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7 Priceless Gifts That Will Improve Your Money Management

Do you ever find yourself dragging your money tasks from month to month without tackling them? By postponing your investments from month to month, year to year, you’re missing the most important principle for accumulating wealth. Just like successful investor Naval Ravikant said: “All the real benefits in life come from compound interest.” If you don’t know […]

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Do you ever find yourself dragging your money tasks from month to month without tackling them?

By postponing your investments from month to month, year to year, you’re missing the most important principle for accumulating wealth.

Just like successful investor Naval Ravikant said:

“All the real benefits in life come from compound interest.”

If you don’t know how to tackle your financials, it’s likely because you’ve ignored some of the fundamentals.

Here are seven priceless yet invaluable gifts to give yourself that will improve the way you manage your money.

1) The Best Way to Learn from Successful Investors

You make all financial decisions in life. So, the best way to make better investment decisions is by knowing how the most successful investors play the money game.

That’s what Benjamin Franklin meant when he said: “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

And books are the single best way to learn from the most successful investors. Books are affordable and accessible wherever you are.

Reading gives you access to the smartest money minds. You can pick whatever investor brain you like. By learning the principles that guide top investor’s decisions, you’ll find yourself on the fast track to making better money choices.

So, which books should you read?

I started with the free audio-book of ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ on Spotify. Then, I ordered more fundamentals, like ‘Think and Grow Rich,’ The Intelligent Investor, and ‘The Millionaire Next Door.’

However, if I’d start again, I’d go for entertaining, short, and applicable books first, like ‘I Will Teach You to Be Rich’ by Ramit Sethi.

What you can gift yourself:

Your life, your rules. The books I love might not be the ones you like. Choose the brains you want to borrow and read what fits your lifestyle.

To find a book you want to read, visit your favorite library, bookstore, or browse through popular finance books GoodReads sections.

But whichever book you choose, remember even the best books are worthless unless applied. Summarize your learnings and reflect on them, for example, by sharing your new knowledge with co-workers and friends.

2) Book a Counseling Session with a True Expert

Did you know that most financial consultants are salespeople?

I didn’t. In 2016, I asked my bank advisor for financial advice. He told me to start saving on a building loan contract. And so I made my first uniformed investment decision.

Bank consultants and many other financial experts earn money per product they sell. And because they earn commissions, you’ll understand why they likely direct you to expensive products like loan contracts, bloated funds, life insurance, and so on.

What you can gift yourself:

Don’t ask a bank advisor or an insurance rep for money advice. Instead, get a fee-only adviser who is a fiduciary. He will put your financial interest first.

If you’re living in the states, you can find these advisors on the national association of personal financial advisors; in Germany, it’d be this one. You can find the perfect match if you google for fee-only financial advisors.

In an introduction call, ask questions like: How do you make money? Is it through commission or strictly fee-only? Have you worked with people in similar situations? What’s your working style?

3) Three Hours With Naval Ravikant

Tim Ferriss described Naval best, writing:

Sure, he’s the CEO and a co-founder of AngelList. Sure, he previously co-founded Vast.com and Epinions, which went public as part of Shopping.com. Sure, he’s an angel investor and has invested in many mega successes, including Twitter, Uber, Yammer, and OpenDNS, to name but a few.

That’s all great, of course, and it shows Naval is a world-class operator instead of an armchair philosopher.

But I don’t take his perspectives, maxims, and thoughts seriously because of the business stuff. There are lots of miserable “successful” people out there. Be careful about modeling those, as you will get all the bathwater with the baby.

I take Naval seriously because he:

→ Questions nearly everything
→ Can think from first principles
→ Tests things well
→ Is good at not fooling himself
→ Changes his mind regularly
→ Laughs a lot
→ Thinks holistically
→ Thinks long-term
→ And…doesn’t take himself too goddamn seriously.

And Naval’s investment principles reflect his personality.

One of my favorite lessons from Naval is to find a way to detach your income from your time investment. He tweetedYou’re never going to get rich renting out your time.”

The most profitable income is the one that doesn’t pay you for your time but for your scalable creations, like text, code, voice, video, or sound.

Rich people got wealthy by establishing systems that make money independent from time.Just like Warren Buffett said, “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”

What you can gift yourself:

Naval is literally the smartest investor I know. Luckily, he launched his own podcast.

In this three hour audio, you find a collection of every episode he recorded on the topic of money, wealth, and investments. I promise three hours with Naval will be one of the worthiest investments you ever give to yourself.

