The sad truth is that most people know nothing about money. And what’s worse is that most people’s lives revolve around making money. The education system has failed us. We were never taught what taxes are, what are credit cards, how to save up, how to take out a loan, what are interest rates, and many more aspects about money. The majority of the population is ignorant, and this means entities like the government can take advantage of them.
Next thing you know half of your salary is being sent as ‘taxes’, a quarter has to pay for mortgage and the rest is for expenses. No more left for you! ‘Work harder’ the government says. So you do. And you work 12 hours a day and you earn more money! But guess what? Half of that money somehow still ends up in the hands of the government. Doesn’t that make you angry? Frustrated? It makes me livid. Which is why I decided to take things into my own hands by starting my financial education, by taking control of how much I have, how much I earn, and how much I give to the government.
So how do I start educating myself, you say. Well after reading Robert Kiyosaki’s book, I decided to follow his advice. The are four different areas to get started on: Accounting, Investing, Understanding Markets and Law. These are the basic four for a good foundation.
Accounting is the ability to read numbers, to understand how a business is doing and how to manage your own money. It is the first essential building block to financial education and literacy.
Get started: To educate yourself about Accounting, take up an online course at a university or through course websites like Udemy. You can also buy books (Financial Statements by Thomas Ittelson), and it’s easy to practice number crunching by analysing the many case studies found online.
Kiyosaki calls Investing ‘the science of money making money’. Not only is it that but it is a skill of finding rare opportunities. One which can earn you thousands or even millions if done right. It is also a great way to earn passive income, in other words, ‘earn while you sleep’.
Get started: This one is practice, practice, practice. You read all the books by the great millionaire investors, and you apply their techniques. In this post I describe how you can start practicing through Google Finance, without risking any of your money. Gain a ton of experience, and you will know what you are doing.
Markets are where people buy and sell, so understanding them is understanding what people want or don’t want. If you discover there is a sudden demand for, say, lollipops, and you decide to satisfy this demand by supplying lollipops door to door, you are taking advantage of a market demand. There is room for you to supply your products, and because of the demands your profits will soar.
Get started: Here is where you learn about marketing and sales; how to sell your product, how to understand your audience. This can be done in many ways: online courses, books, experience. Even starting your own website is a good way to experience marketing first hand and understanding how people respond to it.
This one is essential. You do NOT want to get in trouble. You might be angry that so much money is being given to the government, but that does not mean you should stop paying them. It means you need to pay smart but still by the rules. In order to do this you need to understand the law, understand the loopholes you could use. Instead of hiring a lawyer, try learning about the law yourself. It might even interest you.
Get started: Law is a tricky one, because it is a very closed niche only for people who want to work in the field. However it is not impossible, you have every right to learn about the rules of this world. So again, books come in handy. Taking a course at a university, though, is the route I would take (and will end up taking). It can be part time or online, and it will be just enough to learn the essentials.
By teaching yourself these four foundations, your Financial IQ will be much higher than the average citizen. No matter which field you work in, money will always be surrounding you, so might as well learn about it. Your financial education will teach you ways to invest your money and creative systems to increase your income or earn it passively. Money is extremely interesting, and understanding it will you make you like it, not hate it.