This ” 6 Strangest, Best Financial Lessons I’ve Learned” post contains the strangest but the best financial lessons I have learned in life and from my mentor. This post contains affiliate links/ads. See disclosure policy.
Have you ever experienced or learned something that is totally weird but totally true? Well, I have had those experiences.
This is why I have learned to be more open to learning new things and experiencing new thoughts that may seem odd for a lot of people.
My wife and I have experienced financial difficulties even before we started our marriage, which mostly was due to my fault.
I built a business that failed and incurred a ton of debt in the process. Luckily, we survived, paid off the debt, and saved a ton of money in the process. We did all of these in less than 3 years.
What helped us survive? One of the reasons that we were able to survive was we applied the strangest lessons we learned in life and from my mentor.
Yes, believe it or not, we did apply a bunch of strange lessons we learned in life, which we learned from our family, friend, mentors, and some of those people who we have come across with in our lives.
We are very cognizant of our surrounding and are very welcoming when it comes to different ideas, cultures, beliefs, among others. That is why we entertain and consider even the strangest lessons that turn out to be the best financial lessons in life.
These strangest but best financial lessons helped my family propelled from owing $40K to creditors to having/saving over $200K in less than 5 years.
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6 Strangest, Best Financial Lessons I’ve Learned
I honestly think that I am more than lucky to have learned these strangest financial lessons. They have truly improve our lives financially and personally speaking. Here are the strangest financial lessons I have learned from life and my mentor.
1. Put all your egg in one basket.
How many people have said this to you? Probably, not a whole lot. It’s because it’s the worse thing you can do to your investment.
One great reason to not put all of your money in just one investment is the inherent risk of losing all of your money or most of it when that investment tanks.
Well, I did just the opposite. I put of all the money we invested in the stock market into one fund.
When I say “money that we invested”, I mean the money we specifically put for stock market investment (not the college fund money, real estate money, etc.) for our retirement. Instead of buying several funds, we park our money in one fund at a certain time and jump to another at a certain point and so on and so forth.
So, what did we get for putting our investment money in a specific fund? For the past 3 years (that’s when we started our crazy one-fund-at-a-time strategy), we have beaten the market index (i.e. S&P index) by double digits.
How did we do that?
I researched the funds based on our requirements. I, then, down selected a few funds and researched further those funds.
I made some technical analyses of my own using daily returns for the past 10-15 years to see trends, looked into the market events, etc.
I also used the technical analyses and other data-driven analyses I found in Betterment as cross-check for my analyses (see the image below).
Based on the above analyses, I devised a strategy on where we would park our money from time to time. Those strategies have allowed us to beat the S&P index by double digits.
I can’t thank this platform enough because I’m just a novice investor and I know I’ll make mistakes with my analyses. If you aren’t with Betterment yet, now is the best time to open an account since it’s FREE anyways if you don’t use it’s own service to manage your account.
With Betterment, I can do the following for FREE:
- Sync external accounts to get a clear picture of all of money in one place
- Use the RetireGuide summary (see my account’s image below)
- Find out really how much I pay on fees on accounts I have
- and so many more
2. Choose the “harder” right than the “easier” wrong.
Oftentimes in life, we choose the easier or easiest routes because they are more convenient, they are less of a hassle, among others. But many times, these choices are not the right ones to make.
I have learned that it’s always better to choose the “harder” right than the “easier” wrong.
When a business is failing and the only solution is to cut down on people (in this scenario, it’s the only solution), it’s hard to make the call of letting people go. It is hard, but it’s definitely the right thing to do.
If you are the decision maker and do not want to do that, you may think that some other areas of your business could be downsized like facilities.
However, this solution is not the right one because the only solution is let people go (in this scenario). If you choose to downsize other areas, then, you are choosing the easier solution but the wrong one.
I have learned that it’s always best to choose the right solution even when it means that you need to sacrifice some important things in life.
For example, I always tell people to invest early in life due to the compounding effects when your money is invested early on.
The truth is, it is hard to invest money when you are just starting out in life and have a lot of bills to pay especially student loans, personal loans, or any financial responsibilities you may have.
Investing money early on is what I call the “harder” right and not investing early is somewhat but not entirely the “easier” wrong.
3. Take a risk and fail, then, succeed.
This is surely one of the best but strangest financial lessons I’ve learned in life. I mean come on. Who wants to do something with the intention of failing?
I’ll tell you that I’ve risked a lot of things in the past. I definitely have more failures than successes. But the great thing about these failures is that I learned to be better at making decisions in life. Now, I honestly think that failures are blessings in disguise.
In 2009, I started a retail business with my sisters and, three years later, we closed the business and I ended up owing $40K of the debt. I luckily paid it off in 2.5 years. I took a risk, failed, and learned so much from my mistakes.
In 2012, I started investing heavily in the stock market. Now my portfolio is at least $200,000 even when I have only been investing $10K – $15K each year for the past five years. I took a risk, learned the effective ways to invest, and have made so much in 5 years.
