The 3 best money moves I’ve ever made
I’ve had my share of good and bad financial moves over the years, but here are my best.
- When it comes to money, it’s easy to cling to our mistakes.
- After 25 years of financial experience, I’ve learned that the best financial moves you can make have nothing to do with money.
- Investing in yourself, learning the difference between goals and systems, and focusing on the long term can help put you on the path to financial independence.
After investing in my first stock in high school, I was hooked. Since then, I have lived through the tech bubble, the 2008 financial crisis, the pandemic, etc. It’s safe to say that the navigation hasn’t been smooth all the time.
When it comes to money, it’s easy to cling to our mistakes. However, focusing on what you did well can help you stay motivated and keep moving forward. After careful consideration, here are the top three financial decisions I’ve made and continue to focus on. The great thing about these three moves is that anyone can do them too.
invest in me
Many people are always looking for the best investment to earn money. It can be a stock or real estate. However, there is one investment that many people overlook. It’s the best investment you can make: yourself! You are your greatest asset.
I learned that becoming a valuable asset personally and professionally is far more important than my 401(k) account. I lost all my savings during the tech bubble of 2000. By investing in building my financial literacy, I learned to invest for the long term so I wouldn’t make the same mistakes. When the 2008 crisis hit, I saw it as an opportunity to buy stocks at a discount, a lesson I had learned in 2000.
I focused on investing in myself to increase my human capital. Your human capital includes things like your education, professional expertise, relationships, and health. By investing in obtaining an MBA and several professional certificates, I have increased my financial opportunities despite the various financial crises I have faced.
Learn the difference between goals and systems
Goals are needed to set the direction and keep you focused. A system sets the framework and is the means to achieve your goals. Systems thinking isn’t about hitting a certain number, it’s about sticking to a process where you can continually build on your progress. Systems help you focus on what you can control.
One of the main financial goals of people is to save more. Saving $1 million is the goal. