Getting more value from your money: Prologue

My previous posts on this blog have been focused on more internal skills. Ways to improve how you see the world and how you see yourself.

That’s because these are the foundational skills of any world changer. The better you can see, the better you can realize what you can do.

This short series though, is focused on an external skill. It is a “how to” series.

Talking about things you can do (whether you understand the principles behind it or not) to change your world for the better.As a “How To” it is longer and more detailed than usual, which is why I have broken it into multiple parts. They are almost all ready. I will be editing and posting them over the next few days

An interesting thing happens when talking with people about managing money.

When you ask the question “How good are you with money?” Everyone’s answer is the same.

“Roughly Average.” they say.

Some think they are slightly above average, some think they are slightly below average.

“The real problem,” they will say “is that I just need to make a bit more money and everything will be perfect”.

However, the truth we rarely get the chance to see, is that we are really many, many miles apart.

And yes, “Everyone” included me. I always thought I was “a bit above average” actually.

As a Nigerian, I grew up in a culture that constantly talks about ways to make money and ways to invest it.

Growing up, I had also heard enough warning stories to let me know that debt could quickly become an awfully painful thing.

Right from my days making minimum wage, my bills were always paid on time.

Every now and then, there may have been the small unexpected emergency, and I’d have to use a credit card to pay. But I always made sure I could afford the monthly payments.

As my income increased, my quality of life did improve. However, I still never had any significant savings.

Instead, my credit card debt, and other personal loan debt, kept increasing (even when I took more loans to “consolidate my debt”). But that must be normal right?

The first sign that I may have been much worse than I thought came in a discussion with a friend of mine. (She’s not a Nigerian).

We worked at the same company, with similar jobs. So, her pay may have been higher than mine, but would have been in the same ballpark.

She had just bought a new house and we were talking about it.

Me: “Oh, I didn’t know you were shopping for house.”

Her: “Yeah I wasn’t. My sister was shopping for a house. So last Saturday, I went with her to see some new apartments that were being built. They looked nice so I bought one too.”

Me: “…,  …” <<Thud!>>

Her: “Oh God! Someone help us! He’s fainted!! Can you hear me? Don’t go into the light!”

(My memory of that last part is a bit fuzzy.)

Yeah, she had left her home one morning, just hanging out with her sister. By the time she got back home, she was the proud owner of a nice, soon-to-be-built, new flat. With the down payment fully paid!

Meanwhile, I was working on a two-year plan to try and save my own down payment for my first house!

It seemed I may have still had a bit to learn.

So first, in order to figure out how useful this post will be for you, we need to ask the question, just how good are you with money?

I know, I know, you are roughly average. 😋

Okay, let’s ask it a different way.

If you had to leave your job or business today, do you have enough cash in your bank account to last you at least three months?

(Credit cards and overdrafts don’t count.)

If your answer is “No, not really.”
Then there is definitely useful stuff in this series for you.

If your answer is “Ummm…, 3 months? That doesn’t include my other savings account, right?”
Then there might be interesting stuff for you here, but you sound like you’re doing okay.

Let’s get started:

The full “Getting More Value from Your Money” series

>> Prologue
>> Part 1: On Being broke
>> Part 2: Measure, Measure, Measure
>> Part 3: The power is yours
>> Part 4: The YNAB method
>> Part 5: Catalysts
>> Epilogue


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