulating and multiplying money. Let’s examine three of them.
Myth number 1: Finance is difficult.
The whole of our civilisation is about making our lives easy, quick and enjoyable. Almost 100% of all advertising messages try to persuade us how easy it is to take out a loan, how fast you can travel to your destination, and how fun an educational programme or online course can be, and so on. Every modern product and service is designed to make our lives effortless so we can experience more pleasures.
All these things produce a specific atmosphere we live in. That’s why whenever we consider doing something more ambitious or challenging, we often give up before we really try. We give up because we think that it is too difficult or too complicated.
The lion’s share of our financial challenges are a matter of lifestyle, not because finance is difficult. The problem is that we don’t have any serious financial education and that we are programmed to spend money and pursue pleasures.
I am not saying that finance is easy and you can learn it very quickly. But it is not rocket science, either.
The real problem is your mindset and that you have been programmed to delve into instant gratification and avoid difficult decisions.
If you learn finance for more than a couple of weeks, you may have already noticed that to be good at saving, investing or earning more money, you quite often need to focus on totally nonfinancial stuff: things like self-discipline, your life goals, your self-image, or your ability to manage risk.
When you start working on your lifestyle and making long term life goals matter in your life, then finance appears much easier to comprehend.
Myth number 2. You need to love what you do.
Since nineteenth century when Mark Twain stated “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life” we’ve come to believe that loving what we do is absolutely essential. The same thoughts have been repeated over and over again by famous business leaders such as Steve Jobs or influential coaches like Tony Robbins.
But what if you want to be successful and financially free but hate finance?
Does it mean that you can’t gain a high level of financial literacy if you don’t enjoy finance?
Yes, you can! You don’t need to love what you do. It’s enough that you understand how useful is what you do, interesting or important.
It’s good to love what we do, but it’s not actually essential.
First of all, we need to appreciate and value what we do. A more nuanced approach is the best antidote for this popular myth.
Myth number 3: Wealth is a matter of inheritance
We often give up our dreams because someone persuaded us that if our ancestors or immediate family – particularly our parents – were poor, we don’t have a chance of being really successful. There is some truth in those statements because the way we were brought up shapes our character and patterns of thinking.
But this is only one of a few important factors.
To better understand how important it is to have a rich family – or how it might be totally irrelevant, let’s have a look at a few examples.
Mark Zuckerberg’s mum is a psychiatrist and his dad is a dentist. They were quite wealthy and created a decent home and family.
But were they able to show the founder of Facebook, one of the most powerful organisations on the earth, how to run a business worth billions of dollars?
Do you know who the parents of Elon Musk, innovator and founder and cofounder of businesses such as PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX are? His father is an engineer, pilot and sailor, and his mother is a model.
And one more example – Tony Robbins, who is number one at his game in modern self-development and coaching. His dad was an alcoholic and his family lived oftentimes in total poverty. The atmosphere in Tony’s home was so bad that he left home at 17 and never looked back.
A good family is a real blessing but if you lack it, it might be a very strong motivation to make a difference and create a superb, life-changing business.
It doesn’t seem so important where we come from. What really counts is where we are going!
These three myths can very often prevent us from achieving financial freedom. And to gain this, we need to not only save and invest but first of all earn enough to realise our financial goals.
Author: Andrzej Mańka