How I Got My Personal Finance Education and Its Role in My Life

This post is from Sunil of ExtraMoneyBlog.com

Personal Finance Education

How did you get your financial education?

There is no doubt personal finance is a critical component of our lives.

But because the education of this topic is not required in schools, most of us grow up on our own in terms of how we view and manage our finances.

For many, personal finance habits are derived directly from their parents, while others catch it from a variety of experiences and exposures in life.

One thing is for certain that no two clouds are alike. This is my story about how I obtained my personal finance education and its importance in my life.

When I reflect on my current financial situation in life, I attribute most of my financial success to my investment in the education of personal finance. No one is born with this knowledge, and I for sure don’t have it in my DNA.

My parents certainly didn’t have a good understanding of personal finance. As a result, I experienced a wild roller coaster ride growing up, from rags to riches and then right back to rags. When I reflect back at this experience, I feel that my strong interest in personal finance is partly attributed to such unpleasant experiences earlier in life. I am sure many can relate, or at least agree that similar “trigger” events motivate us to avoid repeating history.

As a first generation high school, college and post graduate in my family’s history, I never imagined I’d be as financially successful as I am today in my early thirties, and that’s mainly because I took the initiative to learn and apply basic, and later more advanced personal finance principles in my own life.

My Personal Finance Development

As I have learned from developing my own financial understanding and discipline over the years, investing in this knowledge doesn’t necessarily require one to spend a lot of money. Rather, one needs the motivation and willingness to make an effort to learn about a topic that is not required as formal learning, at least in terms of our education system.

When I was starting out, I read some of the best personal finance books written by commercial personal finance experts. These books are widely available for free in libraries or bookstores for purchase. I attended seminars and even took classes such as “Money and Banking” to gain in depth knowledge about certain sub topics within personal finance.

I am not saying everyone needs to go this route, but the point is that resources are available and abundant for anyone who wants to learn. This is especially true today with the advent of personal finance blogs and tablet devices that enables us to access all sorts of quality information on demand. But just as years ago, because this information is not “required learning”, one has to have just as much interest and initiative today than what I needed years ago when I was getting started.

Impact of Sound Financial Education in My Life

A solid understanding of personal finance has enabled me to develop into a financially savvy individual who is successful in several entrepreneurial endeavors, as well as in growing, maintaining and protecting a healthy personal balance sheet.

  • Because of my investment in financial education, I am able to insure my assets and my family’s interest and ensure that they will be taken care of adequately if something was to happen to me.
  • Financial education has allowed me to save and invest prudently with solid results for me and my family’s future.
  • Financial education has also enabled me to understand and apply to principles of leverage, whether in real estate or small business, thus allowing me to take advantage of certain opportunities and further progress financially.

What’s interesting to me is how simple succeeding financially becomes after one has invested in their education. What’s even more interesting is that the most basic personal finance principles, when talked about in casual conversation go over some people’s heads so easily. This often makes me wonder why such easy to understand concepts are beyond the understanding of many.

It is these kinds of instances that make me step back and reflect on the possibilities why many don’t understand what I consider simple principles, almost common sense in fact. But no matter how much we think some things are just common sense, these very same concepts make no sense to someone who hasn’t been exposed to that kind of material before when you come to think of it.

There are folks in my family and friend circles that sometimes cannot comprehend even the simplest concepts that I talk about. I don’t think this is because I am extra ordinarily smart, or make more money than all of them, but rather their lack of interest and investment in their own financial education. As a result, I often find these individuals asking me for advice ranging from investments, to buying a house, investment properties, starting a business and other similar topics.

A Different Perspective in Life

When we are equipped with adequate information about personal finance, it is easy to overlook the fact that most people are not nearly as educated about the topic as they should be, or as we are. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to feel as if even the simplest concepts which we may deem common sense are either not known or understood by those we communicate with sometimes.

In my opinion, this education is critical for one to be able to live a financially sound and disciplined life, and ensure that those who we are responsible for enjoy the best life we can reasonably provide for them without worrying much about what the future has in store for us.

It’s quite surprising that educational institutions still do not formally provide this information, but that’s ok. There are many “teachers” of personal finance. Pick one whose advice resonates most with you and apply it in your own life. Personal finance education doesn’t have to cost money, but one must have the interest and motivation to self-educate and apply the principles in their lives.

Personal finance education is such that sometimes it may start after one graduates from school. Unfortunately this is where learning ends for most people. I still actively indulge in personal finance material. There is always more to learn, and the more I learn, the more I apply and the more financial success I see in my own life.

And if our schools continue not to teach this subject in the future, by educating yourself as much as possible, you can pass on a healthy financial foundation to your children, both tangible and intangible, ensuring they too enjoy a financially abundant and satisfied life. I know I will.

How did you get your personal finance education?

About the author: Sunil owns over two dozen profitable niche websites, over 20 successfully selling eBooks, and is the author of “How to Go from $0 to $1,000 a month in Passive and Residual Income in Under 180 Days All in Your Spare Time”, a FREE report you can download instantly from his blog, where he discusses expedited wealth creation through solid personal finance, entrepreneurship and internet marketing. In 2007, he sold his ecommerce website for $250,000 to a top Ebay Power Seller and since then has sold several niche sites for five figures each. You can read more about him and his work on his blog.

