Most people don't know enough about money.
A recent Ph.D told me his story: "Daniel, I'm 30 and I've been going to school for 25 years total. I never learned about money until I had to pay my debt. With my combined college and credit card debts, I'm paying a little over $2,000 per month. I thought my college degree would get me out of the rat race. Sure, I have a $100,000 per year job, but how can I ever have financial freedom?"
Imagine that: A Ph.D cannot enjoy his money until he pays his debts off by age 35! Most of the times, we never really learn any practical tips about money from society. Our parents, teachers, and bosses have failed to teach us these basic precepts that we need to live a successful life. We end up getting stuck with our money, guessing our way through our financial debacles.
On TV, the pundits show the stock markets. They float around unfamiliar terms that the majority of people would never bother understanding. Other times, we hear about retirement plans, which means nothing to the average millennial. Becoming rich seems to be impossible because there are no practical teachings in our educational systems.
What must we do is understand how our personal finances really work, but we cannot do it by evading the entire topic. Obviously, there's a deep need for educational reform in this area. If you're looking to learn more about personal finances, here are the 5 secrets most people don't know about money:
1. Parents teach money values
Most of our financial behaviors start with our parents. Several months ago, I was shopping for a laptop. My father's voice came into my head: "Son, don't get the warranty. It's a waste of money since you won't need it. They're just trying to up-sell you." Of course, I didn't get the warranty because I believed my Dad's voice.
Almost every material possession that you buy tends to go through the "parent's approval" process. Most people do not purchase certain goods and services simply because they know their parents would never approve of it. However, this way of thinking can often become detrimental if it stops you from learning the truth about money.
Most of our parent's have taught us to "play it safe." They tell us to go to school and get a job. First-generation children have an extremely hard time with their parents because of this. I personally receive many letters from young adults who claim that their parents would throw a dysfunctional fit if they didn't receive their college degree. All of this results in a false obligation to please their parents.
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2. College isn't the answer
The average college student graduates at 22, but works to pay off college loan at nearly $300 per month for approximately 20 years. As they approach their debt-free days, usually in their 40's, their desires for the "good life" has become so strong that they usually squander the extra money they have by indulging on extra expenditures for themselves and their families.
By the time they reach their mid-40's, they fall into a mid-life crisis. At this point, they've realized that all they've worked for is money. Yes, while some people attend school to gain knowledge and credentials, some simply go because of the "love of money." Because of this, some of them fall into a nervous breakdown, which may either lead to constructive or destructive behaviors.
I have never let schooling get in the way of my education. - Mark Twain
Either way, college isn't the answer to financial freedom. It usually leaves you poor. Most people end up learning irrelevant information and unusable skills. You're better off reading dozens of books, attending conferences, and hiring a life or business coach, which would cost you a fraction of the amount of school. Plus, you'll learn far more about money by owning your education.
3. Get rid of the 'someday mentality'
Many people have the "Someday Mentality." This is when they see a nice home and they say, "Someday, I'll be able to afford that home." With this mindset, you've separated yourself emotionally from owning that home, which means that you have assumed that your self-esteem is not there yet.
Instead, you should say, "That home is mine right now and I'll do whatever it takes to get it." This attitude reflects your belief that the house (or one like it) is yours for the taking. Once affirmed in your mind, all of your actions will lead you obtaining your desire, if wished upon strongly enough.
Moreover, many people wait for external circumstances to occur before they take action: tax checks, children's graduations, end of car payments, etc. This habit of waiting for "someday" limits you substantially and keeps you from the ultimate good that has your name written all over it. Assume that you have all things now and you'll have it sooner than you think!
4. Wealth is a choice
It's your choice to be wealthy. No one can make that choice for you. However, most people have never made this decision -- simply because they don't know that they can. The easiest way to decide is to accept that you want a certain lifestyle. Once you do that, you must develop goals, which should also outline a plan-of-action for its attainment.
Often, people cannot make a choice about wealth because they are caught up in their addictive behaviors. They end up wasting time and money by excessively pursuing unworthy endeavors: drugs, sex, gambling, oversleeping, entertainment, and other deleterious behaviors. These addictions cloud your mind and prohibit clear thinking.
The choice of wealth cannot be avoided. Those who don't make the choice will be confused for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, most people have taken the vow of poverty (unknowingly), but they've still made the choice. By making a choice of wealth, you'll only pursue wealthy and profitable activities, thereby reducing and eliminating unprofitable ones.
5. Avoid erroneous thinkers
Many people have erroneous beliefs about money. There are many false teachers who have taught that having money is not good, leaving many people to feel guilty about becoming wealthy. These instigators jump to conclusions and assume that nearly ALL rich people are bad.
When they see people with money, they say that something must be "lacking" in their lives, since having so much money seems too good to be true. However, you should never be discouraged by having money. Money is good and anyone telling you that you shouldn't have it probably doesn't have it themselves.
Many times, you can end up doing more good for society by having it, also making more friends in the process. Money allows you to become more of who you are, fulfilling your life's purpose. Instead of conforming to the habits, behaviors, and philosophies of other people, seek a new direction by befriending those who understands what wealth is all about.
As you pursue a prosperous life, learn about your attitudes and behaviors regarding money. Oftentimes, you'll be able to catch yourself and make the necessary adjustments. Eventually, you'll become wealthier because you've studied and applied the truths to enhance your relationship with money. When you do, send me a note. I'd love to hear your story.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor.
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