Why is it that one of the most fundamental lessons in life, is never taught in schools? We learn everything from how to write, how to speak, how to use mathematics for problems we would never even come across in everyday life, yet not one lesson on how to really make a future for ourselves. We are given lessons what career would best suit us and then told to this is what we should focus all our energy on for the next 50 years of our life, without a single lesson on how to actually use our money wisely.
If you are a smart cookie, you eventually work this out for yourself. If you are really fortunate, your parents probably worked this out early in their lives as well. But for most of us, these lessons are taught to us probably a little too late. So let’s talk for a moment on how we can actually live the life we were supposed to and that life comes from proper financial management and investment.
When we finish school and start deciding on a career for ourselves, we look towards what it is we enjoy, what we are interested in and for a great deal of us, what will make us the most money. We aspire to careers such as being a lawyer or doctor because these have greater financial rewards. We want those above average salaries to afford us the life we always dreamed of. What many of us don’t realise, is that these careers will never make us wealthy. Not on their own anyway.
This is because as our salaries rise, so do our expenses. This is called lifestyle inflation and is experienced by many upper income earners. It’s a strange concept but it all boils down to the fact that if we have money in the bank, we are going to want to spend it on everything from new gadgets, fancy cars and exotic holidays. So if our salaries will never make us wealthy, what will? It all comes to down the most important lesson of life that for some reason is never taught, despite our important it is to our economy and to our futures, that lesson is investment.
Investing, whether it is in property, shares, business or even collectibles, is using our money for greater expected returns in the future. Most people are uneducated on investment. Meaning they will either leave their savings in a bank account or leaving it a financial planner who will do very little, taking their fees off the top and doing everything in their power to keep your money in their portfolio. Investing your money is basically having your money work for you, rather than the other way round.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have money work for you, making its own money, which then works even harder. Sounds too good to be true, but this is exactly how it works. This isn’t about gambling in the share market for a year or two and pulling the money out to spend on a holiday. Investment takes time and requires patience. Leaving the laws of compound interest to do their job and reinvesting any dividends or cash flow.
Nobody has ever become rich off their salary alone. The rich place their money into their portfolio, buying shares, property and everything in between. Investment is not just limited to the educated, the wealthy or the gamblers. Each and every person earning an income should do investment. It doesn’t have to be anything big and fancy. It can be just $400 a month. Put away to purchase shares each month. Shares on average will growth around 6 – 8% every year over the long term. This means, even with downturns in the economy, over the course of 50 years, shares will grow and your money will be compounded every year. So what does $400 a month look like in 50 years. It equates to $4.11 million if we adjust the deposits with inflation. Just goes to show that even putting away $100 each week, you can drastically change your future. Seems much more worthwhile than making a car payment every week.
If you treat putting away your investment each month just like any other bill that needs to be paid, you will be doing your future self a favour. The more you decide to invest, the greater the reward. If you are unsure where to start, there are hundreds of books available to get started understanding investment that can help you get started on the journey and help you avoid any critical mistakes.