Personal Finance Is Personal

Personal finance is personal. That's a nice quote I first heard from Fitz Villafuerte. When he used it, and when I repeat it, usually it's in the context of people having to make their own decisions when it comes to how they will invest. But apparently it's a bit more than that.

A while back, I read a post in facebook from a finance coach. I may be taking things out of context, but what I read was his reason why he charges a fee for his advice.

He brought up a good point. Basically he says he charges a fee because he wants to work with people who are serious about getting their finances in order (not his exact words, but that was the gist I got). If you're willing to pay, then you are taking your finances seriously.

This mindset not only applies to a coach's advice. This can also include buying books and attending paid seminars.

I obviously have a different view.
I've never paid anyone for finance advice or guidance. I've learned from blogs and forums. But even if we were to call such sources suspect, there are other free sources. Respected personal finance mentors give free advice in newspapers and via their own sites or social media accounts. And I've also received finance lessons from respected schools abroad for free - via Coursera.

If you look at it, these two different views are quite different - pretty much opposites really.

But they're both correct. It just depends on who you are.

I've compared personal finance to exercise before, as have others. The reason is that at their core, they're both lifestyle choices. Different people have different situations, motivations, and tendencies. So in the end, whatever gets you on the right track is the right approach for you.

In my case I like not spending anything at first, or at all if possible. The exercise I try to pursue is "functional" - day to day tasks that requires physical effort. The best approach for me is making small, incremental yet somewhat permanent changes to my routine.

For others, that's not really a good option. I know people who do spend on gym memberships, exercise equipment, or small appliances in support of their new, chosen diet. In those cases, the cost they shell out is the incentive to follow through. (Loss aversion, after all, is very big influence in our decisions.)

Of course, depending on your views, the latter could be viewed as inefficient while the former could signal  a lack of commitment.

But my opinion is that maybe that misses the real point.

What's really important is you are doing something to better your finances - and then doing something again, and again, and again...

You could pay for a financial plan, if that's what will get you going. You could also just do it yourself, if you'd rather save the money (you're going to have to know stuff anyway).

The only thing that really matters is whether you're doing something or not.


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