Those of you who have been around my blog for a while have already read my money story and read about my many college money mistakes. It was soon after making all of these mistakes that I enrolled in finance 101. That semester when I took personal financial management / finance 101 changed my life. So many things became so clear to me that I had learned all wrong growing up.
Finance 101 or personal financial management, was honestly not a class I was excited to take. Once I started this class though I knew it was different than what I had expected and that it would help to forever change my view on money. I can honestly say that my college personal finance class has helped to shape my future. Although many people go to classes and just try to get through, that was not the case for me especially this time. In fact for me this class was so different from any class that I had ever experienced. It answered so many questions and opened my eyes to things I never knew that I even needed to know. I believe every high school student should be required to take this class before they even enter college.
I could tell after this first class that this class that I would learn a lot, because the concepts taught in this class were something no one had ever shared with me before. My first college finance class changed my perspective on financial management and therefore helped to change the course of my future. Not every child has been properly educated on the way that money works and I was definitely one of these kids.
I will not go into great details about my past, but I will say my education growing was not the greatest. So for me college and everything I learned there was very eye opening to say the least. I ended up taking a lot of courses in my first year of college just to get me to the level that most high school students would probably have been at upon graduating. It was really tough at times, but it really made me care that much more about my education. Because of the education that I was lacking growing up I had a thirst for education and really valued what I was being taught.
By the time I started college I had already struggled through my first jobs and signed up for a few credit cards. I had moved out on my own shortly after starting college and had begun to make a lot of big financial mistakes. So my very first personal finance class opened my eyes to so many things regarding managing my finances that sadly I should have been aware of before. In this class I learned about how to properly use credit cards, how interest rates work and what they mean, what your credit score means and how it is affected. None of this was familiar to me before I took this class and sadly I do not think I am the only college student to have this experience. We really need to prioritize talking with our children about these things before they move onto college. You might not think they will care or that they are ready, but you couldn’t be more wrong. This can make or break your child’s future if you do not prepare them in advance. It is not entirely the school and colleges that are responsible to teach these things either, it is our responsibility as parents to prepare our kids for the real world and how to handle money. So although I believe a personal finance class is important for everyone to take if it is available to them, I also believe we as parents hold some responsibility for this education as well.
These are things that as a high school student I knew absolutely nothing about, but sadly I believe high school students need to. By the time you start college you are already getting credit card offers and making financial choices, so it’s important to be educated before making these choices. One piece of advice I can give anyone in high school and college is this, if you have not taken a personal finance class you really do need one. I don’t care how much you think you know about finance already, you never know what you could learn and what can still help. You really could potentially learn something very important about your finances, that you may have never known otherwise. Even the cost of the finance class can be eventually be paid for by the valuable money saving knowledge you can obtain.
I attended a community college which honestly is far cheaper than most, but my instructor did an excellent job With this class. One of the books used for this class changed my perspective on money forever. The Millionaire next door became a financial management guide for me in a lot of ways, because of all the things I learned from it. My perspective was forever changed by this book, and it really had a huge impact on how I view income earned as well as money saved.
The concept that you can be a surgeon making hundreds of thousands every year and still not be rich, had never honestly crossed my mind. It is in how you learn to handle you finances that you can actually remain wealthy. My eyes were opened to the fact that I could be a millionaire myself just by saving more and spending less. I still amazes me that the guy that makes five times what I make, may never achieve financial independence simply because he doesn’t control his money.
You really do need to learn to control your own money, so that the mismanagement of your finances does not forever control you. If you want financial independence and are hoping to change your financial situation, you want to start today by making the changes many are not willing to make. The best way to look at your finances is to view financial management differently than everyone else. Is everyone else a millionaire? No they aren’t and to be honest our world pushes consumerism on everyone all the time. So what will get you to where the wise, wealthy millionaires are today? You have to think and act differently than everyone else does. When you find everyone else is doing one thing, you want to think critically about the effect of your financial decisions and make decisions based on what is best for you. The best way to manage your finances is not always the most popular way, but in doing things differently than others you can achieve something far greater also. The key here is to accept good sound financial advice from others you trust, don’t follow the crowd and learn to think critically about your financial decisions. Don’t fall for get rich quick schemes (they never work anyways) and learn to work hard everyday at whatever you do.
Save money whenever possible and do not try to keep up with the things owned by those around you. This is a trap that many fall into with their finances. If you have not read the millionaire next door I highly recommend this book because it has truly changed my view on finances.