Everyone has a money story. Everyone has a story behind their relationship with money. I want to share my money story with you today.
Financial Education in the United States
Do you deal with finances on a day to day basis?
I know I do, we all deal with finances on daily basis whether we want to or not.
Ironically, I bet you have never taken a formalized course on personal finance!
Usually, money management and personal finance courses are electives in school. Most financial education has been from people who don’t know anything about personal finance: our friends, our famliy, and the media. There are no personal finance questions on standardized testing. So much for No Child Left Behind… most adults are being left behind.
My Money Story
I’m going to share with you my money story. I’m going to be vulnerable with you and share my upbringing and how I learned about money. In addition, I will share with you how personal finance has became a passion of mine.
A Child Math Whiz
I loved math growing up. At a young age, I would spend time with my dad by going through addition and multiplication problems at the dinner table and on car rides. I would answer problems like 9 x 7, 4 x 4, 12 x 12, etc. This was very fun for me and something I practiced daily (yes, I am a HUGE NERD :)).
When I was doing these exercises with my dad, I didn’t realize I was learning the most important concept of personal finance: COMPOUNDING. 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, 16384, 32768, 65536, 131072, 262144, 524288, 1048576, 2097152… This is the power of compounding. I didn’t realize it, but I was being exposed to such a powerful concept. When compounding is used appropriately, it can build tremendous wealth.
This was my first exposure to the magic of compounding.
My First Interactions with Personal Finance
Fast forward to my first “real” job at 15, I was bagging groceries making $7.15 an hour plus tips. Back then, life was simple. My money was spent on food, movies, video games, and activities/adventures. But, I was living paycheck to paycheck. As soon as I got paid, I would go eat at Chipotle, see a movie, or go buy a new video game.
Then I started dating and my expenses really ramped up… there was twice as much going out to dinner, buying flowers, and oh yeah, jewelry for special occasions!
As a sophomore in high school, I took a Personal Finance class. We covered the details of compound interest and the simple rule of 72. We also learned the basics of building a budget, adjusting that budget, and writing checks for expenses! This is when I started to take control of MY MONEY.
My First Big Purchase
At this point, I had some powerful knowledge at my disposal. I already knew how to spend, and now I knew how to budget and save!
The first thing I saved up and bought was an Xbox. The Xbox was $300 plus another $60 for Halo. This is a lot of money for a high schooler working 15 hours a week. It took me about a month to save up the money and buy it. When that day arrived it was an invigorating feeling: not only did I have an Xbox, but I earned it myself!
Learning Finance (Not Personal) in College
In college, I majored in accounting and took every high level finance class I could. What’s interesting, the concepts taught in these classes are not applicable to individuals. Finance and accounting majors can tell you about the tax treatment of some obscure business transaction. Most of them probably can’t tell you how to budget and save for your goals and dreams. This is not right.
My Self-Taught Personal Finance Education
The fact that many people don’t know anything about personal finance bothers me. I have always loved talking about money and the exchange of money. I would play Monopoly with my brother for hours, I used to barter with other players in Runescape, and always traded to get the best candies after Trick or Treating during Halloween.
My free time in my early 20’s was spent reading personal finance books and self-educating myself. When I realized most people were struggling with a tremendous amount of debt and living paycheck to paycheck, I realized I needed to wake up and get educated. “Keeping up with the Joneses” was not how I wanted to live my life.
I learned about real estate and bought a house at 25. I realized to be financially free, I would have to save and put my money to work for me. Compound interest is a beautiful thing!
Still, There Was Something Missing
I never understood why people are so hesitant to talk about money. As I grew up, it dawned on me more and more, money is a taboo subject. It’s not acceptable to talk about money. This frustrates me.
Politics used to be a taboo subject until recently with our new President. I’m glad to say many people are waking up and looking to get in control of their lives. This being said, the topic of money is not brought up as often as it should be.
We Need Better Personal Financial Education
WE NEED BETTER FINANCIAL EDUCATION – especially, personal finance. Our world is dramatically changing with improvements to technology, access to information, and the abundance to literally do almost anything you want. Yes, there is even a market for Pet Psychologists!
Many people are being held back from pursuing their passions because they are stuck in a job to pay down debt, to put food on the table, or because they want to “Keep up with the Joneses”.
According to The Conference Board as of 2014, 52.3% of Americans were unhappy with their jobs.
According to the National Institution of Health, Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S.. These anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults, 18% of the population.
Could this be a mere correlation or is there something in common with both of these scenarios? I will speculate and say if people had the financial means to pursue their passions, many more people would be happy.
Something has to change.
The Mastermind Within’s Calling
My hope and goal is to humanize personal finance and make it acceptable to discuss your finances with other people without being judged. Who cares if I make $50,000 and you make $70,000. Who cares if you have $10,000 in credit card debt and I have $2,000. We can all grow from having these conversations.
We at the Mastermind Within are passionate about helping spread financial education around the world. The strategies of personal finance are a truth which very few people know about. We want to help build people’s financial knowledge by creating a community where information and ideas can flow between members.
Right now, Erik and I are working on a 5-day free Mini Course on Personal Finance which you will not want to miss out on. This will be an in-depth crash course on personal finance as it applies to your personal situation. Look forward to this in the coming weeks!
I’ll leave you with a quote that is very powerful for me. I truly want to help others. Personal finance is also a passion of mine. I will combine these two to create something wonderful.
“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.” – Steve Jobs
Thank You for Reading My Money Story
Thank you for stopping by and for reading my money story! I really enjoyed writing this post.
What’s your money story? Why is money a taboo subject to talk about? What has to change for people to wake up?