When you think of your finances, how do you feel? Does it prompt feelings of assurance, security and control? Or does it keep you awake at 3am, overwhelming your tired brain with swimming thoughts of anxiety, complication and a burning desire to run away? If it’s the latter, you might fall into the category of the financially illiterate—and it will probably feel like a damn tough pill to swallow.
Your attitude towards money is one of the many things that subtly shifts as you travel through your early twenties and into your thirties. Short-term goals such as having sufficient dollar to go out, keep up with the latest high-street fashions and fund a wild girl’s holiday slowly but surely fall by the wayside thanks to bigger fish to fry (ie. the longer term stuff). Stuff like property, savings, deposits, retirement funds and rearing small humans plus the tirade of associated costs that come with them.
If your feelings of fiscal ignorance make you defensive and anxious, it’s time to reclaim control over your situation. Now let us just say; we’re not here to tell you which super fund you should be using and where you should be investing your hard-earned cash (we’ll let the Barefoot Investor do the talking on that one), we’re just here to show you that when it comes to money, ignorance does not equal bliss.
Here’s how to overcome feelings of financial illiteracy once and for all:
For some reason, financial savvy-ness is widely seen as something you either have or you don’t; and that’s something that needs to change. Like most things, money management is a skill that can be cultivated with dedication, time and effort. If you’re trying to learn Mandarin, you don’t just expect to suddenly be fluent with little to no effort. Money management is the same; you just gotta buckle down, delve into some resources and work on it. Check out financial expert, Canna Campbell’s tips on how to save $32,000 in a year, regardless of your salary.
Thanks to good, old-fashioned capitalism, the society we live in inherently associates financial success with being a good person. But in truth, the two are completely unrelated. Having a bad relationship with money doesn’t make you a worse person, it just means that you have a bad relationship with money.
Once you come to the realisation that financial literacy is more of a skill to be learned than a built-in personality trait, you can start to forgive yourself for your lack of money management up until now—and start afresh.
You know what they say—acceptance is the first step. Accepting that your financial situation is the way that it is is crucial to moving forward and taking control of your financial future.
Know that being financially-savvy is about more than just paying your bills. It’s about planning for the future, and giving yourself to the feeling of security that comes with being financially literate.
On a practical level, you’ve got to take stock of your current position. Like, really take stock. Don’t just tot up a few totals in your head; roughly matching your ingoings and outgoings and hope for the best. Sit down, make a spreadsheet and include everything you earn, everything you spend, set some realistic goals and then see where you can make adjustments.
As we said, ignorance does not equal bliss.