Teach me how to use money

Schools and universities are great places and teach us so much, but often fail to instil some basic life skills. One such life skill is understanding money.

Sounds simple, right? We spend it, and many of us do that well… perhaps too well. Many people get themselves into trouble with credit cards, ZipPay, AfterPay or buying depreciating assets like cars – often with the debt becoming greater than the asset itself. Others want an easy solution – a get rich quick strategy rather than adopt the “good behaviour over a long period of time” philosophy. Unfortunately, the former often leads to significant losses. Many people have killed their credit rating by 25 years of age, and others are gradually doing so without even realising it.

My favourite saying is, “most people buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like with money they don’t have”. When we break it down, this is driven by our ego – I deserve it, so I’m going to have it. My question is, “why do you deserve it?”.

Albert Einstein said that compounding interest is the eighth wonder of the world. Interest on interest, and indeed he was right. However, many of us use this philosophy in reverse (interest on interest – on debt and not saving).

A good investment starts when we get past our ego, stick our hand up and say: teach me how to use money!

by Conrad Voss – Head of Business Development and Advice – Stream Financial