Up until two years ago I thought that finance was something too much of a hassle because. You know. Numbers.
I’m not stupid. I’m just alpha at heart. And I was convinced that it would be beyond boring. Boy, was I wrong! I’m still not a huge fan of stocks and stuff, but personal finance got my interest. Apparently, I’m a huge nerd. Also, it seemed to be the key to al my wishes. Spoiler alert: It’s not. Though it is one key of several to all my wishes.
You probably know these moments too well when you daydream about the impossible. Do what you want, whenever you want, where ever you want. Experiences all over the place. Then, you come back to reality. FOMO kicks in accompanied by the horrible feeling of powerlessness to change your life for the more exiting.
I realised that I didn’t need more money to fulfill my dreams. I just needed to spend less on nonsense. That aha-moment manifested itself short after I became a minimalist. Fortunately, while I had spent every penny on that nonsense, I never created debt because of it. I didn’t even have a credit card. Too tricky for an alpha. And a little proud to be such a smart ass. Until I heard Josh say on the Minimalist podcast on finance:
“There is no such thing as good debt.”
Good debt like student grant, he meant. Like that student grant I got over these four years in college. That grant suddenly felt like a huge mistake. I do have student loan debt. In Europe. Where studying is sort of for free. It was debt I created not to finance basic needs, but to cover my nonsense during college I thought I didn’t go into debt for. The fact that I could have gone to college without any debt deserves a face punch.
Really, I’m not stupid. Just brainwashed big time. We all got brainwashed to some extend to live a certain way: The mainstream way. To spend, spend, spend. No matter what, you spend. And you need it all. Your life is nothing without it all. Without it all, you would die lonely, ugly, bored and in pain leaving behind a bunch of cats. To avoid this live of utter misery at all costs, you accept those great services called grants, mortgages, commitments, hire-purchases, instalments, tranches, acquittals or credit card allowances and what not.
Ok that might be a little extreme.
Or maybe not, but you are not aware of your subtle fear of fake misery. Until you wake up from that nightmare. Then, you’re free. Great. now you have a different problem. The problem now is that most people still aren’t awake. And you share the same planet with all of those people who together keep that self-destructive system intact. Unless you exit completely, you have to deal with all this systematic fakeness on a daily basis. You have to decide over and over , that you want to do it differently. Debt is the norm. Spending is the norm. Everything else is weird. Because of that, in our current system, you can wander into debt, but you cannot wander out of it. It’s hard work to get out and to stay out. You have to focus constantly. Staying awake in a nightmare is tiring.
And that’s exactly why personal finance is so important.
Without actively learning about personal finance, you won’t achieve anything financially other than what the norm is. Again, the norm is a nightmare. It is bankruptcy in the worst case scenario and living paycheck to paycheck without fulfilling your dreams in best case scenario. That doesn’t sound appealing, does it?
Learning about personal finance is worth it. I promise. How do I know all that?
Because, now, I’m debt free.
- I paid off my student loan worth €24.000,-,
- I fully funded an emergency fund of six months worth €10.000,-
- I started investing 15% of my gross income, with a start amount of €1000,- and
- I experienced tremendous growth which is priceless.
All in 18 months. In Dave Ramsey language, I went from baby step 1 to baby step 6 in 18 months! I’m very proud of myself.
Even though I’m proud, I’m still far away from FI/RE. Personal finance definitely doesn’t stop at debt freedom. I will do my best to achieve some sort of FI/RE. I won’t be as drastic as lot’s of Mustachians but trying to reach FI/RE will keep me awake. I, too, have the odd feeling that te real work yet has to come. During the next months I will write about my experience becoming debt free and my struggles or successes reaching FI/RE. It will hold me accountable to stay awake. I hope you stick around.
PS: FI/RE means Financial Independence/Retire Early. Google it, you will find lot’s of inspiration to fire up your own personal finance journey.