Average Americans spend more time shopping each week than they spend playing with their kids. More Americans file for bankruptcy each year than graduate from college. We work longer, have less time for families, are deeper in debt, and are more stressed out.
It's so easy to spend all that you make, no matter how much that is. You naturally want all that your parents have, yet you may forget that it took them many years to get it. Like many people, you may also use money to satisfy emotional needs. Money may represent love, power, control, or security. Add the advertisers' messages that movies, television, magazines, and the Internet bombard you with to entice you into spending your hard-earned money on the “thing” of the moment, and it's no wonder you get caught up in having it all. Ironically, you could end up with little or nothing instead.
Studies show that the average high-school graduate lacks fundamental money-management skills and a basic understanding of earning, spending, and saving money. These concepts aren't being taught in our schools and young people aren't learning them from their parents, because the parents either don't understand them themselves or don't realize the importance of teaching them to their kids. That leaves it up to you to teach yourself sound personal-finance principles if you don't want to stumble through your life through trial and error.
How do you go about doing this? How do you learn how to save money and make it grow? How do you evaluate offers and deals and make wise choices? If you practice the basic personal-finance guidelines and concepts outlined in this book, you can become financially savvy and financially secure. You can learn to avoid the financial mistakes that can have such a negative impact on your future and your relationships. This book will show you how to live more simply, save more money, spend less money, and avoid impulse spending and credit card debt, without making huge sacrifices while you're doing it.
Your twenties are the best time to develop good personal-finance habits, before you get into debt that you'd have to struggle to pay off or make other financial mistakes that you'd spend years recovering from. In your thirties, it's still not too late to turn your financial life around if you're not on the right track.
There is little that's more rewarding than seeing your financial goals and dreams becoming a reality. Controlling your money instead of letting your money control you gives you a sense of empowerment and self-esteem. Watching your investments grow and knowing you have a nest egg to fall back on gives you a sense of security. In the end, you don't really give up anything of lasting importance. You gain everything that really matters to you.
If you're not too deeply in debt yet, your rapid progress will be its own reward. If you are deeply in debt, you'll have to work at it harder and longer, but it can be work that's empowering, stress-relieving, and even fun. It all comes down to balance and making smart decisions about money. It gets easier with practice and is hugely rewarding, both financially and emotionally. Why not get started now?