Since I started my journey towards financial mastering, I discovered that mastering personal finance has a lot to do with finding your true self. Learning about investments and financial independence set me on the road to sort out and face all my unresolved issues around finances I’ve had for years.
Thinking about and recording my spending allowed me to see how much money I spent over the years, just trying to keep myself happy. I followed pop culture’s image of buying happiness, inflating my lifestyle with shit that gave me rather little joy.
For years, I was caught in a vicious cycle of spending the money when it arrived in my account on things that I didn’t even use that much: designer’s clothes, shoes, handbags (all the “essentials” women are trained to buy from the age of two). All those “essentials” are so bloody expensive that instead of helping women become independent, secure and self-sufficient, they push them towards debt and financial insecurity. My weekly spa treatments filled the emptiness and loneliness in my life.
That kind of overspending, while chasing happiness and pop-culture standards, never leads to financial independence or freedom. Unfortunately, that’s what I was doing for years. I associated money with spending only. And you know what, I’m not the only one. The majority of us think this way.
It never seriously crossed my mind that money could be my ticket to real independence (something I always wanted, but I stubbornly thought working for myself and freelancing would give me).
I also took onboard lots of horrible, horrible financial advices as people do, when they don’t educate themselves. Never listen to people trying to convince you that debt is a positive thing or take financial advice from people drowning in debt themselves believing that this is a sign of financial success.
So, before you start on your financial journey, make sure you have the right tools. (Below this article I’m going to link the blogs and books I love to start you off.)
Striving towards financial independence helped me focus on what is essential in life for me, what I enjoy doing the most and what I prefer spending money and time on. I cut down on wastefulness, became mindful of where my money was going, I created a budget to know how much I needed and started making some financial decisions backed up by actions. Apart from investing in Index Funds and building my stash up, I began buying everyday products with a long-term shelf life. It’s not only good for finances in the long run but also for the environment and sustainability on Earth.
By learning a ton about finances I discovered what I want my life to be like and look like.
Additionally, I began an ongoing conversation with my son about financial independence (he even started making remarks about financial freedom to his baby sister). One of my life goals is to make sure that my kids are much smarter than I was when it comes to financial choices.
He is already aware of the FIRE movement, asks lots of insightful questions and compares prices. I’m also teaching him to feel comfortable to ask how much something costs and don’t buy an item if he feels it’s too expensive (sometimes, the salespeople can project the invisible pressure onto their customers and I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about).
At the moment, my teenage M. is a bit of a slowly recovering shopaholic, but I’m putting it down to the fact that he isn’t earning his own money yet, and once he does, he will be much more careful with it. However, he took on board that he can only keep 10% of any money he receives as gifts, while the rest is nicely appreciating on his investment account.
Having stash, investing, making retirement plans is something I think about daily in a playful, happy way. The positive investment and saving actions I take produce much less financial stress and strain in my life. Knowing that I have an emergency stash and a plan I’m working towards is a vast life improvement for me.
For me, financial independence goes hand in hand with a sustainable, minimal waste lifestyle. Hence, since the beginning of the year, I have been slowly replacing everyday items with long-lasting, sustainable options.
When it comes to gifts, I’ve already been making hand-made gifts for people I care about for years. Still, my commitment to giving people something unique and one of a kind has become even stronger now, allowing me to re-purpose things instead of disposing of them.
Mastering personal finances is much more than just running numbers and learning how to say “no” to the pressure of an inflated lifestyle. Becoming financially independent requires inner lifestyle adjustment and commitment. However, none of that can happen without discovering who you truly are, what your values are and what you stand for in life.
Financial independence isn’t going to happen overnight. Indeed, just like your knowledge about finances will grow, evolve, and change with time, your perspective on financial independence will also increase, leading towards life truly lived.
Blogs I love:
Afford Anything – I like her podcast
rich & Regular – interesting blog from a pretty personal perspective
Mr Money Mustache – if you think you can take frugality to the next level
apurplelife.com – a fascinating journey of a young woman who managed to retire in five years instead of the ten she planned.