Image by alamosbasement

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Last Edited: July 28, 2014 @ 11:54 pm

Comments

  1. Jackie Walters says:

    Excellent post! Personal Finance should be taught in schools along side economics.

    • Sunil l Wealth Building says:

      @Jackie Walters True Jackie – but that’s why we have 17,000+ personal finance blogs right? Are we adequately filling the need in your opinion?

      • MoneyPlanSOS says:

        @Sunil l Wealth Building@Jackie Walters Of course we aren’t. I can’t imagine I would have ever visited a PF blogger’s site when I was in school unless I clicked on the wrong search result. School exposes youth to many things they would never experience on their own. Example: My favorite book of all-time is “The Fountainhead”, which was required reading in High School.

        The best time to teach a child is when we have their attention, but make it interesting, fun and short! Make it more fun than the Angry Birds they are hurtling across their gadget of choice.

        • Jackie Walters says:

          @MoneyPlanSOS @Sunil l Wealth Building I agree Steve – it needs to start from the ground up. I don’t even care if they use Angry Birds as their tool to teach kids about money. The only thing I learned in HS was how to balance a check book and that’s only if you took accounting and only if you had a check book!

        • Sunil l Wealth Building says:

          @Jackie Walters @MoneyPlanSOS Hmm, Maybe there is an opportunity for a series of “financial education” books for kids laid out in an easy to digest manner with animated characters (Dora!)….

          In my initial comment, I was referring to whether the blogosphere addresses the void after school as students are tied up with everything but financial education during. but than again, as Jackie states, it has to start early…

  2. No doubt, I learned some personal finance from my parents. The rest was learned from personal curiosity, interest and need. My professional career was as a Chief Financial Officer of small to medium sized companies. As a CFO, I helped various companies become more successful, it is no surprise that it helped me personally as well.

    I have been teaching for the last 11 years, courses auch as Personal Finance and Exploring Careers, and a virtual business class.

  3. No doubt, I learned some personal finance from my parents. The rest was learned from personal curiosity, interest and need. My professional career was as a Chief Financial Officer of small to medium sized companies. As a CFO, I helped various companies become more successful, it is no surprise that it helped me personally as well.

    I have been teaching for the last 11 years, courses auch as Personal Finance and Exploring Careers, and a virtual business class.

  4. No doubt, I learned some personal finance from my parents. The rest was learned from personal curiosity, interest and need. My professional career was as a Chief Financial Officer of small to medium sized companies. As a CFO, I helped various companies become more successful, it is no surprise that it helped me personally as well.

    I have been teaching for the last 11 years, courses auch as Personal Finance and Exploring Careers, and a virtual business class.

  5. No doubt, I learned some personal finance from my parents. The rest was learned from personal curiosity, interest and need. My professional career was as a Chief Financial Officer of small to medium sized companies. As a CFO, I helped various companies become more successful, it is no surprise that it helped me personally as well.

    I have been teaching for the last 11 years, courses auch as Personal Finance and Exploring Careers, and a virtual business class.

  6. I got my personal finance education mostly from personal finance books, and then talking to successful investors. I didn’t get it from school or university, I had to teach myself.

  7. thefrugaltoad says:

    Enjoyed your story Sunil! I have a corporate finance background and recently completed coursework that will allow me to sit for the CFP exam so you could say that I have a passion for personal finance. Having said that, my Parents were pretty frugal with their money and that was passed on to me. I can remember helping my Dad work on the car as a kid. I learned to fix things yourself and save money at the same time. Something I still do today!

    • Sunil l Wealth Building says:

      @thefrugaltoad excellent and hence the name frugaltoad!!! not sure you know but I am a CFP as well – let me know if I can help in any way

  8. Stuff About Money says:

    School of hard knocks. Made some bad decisions when I was younger then started educating myself. It’s sad that they don’t have more personal finance education in high school and college because it is so critical. Part of me thinks our economy is based on our lack of financial literacy because they need people out there spending money they don’t have to keep it rolling.

  9. seanhopcraft says:

    Awesome post! To answer your question, I got my Bachelors in Finance. Big Whoop. I learned so much more in the two years that I was in the financial services industry. On the flip side, what do you think is going to happen to our country LONG TERM financial illiteracy? Big sad face

  10. Rally good story to understand and also for read as well. I like your fighting story and i also faced this type of financial problem btw really really good article and we hope no one suffer from this type of problems :) 

  11. Rally good story to understand and also for read as well. I like your fighting story and i also faced this type of financial problem btw really really good article and we hope no one suffer from this type of problems :) 

  12. Relly good story to understand and also for read as well. I like your fighting story and i also faced this type of financial problem btw really really good article and we hope no one suffer from this type of problems :) 

  13. Relly good story to understand and also for read as well. I like your fighting story and i also faced this type of financial problem btw really really good article and we hope no one suffer from this type of problems :) 

  14. nikkihilton247 says:

    I got some inspiration after read your story… I am also looking for do financial course. Thanks for sharing your story.
     
    <a href=”http://www.educationrequirements.org/finance-education-requirements.html”>Finance Education Requirements</a>
     

  15. ChuckStevens says:

    I feel like what you can learn about personal finance is really only limited to how much time you have.  There are just so much different information and so many different theories on the best ways to save and make money for yourself.  It was great reading about your personal experience, I definitely feel like you laid out a great course of action for those looking to learn more about finance.