I’m the least likely finance blogger.
I dropped maths in Year 12. Messed up chemistry because ‘I didn’t know there’d be so much maths in it!’.
Picked a university course devoted to History, English, French and Latin. Because of course employers want to know if you can decline a Latin noun (I can, but it hurts my head these days).
The important point here is that contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be good at maths to be good at money.
The maths can be handled by the calculator in your phone or the Excel on your computer. All those times spent crying over an inability to do long division? Wasted. (Serves me right for being such a geek.)
Having observed a bunch of people in the finance industry, and quite a few rich people, I can tell you there are qualities that make you good with money that have nothing to do with your grasp of trigonometry.
Let me share a few of these qualities.
This is the big one. In the finance industry, it often veers off into arrogance, and while that can make people insufferable in conversation, it does help them to take action.
Let me be clear, I’m not talking about being reckless. What I’m advocating is a willingness to educate yourself, do your research, form a view and then take action.
As long as you’re following the basic principles of investment, taking action is generally better than doing nothing at all. (Basic principles like don’t put all your eggs in one basket, don’t chase ‘get rich quick’ schemes, don’t borrow more than you can afford).
You can always start small until you build your comfort factor. Basically, if you can operate with even half the confidence of a mediocre white man, you’ll be fine.
There is no one, single way to get ahead with investment. Some people swear by property , others love a managed equities fund and some think ETFs are the way to go.
Personally, I think a bit of everything is good – it’s pretty much how I think about dating: spread the risk and reward, and avoid catching feelings for anyone in particular.
But the key is to do your homework. Read about the things you might invest in; hear from different commentators and sources; pick up magazines or newspapers that cover new topics. Always keep learning.
One of the world’s best investors, Warren Buffett, spends five to six hours per day reading five newspapers and 500 pages of corporate reports.
I mean, if I were that rich, I’d probably allocate at least half of that time to watching Rupaul’s Drag Race and drinking martinis* … but you do you, Warren B.
It’s hard to get excited about anything if you aren’t clear on the ‘why’. Too many of us just stumble around with our money, hoping for the best. Will we have enough stashed away for Christmas, next year’s holiday, or some far-off but vague retirement? Fingers crossed!
Ladies, I want you to be crystal-fucking-clear on what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re saving for a specific thing, write it down, give it a timeline, give it a spreadsheet.
If you’re investing for the future, get down and dirty with what that future entails. Is it a lifestyle? A destination? A few years out of full-time work to raise kids?
Whatever it is, the more you can picture it and feel it, the more motivated you’ll be to work towards it.
Right now, I’m in a period of transition, and my old goals are giving way to new ones. (Hot tip: you can always change your mind about your goals). So now, I’m focused on a short-to-medium term lifestyle goals.
When I was in Year 12, my bestie and I would keep ourselves sane during the HSC by picturing the cute outfits we’d be wearing clubbing (picture Sporty Spice circa 1996).
Right now, I’m getting pumped about the ability to wear jeans, feminist-slogan t-shirts and a pair of Air Max 90s from my (possibly-excessive) collection. The more I can push those smart, corporate Review dresses to the back of the wardrobe, the better.
Sure, wearing trainers isn’t everyone’s jam.
But that’s the fun of it right? We all have different goals and dreams and views on footwear. But having clarity about your own goals is one of the best damn motivators around.
And guess what, I even made you a worksheet to help you work out some goals. You’re welcome!
So there you have it Fierce Girls. The Three C’s of Getting Rich.
That’s totally just something I made up then by the way. But it sounds convincing and who doesn’t love a listicle, huh?
Long story short, you can get on top of all these investing stuff, with a bit of time, attention and a touch of fake-it-til-you-make-it attitude.
*Probably have already overallocated my time to these pursuits, to be honest.