Life's Big Money Lessons
What Do You Know & What Do You Need to Learn?
1. Accountability is Key
Financial accountability means responsibility, honesty, and recognizing how your choices affect your financial outcomes. It requires planning, routine check-ins, consequences, and a commitment to try again when things don't go your way.
Ask Yourself: When's my next check-in to see how I'm doing on my financial goals? What will I do if I don't hit my target?
Example: "If I don't hit my next target for my financial goals by XX/XX, I'm going to find an accountability partner to help me stay on track."
2. Pay Yourself First
Invest in your savings, retirement, and insurance before spending on anything else. Make them mandatory expenses. If you do, you can re-order your other spending around these financial priorities.
Ask Yourself: What do my financial safety nets look like? Am I on track to retire when I want to — or keep enjoying my retirement the way I want to?
Example: "I'm going to automate monthly deposits into my savings, retirement, and health savings accounts. And I'm going to check in on those deposits quarterly to see if I should make any adjustments."
3. Money Isn't the Only Thing
Wealth gives you options, but money alone won't fulfill us. Time, relationships, and our well-being can matter far more than money when it comes to our long-term happiness.3-5
Ask Yourself: When and why do I prioritize money over my relationships or health? How can I change that?
Example: "To get a better work-life balance, I will not check work emails after a certain time every day, and I'll commit to getting X hours of sleep every night."
4. Understanding Your Money Mindset is Critical
A money mindset is the beliefs and attitudes about money that unconsciously shape financial behaviors. Knowing your money mindset can be the first step to improving it and making better financial choices.6
Ask Yourself: When I think about my financial future, do I feel more anxious or optimistic? When I run into a financial issue, do I procrastinate or focus on solutions?
Example: "When I start feeling stressed about a financial decision or issue, I'll take a step back and wait until I'm more relaxed to address it."
5. Don't be Intimidated By Your Money
You do NOT need to be a personal finance pro to make smart choices for your future. A solid strategy, commitment, and a willingness to learn can go a long way towards financial success.
Ask Yourself: What aspects of personal finance confuse or overwhelm me? What could I learn more about — taxes, retirement, interest rates, or inflation?
Example: "I'd like to get a better handle on tax planning or retirement planning, so I'm going to take a class or talk with a professional."