Do you have the right attitude toward personal finance?

Personal finance

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This is an insightful thought, but I can’t take credit for it. A good friend and I were discussing investment options, and he pointed out the following:

The big problem with personal finance [is] it’s so tightly tied to the individual situations, needs, and desires of people that very few concepts are universal. Plus, people who don’t have any financial plan get caught up trying to find the perfect one, can’t, then don’t implement any plan at all. People don’t view it as an evolving process, they just want a solution.

I think this observation is right on. I’ve been there myself. Ignorance is bliss until you realize you need to do something about the (usually large) amount of money you owe or haven’t managed, and then it’s as if you’re suddenly burdened with a huge weight that you’d been able to happily ignore until that point. Coupled with this is the fear of making Big Mistakes, despite the fact that almost any action you could take would probably be better than the complete lack of action on your part until then.

At least, that was what I went through when I realized I needed to learn to invest. First I tried my usual and impatient just-tell-me-what-to-do approach, then got frustrated with the overwhelming amount of information out there. Ultimately, I realized that if I was going to do this right, I had to accept that money management was a necessary but imperfect experiential process that improves with each step, and accept that I’d stumble from time to time. No one else could do it but me, and it had to be done, so why not enjoy it?

So stay calm and focused, contain those fears, and learn as much as you can along the way. And with any luck, it will be a fruitful and fairly enjoyable ride.


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2 Feedbacks on "Do you have the right attitude toward personal finance?"


I suggest people get a copy of “The Wealthy Barber” by David Chilton. Too many “personal finance” books are more philosophy than finance, or are so detailed that your eyes glaze over. Follow this one with “The Four Pillars of Investing” by William Bernstein, “Commonsense on Mutual Funds’ by Bogle, and JK Lassers “Your Winning Retirement Plan’ by Hebeler. Those 4 books provide a well rounded outlook.


Thanks very much for the book recommendations. The person whom I quoted above actually highly recommended The Wealthy Barber as well. I’ll have to look into it myself!


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