I said “my portfolio” because that’s not including my wife’s account.
In 2016, I started blogging to share my experience on how my wife and I paid off our $40K debt.
Now, I make at least $10,000 a month working 15 hours/mo on my blog. I do create posts from time to time, but I don’t have to spend more time that I need to because my contents are evergreen. Evergreen posts are those posts that are applicable now and in the future.
I took a risk, invested time and effort, and paid dirt cheap $2.95/mo. It’s a coffee fix to say the least. Now, I am making a full-time income on a part-time basis. I get to keep the day job I really love and blogging pays all our bills and then some (click here for the full story). Can’t beat that.
4. Use other people’s money for your gain.
Sounds like you need to scam people, right? The answer is no. You don’t need to scam people to use their money.
There are ways you can gain money from using someone else’s money.
For example, you can borrow money from your parents to buy a house. In turn, you rent the house to students or family for monthly rent higher than what you pay your parents every month.
So, when I say you use other people’s money, what I really mean by that is use their money as leverage for you to gain more money than what you borrowed from people.
That’s basically what a lot of businesses do, that is, they use other people’s money (through bank loans, collaterals, etc.).
Of course, you also have to be careful when using other people’s money. Why? It’s because when you invest or use their money, you can gain money or lose money. If the event you lose money, then, you still need to repay those people you owe money from.
5. Pay debt with another debt.
This financial lesson is also strange but is what I consider one the best financial lessons out there.
For so many years, I was told that it’s a bad idea to use another debt to pay another debt. Actually, I’ve seen it first hand.
When I was growing up, my mom and dad had to borrow money to pay for another borrowed money. What the end result was that they became indebted so much. Luckily, my brothers and sisters helped and all their debts were gone in a few years.
I wasn’t old enough, then, to contribute even a single cent to help my parents.
Anyhow, I have learned that, sometimes, it’s better to use one debt to pay another. There have been instances in the past where I did that.
For one, when I was paying my $40K, I chose to get a personal loan. That loan had an interest rate of 2.5%. It was a good decision because the interest rates on the credit cards I had hovered around 15%.
By going that route, I was able to save a ton of money by not paying interests.
So, when people say that it’s bad to use another debt to pay another debt, just remind yourself that it’s not always the case.
6. Don’t treat a house as an investment.
This is a strange advice but it truly is one of the best financial lessons I’ve learned.
People say that house is an investment. Well, some people thought it was and, then, the subprime mortgage crisis happened in 2008 or 2009.
When I say underwater, I mean that the value of their house is way lower than the what the purchase price of the house was.
While I don’t believe that house is an investment, I do believe that it is a need. There are times having a house makes more sense than renting. There are times it’s the opposite.
My wife and I just bought a house, which we plan on living in for many decades to come. For us, house is not an investment.
Having said that, it’s a need and it’s the place where my family will have memories to cherish for the rest of our lives. For us, those are what matters.
Additional tip: This house of ours is being paid by my blog. Yes, part of my earning pays our mortgage and the rest of our expenses is still paid by blogging. This means, our salaries go straight to savings and investments.
7. Don’t trade short term gains for long term pain.
This shouldn’t be primarily listed as one of the strangest pieces of advice, but it does have a place of being a strange advice.
We people tend to like convenience over savings for so many reasons.
We buy the latest smart gadgets because they make our lives easier even if it means that we shell out a ton of money in the process.
We eat out often because they save us time, headache of what to make at home, etc. even if it means that we have to pay a lot more.
The same thing goes for investing. A lot of us start investing later on in life.
Instead of investing early and let the compounding interest theory works its magic, we tend to either save the money in the bank (which is really good, too) or find something we can spend our money on.
I have learned that a little bit of sacrifice now for future gains is worth it. If you aren’t sure if investing is for you, you can always try ‘cents’ investing with Acorns. With Acorns, you can invest as little as $0.01. Acorns will roundup your purchase and invest your spare change.
For example, you purchased an item for $9.59. Acorns will round it up to $10.00 and invest the difference, $0.41, to various ETFs? It invests your spare change automatically. It’s that simple.
You can also earn additional money if you use the merchant links in its app to go to the merchant’s website. It doesn’t cost you anything to do that. If you sign up via this link, you will get $5 BONUS.
I’ve only been using Acorns for a couple of months but I have already invested close to $400 and have received dividends from my investment.
Just imagine how much dividends I would get by continuously investing using just my cents.
The best thing about this is that I don’t feel like I have invested this much money because Acorns only get cents at a time from my account to invest. The cents that Acorns invested on my behalf really add up.
These are the strangest, best financial lessons I’ve learned in the past, but they certainly are the some of the best financial lessons I’ve learned.
Do you have any strange financial advice that turned out to be the best advice you’ve gotten? Do you think these are strange but best financial lessons? What do you consider as the best financial lessons in life?