The third ingredient contributing to our everyday happiness (read part 1) is financial control.
Money isn't everything but having enough to meet our own needs as well as to give away to others can create a sense of happiness and freedom in our lives. This has nothing to do with our 'net worth' or waiting until we get that next raise or bonus. It's about how we are managing the resources we currently have. Money is a terrific servant but it can be a cruel taskmaster if we allow it control us.
Thankfully, we don't have to wait until we have more money. We can start having a sense of financial control … beginning today. It's about having a common-sense plan that's based on hard work, saving, controlling our expenses, paying down our debts and investing wisely. Anxiety can disappear and, in a matter of time, you can know what it is to be financially free.
Unfortunately, we don't automatically have the financial acumen we need for life when we graduate from high school. Sure, we know a little math and maybe a bit about economics, but young people today often don't learn the keys to good financial management while growing up, unless their parents took the time to teach them and model the way. Thankfully, there are tools and resources to help us acquire the knowledge that we need. And it's never too late to learn.
A few helpful resources for Australians are:
- The Barefoot Investor: The Only Money Guide You Will Ever Need by Scott Pape.
- Making Money: The Keys to Financial Success by Paul Clitheroe.
- Money Magazine – a monthly publication with a wealth of advice and insight on a range of financial matters. Why not borrow a copy from your local library.
Yes, for less than $60 you can acquire all the knowledge and skills you need to gain financial control. That's well worth it.
Did you know that (all are recent statistics from Scott Pape's book mentioned above):
- The majority of Australians pay $515 a year in bank fees. Over 10 years, that's $5,150, enough money to take you on a really good holiday somewhere!
- Your super fund can gobble up a third of your savings in fees. Approximately 90% of Australians don't choose where their super money is invested, so they end up in their fund's default option.
- The average wage in Australia is $78,832 (the top 0.28% of the richest people in the world by income) yet 62% of us believe we can't afford to buy everything we really need.
- Australians on average live in the biggest homes in the world. And we need a lot of stuff to fill those homes. And we are one of the biggest waste producers in the world – second only to the USA.
- Australia has the highest rate of household debt in the world.
- Only 7% of Australians have the right amount of insurance.
- Most Australians aren't ready to retire financially. Although having the richest people on the planet, one in three retirees lives in poverty due to the high cost of living and many run out of savings 13 years before they die … one of the worst results in the world.
Thankfully, it doesn't have to be that way. People are often destroyed through lack of knowledge. That's why it is important to "get wisdom". Get around people who know more than you do and be humble enough to ask questions. Be willing to learn. Have a teachable attitude. You can learn anything … if you only give it a go.
Your money is just that – YOUR money. You got out of bed in the morning, went to work, and earned your paycheck. Why not learn to manage those resources better so you can achieve a greater degree of financial control? It is possible. You can do it. I'll be cheering you on. You'll be glad you did.
P.S. For some more insights on the topic of finance, be sure to check my 3 BLOG posts on Money Talks.