Are you ready to be a financial grownup? It isn’t as scary as it sounds.
Earlier this spring, financial writer and podcaster Bobbi Rebell sat down with us for an episode of our podcast “Teach Me How to Money.” Here are some of the highlights of her interview and lessons she’s learned from a life in finance.
Treat your money like your teeth.
Did anyone ever tell you that if used to say if you don’t pay attention to your teeth, they’re going to go away? It’s literally the same thing. Take care of your money or it will go away.
There’s no one-size fits all plan.
We all have different priorities. For one person, it may be owning a home. For someone with a career where he or she moves around a lot, it might not be a priority. It’s all personal, so don’t worry so much about what other people are spending their money on.
Get smarter about the financial world.
Read something every day to make yourself a little bit smarter so you understand what’s going on in the news and why it matters. You can go out and earn more money, but you probably can’t change the tax code. It’s worth it to try and understand how it can affect you personally.
The financial industry makes a lot of money by throwing fancy labels on things. They want you to think that you need a middleman. People are often very shy about asking things because they think that they should already know it.
You should always ask “why am I paying this fee?” You should at least understand the decisions that you’re making and make them proactively.
Don’t beat yourself up.
One thing that I talk about a lot on the podcast is to forgive yourself and don’t be so hard on yourself. You have to live your own life. There’s a lot of money shaming going on, where people feel like they can’t talk about their money issues because they’ll be judged. You shouldn’t feel bad if you see someone is dressed in a very expensive way or has a super fancy handbag. Don’t assume they can afford it. Don’t assume it’s not rented.
You don’t have to set your world on FIRE.
FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) isn’t for everyone. Some people might say, “I want to bank my money, eat ramen noodles for ten years, then I’m retired at 33.” Personally, I want kind of a balance. Some experiences in life may be worth splurging on. Not everyone wants to retire at 30.
It’s not about sitting in a rocking chair. Maybe instead of doing 90% of your work hours in a job for money, it’s a different mix. Maybe it’s 60% that you’re working and 40% you’re doing something that’s purely recreational.
You can define “retirement” as not being beholden to a job that you don’t necessarily want to go to. In other words, having the freedom to make the choices that you want.