“Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs.”
– Zig Ziglar
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
– Benjamin Franklin
Now let’s look at the importance of your financial training. An easy way to access this is through reading. After all, reading is currently a free resource, which only requires that you invest your time. Strange, then, that we barely do it, when it’s the best way to acquire knowledge in any field.
Nowadays, before we undertake any task at which we are not experts, we turn to the internet – YouTube, or Google – to resolve our doubts. If it’s something more complex, we go to a professional for help. We should apply these practices to our finances, too. We tend to think that we are getting on fine with our finances and that we have them under control when nothing could be further from the truth.
According to a report by the publication UOC from a study of over 400 Spanish college students, 66% of those surveyed struggled to distinguish between different financial products or types of interest. The same study also analyzed the respondents’ numeracy and their ability to estimate risk – these results were even more alarming, as 53% of them didn’t answer a single question correctly, displaying zero numerical ability. Finally, 41% of those surveyed had an inadequate capacity for estimating risk.
If these are the results of surveying college students, who are supposedly better-educated than people who haven’t been to college, how much does the average citizen know? As we can imagine, the financial knowledge of the average person in our society is clearly insufficient.
In Think and Grow Rich, author Napoleon Hill talks about the crucial importance of training and knowledge – but he doesn’t just mean academic education. There are many ways to acquire knowledge. There are endless successful people who don’t have college degrees, either because
the situation didn’t allow for it or for any other reason. The important thing to remember is that, even without access to big universities, we can train ourselves to reach success. Experience and reading are our greatest weapons for learning.
On the flip side, according to Georgetown University, people with degrees earn 74% more over the course of their lives than people who only graduate high school. But this doesn’t mean we have to study at a prestigious school. 62% of millionaires got their qualifications at public schools. Many people turn to student loans to get them into private schools: one of the worst mistakes you could make. Loans like this can ruin your life, erasing any chance you had of saving in those crucial first years of your career. 68% of millionaires didn’t take a dime in student loans, while 49% of the population, in general, did make use of them. Millionaires understand the importance of remaining debt-free in their college years so that they can start saving money as soon as they embark on their careers.
As such, undertaking higher education is advisable only if you can and when it is in line with your goals. Studying increases our knowledge, but if it’s not possible, you can still be successful without going to college. But you will need to work hard, be a little inventive, and have a good strategic plan.
To be a successful entrepreneur, it’s important to educate yourself in communication and sales, too. These are skills that many people neglect. Master both qualities and you’ll be a great communicator. This trait will help you shine not only when selling your product or service, but when dealing with investors, negotiating with suppliers, or motivating your team.
Studies show that 55% of the impact of our communications comes from body language, 35% from how we speak, and just 10% from what we actually say. If you think about the most well-known business leaders, they probably all meet these criteria. This is no coincidence: most of them will have worked on these skills, training and improving them for years.
CHALLENGE: IMPROVE YOUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Here are two different challenges. You can pick the one you like best, or, ideally, do both.
Firstly, for the next week, whenever anyone asks you about anything, you cannot answer with “I don’t know” or with your own question. You have to make it so that you always respond in the best way possible to what you’ve been asked. Do this and you will improve your ability to communicate.
Secondly, we propose (this is a little more daring and complex) that sometime in the next week, you get the phone numbers of two people you find attractive. That may seem silly at first, but we promise it’s a real challenge. To manage it, you will have to think up a strategy and a little script. You’ll also have to carefully consider your personal image, and last but by no means least, you’ll have to overcome your embarrassment. All of this will help you improve your communicative skills.
So, we’re clear that history’s great economists have dedicated much of their lives to understanding finance and training in it. Even so, there are areas in which it’s not an exact science. This makes us realize just how huge and complex the world of money really is.
Now, what could be better than reading a little and informing yourself in order to achieve what you want. If you want to learn to save, reduce your
debt, invest, or ultimately get yourself in better financial shape, just make sure you pay attention to the coming chapters!
No, we can’t give you the recipe for success in a single sentence – but we can give you the tools and knowledge you need to embark on the path to prosperity. At the end of the day, it’s pretty simple. But no one is born knowing it! If we’re not taught how we can end up falling into traps that may seem obvious but that are actually common mistakes.
It’s hard to reduce expenses, save, or get out of debt without knowing the right methods. Everyone is afraid of investing without any prior knowledge. That’s why our aim is to help you acquire the necessary knowledge and confidence to master your finances. It won’t always go perfectly, nor will it be a short process, but if you prepare well and you emanate confidence, everyone who talks to you will perceive that, and you’ll find it much easier to secure funding, find new partners, get your team to believe in you, or just achieve anything you want to.
To sum up: reading and learning about new areas of finance is highly recommended, even for experts. But if you’re just starting out, some basic financial education is not just advised but fundamental to improving your current economic situation.
Information and knowledge are the keys to success.
- You don’t need a college degree to come out on top, but any kind of education will be useful.
- During our years of academic study, we are not taught about personal finances (spending, saving, borrowing, investing, and so on), so we have to teach ourselves.
- Training yourself in finances will be very useful when it comes to assessing and considering in an informed way the decisions you will make throughout the course of your life.
- Knowledge will give you greater confidence in yourself, which will in turn give other people more confidence in you.