Personal finance lessons?

by Jun 27, 2018Life & Money Q&As

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How has learning about personal finance changed the way you manage your money?

The main lessons I’ve learnt from a career in personal are the importance of
recognising and living by key tenets, values and principles for dealing with my money.

This was certainly a tricky question and I feel I could have written a whole book about the answer. For me learning about money and improving financial literacy is a top priority. In the end, I chose to answer the questions by setting out some key tenets or principles for dealing with money.

A short question with a long answer. If nothing else, its has helped me to develop a number of principles around managing money and these inform and guide my decisions about the management of my money in a way that never happened in the past.

Let me set some of these out for you:

Spirit of money

  • Money must be a means to an end, not an end in itself
  • Letting go is essential to transforming my life and money
  • A good financial plan will help me to live in the moment and be really present in the here and now by compensating for regrets for the past and neutralising fear of the future
  • Money is a pawn of the ego. This often leads to poor or even damaging life and financial decisions. Compassion for self and others provides a better decision making environment
  • True wealth comes from investment in myself, rather than investment in financial assets
  • Taking personal responsibility for my decisions and control of my affairs is non-negotiable


  • I have to plan my finances to support my profound life goals, and I cannot change my life without addressing my finances
  • Don’t delay achieving my goals; I don’t know what tomorrow might bring. There must be a balance between achieving important goals in the short term and being responsible for long-term financial security (see Financial Organisation)
  • Usually, my most profound life goals are centred around family and friends; they can require a lot of time without costing much in financial terms

Planning and organisation

  • Plans set boundaries for my time and money; boundaries might have to be drawn tight initially and can be expanded as my life and finances become stronger. I can find freedom within these boundaries
  • A financial plan helps me organise my finances to ensure I always have the right money in the right place at the right time to achieve my important and profound goals as quickly and efficiently as possible
  • Planned and controlled spending lies at the heart of a successful financial plan
  • Plan only those things I can control; plan for those things I cannot control
  • Financial peace of mind is achieved by understanding my current personal and financial situation; even if its not good, at least I know it and can do something about it
  • A financial framework and structure is the route to personal freedom

Products and investments

  • The test for whether a financial product is right for me is whether it will support or hinder me in the achievement of my life goals
  • Portfolio success should be measured in terms of the achievement of my profound life goals, not by investment returns or performance relative to a benchmark
  • Of the two key threats to a portfolio, short-term volatility and long-term inflation, inflation is the most insidious and dangerous and means that I must have a long-term exposure to real assets (equities, property) in spite of the short-term volatility risk

Photo by Federico Respini on Unsplash

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