Ready for some tough love about how to improve your financial situation? Jeffrey Strain, the man behind SavingAdvice.com, has put together a list of six “awful truths” about personal finance for TheStreet.com. The reason they’re “awful,” he writes, is that “these truths mean that the each person must take more responsibility and make hard decisions that they would rather leave to others.”
1. You can’t have everything you want.
2. Financial institutions are not your friends.
3. Nobody is going to teach you personal finance.
4. You are your own worst enemy.
5. You need to stop watching TV.
6. Personal finance is easy.
What? Personal finance is easy? Yep:
You already know what you need to be successful in personal finances. All you need to do to get your personal finances in order is spend less than you make. It’s a concept that even a child can comprehend. Unfortunately, knowing and implementing it are two separate issues.
Much like people wanting to lose weight know that that they need to consume less calories than they use, actually doing it is a lot harder than merely realizing it. Yes, implementing the knowledge is more difficult than simply having it and will require some effort on your part, but that’s not an excuse to claim that it’s too difficult because the reality is that it is not.
The interesting thing about #3—that nobody is going to teach you personal finance—is that in a related article Strain writes, “Don’t spend time learning how to invest.” He explains:
When you are first starting to improve your finances, don’t make learning how to invest a priority. Instead, put your investing on autopilot and follow the advice of Warren Buffett: “The best way to own common stocks is through an index fund.”
Once you’ve mastered your finances and have saved a nice nest egg, then you’ll have time to research individual stockts. Until then, your time will be much better spent on improving your finances through other means.