WARNING: This article isn’t designed to help make you rich. I would recommend these wonderful links for that goal. This article intends to help you have money. A finite amount of money for a finite amount of time.
Do you wish to have money?
We all know at least one person whom you can always count on to have some cash on hand. This person may or may not be filthy rich but tends to have the important things in life covered. That’s one of the major constituents of adulthood.
Trivia: Adulthood used to be defined by sexual maturity. Today, it is directly tied to your financial stability. I’ll give you a moment to blame society.
The term Money here denotes the abstract concept of wealth, financial stability, liquidity, cash and everything else within. Having sifted through countless “get rich now” articles, most of which can be whittled down to “save and invest, wisely”, like telling someone with depression to start feeling better. Some people are simple more adept at money matters than others. However, everyone has a right to a little stability in what is otherwise a buffet of chaos.
Let me also clarify that if you actually know/knew me, you’d have injured your eyebrow muscles from all the judgemental frowning you’d have to do. I am horrible with money, always have been. I have a spending problem and an impulse control problem. However, life has a simple 2-step, “bombardment with calamity” plan that nobody can escape from. I took that opportunity to learn at least a thing or two. Which I share now. If I learn how to make it rich, I’ll be sure to share it with you all as well.
1. Where do we start?
As with any endeavor, before we can decipher where we want to go, we need to recognize where we are. To appreciate our financial standing, we need to take the following into account.
1.1. Money on Hand
Look in your wallet, your bank account, any cheques you haven’t cashed, things you’re trying to sell. The combined value of these items represent your entire cash situation. Whatever amount this constitutes to represents your life right up to this point. This is liquid cash. The agenda is to ensure that this amount grows. For some it might be enough to see through the year, while others will be lucky to see through the end of the day.
1.2. Money tied up
Some people have financials stuck in investments like real-estate, mutual funds. Others have given loans that they cannot seem to get back. Some regularly scheduled payments (bills, rent, fees, foods, etc.) that you should calculate and consider tied up as soon as your next payment comes in. This defines money that you earn, or have earned, but, cannot use elsewhere. This money you cannot have. This amount does not go into your wallet, it does not go into funding any habits or wants.
Despite its popular usage when talking about money matters, Patience is an inaccurate term for the relationship one should have with money. It carries a stench of expectation of the extraordinary. The notion that, if you wait long enough, something big will eventually happen. This thought is quite misleading. Life can worsen almost instantly, but it takes time for things to improve. Just waiting is insufficient and irresponsible. What you need is to exercise all the synonyms associated with patience. i.e. forbearance, tolerance, restraint/self-restraint, resignation, stoicism, fortitude, sufferance, endurance, et al. while you’re actively working on improving your financial situation. It’s probably better to watch an egg boil in water, than by just staring at it and hoping.
1.4. External Factors
These factors are time, opportunity, life in general and all things in between that are never truly within a human being’s control. Though one can save time, manufacture an opportunity or two, live a healthy life to increase one’s chances at a favorable outcome, nothing is guaranteed. With the acceptance of that helplessness, a realistic self-audit is an important first step.
2. How do we fix this?
2.1. Learn about yourself
A wise man once said:
the only difference between screwing around and science is writing it down.
Any time you forgo the act of writing your expenditures down, you are missing out on an opportunity to learn about yourself. There are numerous apps for this purpose, all of which can simplify the process, or if you prefer, go with the tried and tested pen and notebook methodology. Whatever the tool, you need the results. Write it down in as much detail as possible. Keep in mind that this is even less than a prophylactic measure, it is not designed to modify your financial situation. However, having data puts you in a more amicable situation.
2.2. Save, don’t penny pinch
There exists, a fine line between not spending extra on certain things and becoming a miser. The appreciation of this line helps people live reasonable lives. A miserly living makes sense for short periods of time in dire situations, but shouldn’t be a benchmark. One shouldn’t eat at a fancy restaurant every night, but one should not resort to skipping meals either. The act of saving is being able to afford to live. Don’t starve, don’t give up showering, don’t throw away your sim card. Nothing drastic. Check out this amazing reddit built around getting you to live a regular life without spending too much. The advice within is phenomenal and a precursor to this very article.
2.3. All extra money goes into a bank/investment
If you have extra money coming in through some professional or personal endeavours, then understand that this money wasn’t part of your original plan and is not going to change your life (even if it is a significant amount). So this amount must go immediately into either savings or, if you have figured out some investment scheme, there.
3. Understanding Money
This means to understand the world of finance a little better. You don’t need to become a Chartered Financial Analyst, however, you do need to better understand simple terms that can help you see where the market is going.
Money in the bank, should not be considered safe. Money will lose value just sitting there, that’s called inflation. Sooner or later, you will want to take that money and put it somewhere were it can start making money for you. If it’s a large enough amount, you can invest in real-estate. If it’s small, you can invest in other instruments and securities (a financial way of saying “opportunities”). This isn’t hands on advice, that is because there isn’t a blanketed solution that will work for everyone equally. However, if you understand finances, you can figure this out yourself better than any internet article can advise you.
3.3 Nobody is perfect
Everyone is always hemorrhaging money. Some manage to bring it down to a leak, while others just open the floodgates and end up without it soon. I’ve seen people gain and spend millions without ever analyzing their lives and I have seen people go from poverty to riches without really making any real change. The point is never to bank on things to change for you. The idea is to understand that mistakes happen and if you do fall, pick yourself up, take a deep breath, dust yourself off and start all over again. If people universally possessed the ability to differentiate between smart and dumb choices when it comes to money, poverty would face obsolescence.
3.3 Always evaluate
Think of every expenditure in long-term. Will it be cheaper to buy a car now or travel by careem/uber for the next 5 years? Time is already money, the longer it passes, the more you lose. Can you turn it around and gain money with the passage of time?
Any way, this is pretty much where I am so far. I am happy to integrate any feedback and make improvements to both my life and my advice. Hopefully someone will benefit from this. Keep well people.
I am Adi and these were my two cents. They were my last, so I’d like them back