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Ostriches are stupid. Like, really, really stupid. With brains about the size of a walnut, I shouldn’t be surprised I guess.
It’s “common knowledge” that ostriches bury their heads in the sand when they’re in danger. Frequently cited as a defense mechanism, it’s become a colloquialism for ignoring unpleasant things.
In fact, ostriches don’t actually do this, so if you believed they did, stop. #truthbomb
Nevertheless, I’m running with this common misconception to get a point across. Because, as it turns out, the colloquialism is very real and when it comes to money, it can be extremely damaging.
Head in the Sand
I’m absolutely amazed at how many people seemingly have their head in the sand when it comes to money.
For many people, gaining financial literacy and facing their problems head-on just isn’t something they’ve done.
Better to be Aware of Financial Lions
Here’s the deal. Your financial situation is what it is. It’s not dependent on your knowledge of it.
Whether you know how much money you owe or not, you still owe that money. Your credit score is the same whether you look at it or not.
Your retirement portfolio? Yeah, it’s not going to magically save you without your involvement – you need to put in the effort.
Financial illiteracy is one thing. Most money-related topics aren’t taught in schools, especially middle school or high school.
But avoiding financial knowledge out of fear, overwhelm, or disappointment? Those are not good excuses.
There are tons of ‘financial lions’ in your life – predators that you need to be aware of. But many of them can be dealt with by simply educating yourself and taking some pretty easy actions.
Own Your Situation
If you want to actually know where you are, where you’re going, and what you need to do to get there, you need to educate yourself. Own your financial situation, because nobody else is going to own it for you.
That’s the hard truth. No matter what you do in your life, you’re the person who cares – or should care – about your money the most. Folks will try to take it, but nobody really cares as much as you how your money grows.
So how do you actually own your money situation?
For starters, read through the Financial Fridays posts.
Most importantly, though, commit to actually educating yourself and giving a damn. There are excellent resources online. Here are a few I’ve collected for you to get started.
Good Beginners Guides to Managing Your Money
- Abraham’s Wallet – Budgeting 101
- Millennial Money Man – Investing 101 for Millennials: The Basics
- prosperlyway – Personal Finance: Step by Step Guide for the Beginner
- Minafi – Minimal Investor Course
- Military Dollar – Investing Series
- Wealth Well Done – Master Money and Investing 101: Creating Ninja Wealth
- Sense with Cents – Retirement Investing and Fees: What are “loads” and “expense ratios”?
Reading is a critical component to furthering your education; one that many of us probably neglect after we’re done with school.
There’s a huge selection of books available, though, that help develop you personally, professionally, and deepen your financial knowledge.
If you prefer to read about people’s personal experiences, there are nearly 1500 blogs in the Rockstar Directory of people sharing their journey. Chances are pretty good that you can find something you can relate to among that list.
If all else fails, of course, you can start documenting your own financial journey. Starting this blog helped Kristin and I feel more accountable for our financial situation.
Even though we don’t disclose our exact numbers, we still share the good and the bad along the way.
It’s never too late to start taking control of your financial situation. The sooner you do, the better off you’ll be.
Some Final Thoughts
Remember, spending less isn’t enough. It’s great to spend less, but it won’t do the trick by itself. Here’s some great advice by Paula Pant.
What was the spark that got you interested in managing your money?