As students, it’s the best time to learn about the rules of adulting. There’s a wealth of advice and wisdom you can get from your parents, teachers, lecturers, and pretty much anyone older. Below are 9 life and finance tips that most people learn a little too late in life, as shared by behavioral finance expert Morgan Housel in his column on CNBC.
Money is not the greatest measure of success
We live in a materialistic world, and that means many of us probably use money as a measure of success. But, to quote a common saying: money can’t buy you love. Warren Buffett once said: True success in life is “when the number of people you want to have love you actually do love you.”
No amount of money can buy you character, honesty, and empathy towards others because that kind of wealth comes directly from how you treat people.
Everything has a price
By now you should know that everything worthwhile comes with a price – which is why you should decide what you really need out of life. Is it worth slogging away at a job when you could have more time with family and friends? You should assess what you’re are willing to pay – time, relationships, family – because all these little things will become as valuable as cash the older you get.
The reward for having money is the ability to control time
Achieving independence should be our ultimate goal in life, not accumulating fancy stuff. Because being able to do what you want, when you want, and where you want gives you the kind of happiness no material goods can ever give you.
Don’t count on getting spoiled
Many kids in Singapore are a privileged lot – they don’t have to worry about housing or food because there will always be parents around to provide them. But as the pandemic has shown us all, no one can grasp the value of a dollar without experiencing its scarcity. Learning how to be frugal is an essential life skill, which is why learning independence – budgeting, saving, etc – is important when you’re still a student.
Live below your means
How much you make doesn’t determine how much you have, and how much you have doesn’t determine how much you need. A person is happier knowing that they have more money than they need, not because they have more money and spend every penny of it. Nobody really needs a lot to survive.
Success doesn’t always come from big actions
You don’t have to do amazing or daring things to succeed – you just have to consistently not screw up for long periods of time. Making mistakes periodically is healthy, as long as you learn from it. Avoid catastrophic mistakes like burying yourself in debt.
It’s okay to change your mind
When you’re 18, you’re expected to know what you want to do with your life, but it’s not the case for many of us. You could end up picking a major you don’t enjoy, have a degree you’re not using, or even have a career that you don’t want to commit to. As we change, our goals should too – and we shouldn’t blame ourselves for that.
Don’t blindly accept any advice you’re given
You can get advice from almost anybody, but that doesn’t mean they’re all correct, or if they’re going to apply to you. Everybody is different – we all have different upbringings, goals, and priorities. This means when you’re looking for advice, check it against your own values and circumstances.
Don’t underestimate the role of chance in life
It’s fair to say that most people – especially in Singapore – assume that wealth and poverty are caused by the choices we make, that success is a direct result of hard work. However, we should understand that poverty is not all due to laziness – chance plays a bigger role in our life than we realise. So before we judge others, we should keep this in mind.