4) Gift Yourself a Way to Track Your Wealth

Your net worth is the best number to measure your wealth. If you want to become a better money manager, tracking it is essential.

Your net worth is what you own minus what you owe. It’s your assets minus your liabilities.

It’s a reflection of your financial habits. Just like James Clear put it: “Your outcomes are lagging measure of your habits. Your net worth is a lagging measure of your financial habits.”

Whether you’re earning $1k or $10k a month, you may not like your financial situation. And that’s okay. But while having a net worth of zero is no obstacle in becoming wealthy, not knowing about your net worth is.

What you can gift yourself:

Set up your net worth planner, or use apps like mint. Once you set up you’ve filled your net worth tracker, revisit it once a month.

When you look at your numbers over some months, you’ll see powerful patterns and the effects of cutting expenses, earning more, and investing wisely.

I go through my net worth once a month. In the beginning, I didn’t like it, but once I saw my money growing, it became a habit I enjoy. Every month I set aside 15 minutes and update the sheet.

Gifting yourself a net worth tracker is priceless yet invaluable on your journey to long-term wealth.

5) Make the Right Choices Easy by Using Automation

Increasing your financial wealth isn’t solely about how much you make. It’s also about how much you save.

Earning $1.000 or $10.000 a month won’t increase your net worth if you’re spending all of it on consumer goods like food, clothes, beauty products, cars, furniture, hairdressers, phones, and travel.

Your salary won’t make you rich, but your spending habits will.

People who spend 100% or even more will never accumulate wealth. So, smart investors save before spending.

The more you invest each month,the faster your money will grow. And by automating your investments, you don’t have to remember to save every month.

What you can gift yourself:

Set up a default option that automates your investments. Determine a fixed savings rate and set up a system that transfers your income to the right buckets.

Ramit Sethi, a personal finance advisor and Standford graduate suggests, using 50–60% for Fixed costs (rent, utilities, debt), 10% for Investments (401(k), Roth IRA, ETF saving plans), 5–10% for saving goals (vacations, gifts, house down payment, emergency fund) and 20–35% for guilt-free spending money (dining, drinking, movies, clothes, etc.).

Whatever you do, don’t save what is left after spending but spend what is left after saving. By gifting yourself the automation setup, you’ll consistently get the basics right.

6) Freedom From Stuff You Don’t Need

Did you know that 50% of the more than 1000 millionaires surveyed in ‘The millionaire next door’ never spend more than $400 on a suit, $140 for a pair of shoes, or $235 for a wristwatch?

They could buy expensive things, but they don’t. Because what made them rich in the first place is spending money on things that matter and investing the rest. Conscious spenders care about the value of something rather than the price.

As Ryan Holiday put it: “Mental and spiritual independence matters little if the things we own in the physical world end up owning us.”

New things cost money. And to earn money, you work. And to work, you give away your life. So, in the end, what you exchange for new stuff is your time on this planet.

What you can gift yourself:

Gift yourself mental freedom and stop buying things you don’t need. Instead, spend more time on the things that matter. Give yourself quality time with friends. Initiative get-togethers and weekend reunions. Start to meditate.

And, remind yourself that you have enough, do enough, and are enough. No material possession can help you feel inner wealth.

7) Gift Yourself Free Subscriptions to Superb Blogs

By now, you know about the great ways to take your money management from good to great.

And while most of the gifts require either time (reading books, listening to Naval, automation, net-worth tracker), or money (fee-only consultation), this last option is great for people without much time or money.

Free subscriptions to high-quality money blogs are a great way to receive easy-digestible regular insights.

What you can gift yourself:

Find two to three trustworthy blogs and gift yourself a subscription to their newsletters. Here’s a selection of my favorites:

  • Morgan Housel’s blog on psychology and money
  • Mr. Money Mustace on financial independence and retiring early (FIRE)
  • Dan Solin’s newsletters about flaws in the investing industry (e.g., “Cracks in the Robo-Advisor Facade,” or “Find the Courage to Be Different.”)
  • Ron Lieber’s money column for the New York Times
  • Madame Moneypenny (German only) on ETFs and investment tips
The Bottom Line

When I first tapped into the world of personal finance, I read as many books as I could. I went to seminars, joined masterclasses, and watched online courses. I saved 7,000€ for my emergency fund, tracked my net worth’s development, and set up an automated investment plan.

But managing your money isn’t complex long, or exhaustive. You don’t have to do all these things to improve your money management.

By gifting you one or two things, you can level up your financials. Just like Naval said: “Making money isn’t a thing you do — it’s a skill you learn.”

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