Since this site is primarily geared towards finances, I wanted to write a reflection about my own personal struggles with financial matters.
I might toss a few other non-finance related items in there as well, but we’ll see.
I’ve been duped
There are two instances that come to mind, where I learned the hard way about investing/handling money.
The first is from early childhood when Pokemon was all the rage. This one day, a kid from the neighborhood wanted to sell me some cards of his. I ran home, opened my piggy bank and took out $5.
I ran back to the kid and bought one card with that $5 bill. I later found out that you can get a big deck of cards for that much. I’d be swindled.
Fast forward several years. I’m in high school now. This infomercial came on with a guy raving about how much money he made using Google search. Specifically, Google Adwords.
All you had to do was pay for the program. Said program would walk you through the steps to setting up a website (I now know the site was to be an affiliated sales rep).
A $90 lesson. But mistakes are made so we can learn from them.
Young and dumb
Before I begin this section, you need to know that I did not know I was going to be a financial advisor, and financial education was limited in my household and was not taught in schools (unfortunately, very common).
That said, I made pretty typical mistakes. Got a credit card, and another, and another. I had spent too much money that I didn’t have and I’m still paying the price for it.
So when I talk about getting out of debt and using a credit card wisely, it’s because I learned first hand the negatives of using it irresponsibly.
More often than not, when individuals make financial mistakes, it’s on the personal finance side of things. Things like saving money, debt management, budgets, etc. Get those things down, the rest takes care of itself.
One part of my finances where I continually struggle is my budget. Very specifically, it’s one particular item, and that’s eating out. I am a sucker, no doubt, for restaurants. Whether that’s drive-thru or a sit-down place. It just takes all the hassle out of preparing a meal.
As good as it is sometimes, it’s also costly. My resolution was to actually include restaurant spending on my budget. I gave myself $50 for the month for take-out. This limits how much I actually spend and also scratches my itch for eating food outside of my home.
If there is an item you know you’ll spend money on, put it in your budget.
Related reading: Your Go-To Budget Guide
On the more personal side of things, it’s been a pretty challenging year for me. Had a mental health diagnosis that created some hurdles for me to jump through. As I write, I’m still jumping through these hurdles, but I’m starting to see the benefits of doing so.
By hurdles, I’m referring to medications and therapy. As well as things I can do on my own time, like exercise, journaling, and meditation.
Those last three items have been difficult for me to do consistently, but when I actually do them, I feel much better.
Another challenge of mine is that I am in the middle of a divorce. This has been incredibly difficult. It’s caused a lot of anger, sadness, doubt, among many other emotions.
What it did, however, was it forced me to turn the microscope inward and figure out the parts of me I don’t like, the parts of me I do like, and the past experiences that shaped me and the lessons to take away from those experiences to continue to grow.
With all of the battles I’ve fought this year and as taxing as this year has been, it’s also been one of the more life-changing periods in my life.
For me, it was extremely difficult to look inside myself and analyze what makes me, me, but I’m glad I did it. It’s given me a better understanding of who I am, how I function, and what I can do to continue to grow and improve.
It’s given me the tools I never thought I would have. It’s helped me be a better parent. I’ve been able to focus more on the things that matter. And I’ve been able to be more present and limit the amount of forecasting I do for the future. (Don’t worry. On the finance side, I’m still looking ahead).
My advice to you is to just keep moving forward. At times, life is stuff. Navigating your finances can be challenging, but we, as humans, are resilient creatures.