Wouldn’t it be great to be Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent? Except instead of swooping in to save citizens in distress you were able to help your family, friends and colleagues with their personal finances?! Okay, maybe it’s not as sexy as having super powers or an awesome bat cave. But I’d like to think that becoming a financial superhero is equally rewarding. In fact, it’s the primary reason that I started this blog.
Finances are universal. Everyone we know is affected by finances in one way or another. I’m a proponent of the idea that everyone has the ability to be financially successful, no matter what your background is. Whether you’re a natural finance guru or you’re just starting out. Anyone can learn the keys to financial success.
Research and Education
The first step is to get educated. I’m not talking about majoring in finance or attaining a certification (although that will never hurt). There is an abundance of finance information and research all around us. In fact, I started this blog specifically to provide as much personal finance information as possible. Before I started this blog, I followed hundreds like it and gained valuable (and different) information from each one. Here are a few great finance blogs that I follow to get you started:
- Young Adult Money
- Financial Samurai
- Cash Cow Couple
- Frugal Rules
- Living Rich Cheaply
- Mr. Money Mustache
- Bare Budget Guy
- Journey to Saving
- Getting Rich Slowly
I became a CPA in 2010 and in all honesty I’ve learned more about personal finance from my own research than passing the CPA exam. Don’t get me wrong, having a CPA background has been very beneficial, but I have no doubt that there is more than enough information out there for the average individual to educate themselves and become a financial superhero.
If you were going on a trip, what’s the first thing that you would do? Well, my guess is that you’d begin by taking a look at your destination, decide where to stay, how you’d get there, when you’d go, etc. You would build out your itinerary and plan all of the details in between. Personal finances are no different. It takes upfront and continual planning throughout your financial journey. What are your goals? How will you get there? What’s your timeline to accomplish your financial goals? The questions are the same (but may change over time). So if you can plan a trip, you can plan your financial journey as well. See how to establish a financial plan in 5 quick steps.
One of the biggest barriers to taking control of your financial situation and eventually attaining superhero status seems to be confidence. Many people would rather refer to an “expert” or just plain don’t want to make mistakes with their money. Who can blame them? Finances can be a scary thing. Certain mistakes can have lasting impacts on your long-term financial health. Something that I always think about is that nobody (advisors and experts included) will look out for your financial well-being like you will. You alone understand what your risk tolerance is, what your goals are and where you sit financially. Educate yourself, plan and have confidence in your ability to manage your financial affairs. Taking the first step is the most difficult part. Does anyone remember the first stock that they purchased? I specifically remember opening a Sharebuilder (now Capital One) account and picking a handful of companies for my first stock purchase. I was so nervous clicking that “Buy” button. Guess what, I don’t think those initial shares did so well. But having the confidence to get started has opened many great investment opportunities since. No matter how insecure you may feel, get rid of the self-doubt and believe that you can do it!
Spread the Word!
Now you’ve done your research and educated yourself, you’ve planned your financial journey and you have the confidence to execute your plan. You are on the verge of financial superhero status. What’s the next step…? Spread the word! We live in a society where people are naturally reluctant to discuss personal finances and would rather remain in the dark. It’s time to shed some light on this incredible world of personal finance! Talk to friends and family and lend a hand where you can.
Nowadays my 1 and 4 year old (the scootering superhero pictured above) think that I’m a real life superhero with unearthly strength and speed. Eventually, they’ll grow up and realize that dad isn’t an actual superhero. But hopefully they’ll see that what I lack in strength, I make up for with market acumen. What I lack in speed, I make up for with astute financial planning. They’ll still think I’m cool as a financial superhero… right?