Most people don’t have a clue what personal finance is or even where to get started learning about how to properly manage their money or finances. For my regular readers, forgive me, this may be nothing more than a refresher course for you, however, seeing this is a personal finance blog, and I’ve never truly taken the time to look at the big picture, I’m going to devote the next couple of weeks to explaining everything personal finance related I possibly can. The good news for everyone else, personal finance is really quite simple to understand, I promise you, with a short hour or two of reading you will be on your way to mastering your money.
Below, I’m going to introduce you to the very basics of personal finance, to help you get started learning on your own. I’m going to keep things as simple and easy to understand while still providing you with the knowledge to help you start taking action. We will first take a look at the big picture, then in later articles drill down into the various components or pieces that make up the often mysterious word, personal finance.
Personal financial management is simply managing your money in the best way you possibly can, as to get the most out of your money. Instead of calling it personal finance, you could call it money management. Sadly, this isn’t a subject taught in many schools or universities.
There are many different aspects to managing your money or personal finances, and that’s where I will get started.
In a nutshell, you’ve got money coming in from your job and you’ve got money going out to support your lifestyle. If you don’t learn how to manage your money properly, you may end up spending way more than you make, and you probably will end up in a financial mess, or maybe worse, in bankruptcy. The goal of learning about personal finance or money management is to teach you how to make the most out of the money you take in so that you can ultimately retire and not have to work at all, unless of course you enjoy working. But most of us do not enjoy working for money, rather I enjoy having money work for me and earn more money for me without me having to do much of anything but sit back and watch it grow.
Imagine a big box fan for a moment. You know, those square fans you can find at Walmart for like $10. The fan is made up of several different parts, like the fan blades, the motor, the button to control the different speeds and such, the wiring, and so on. You could say the fan is like personal finance in many ways, if one blade is broken the fan may function, just not well. If you were to take away all the fan blades, the motor still may turn, however the fan is just not going to cool you any longer. This fan is similar to personal finance because if you’re missing pieces of personal finance knowledge, you may be able to get bye, but chances are you’re costing yourself unnecessary misery and peace of mind. Just like the many pieces to make a fan work properly, there are many aspects of personal finance to understand for you to take control of your financial life.
My next articles will dive more deeply into personal finance and explore goal setting, planning, budgeting, credit cards, checking and savings accounts, consumer loans, investments in the stock market, retirement plans, social security benefits, insurance policies, and income tax management among other items.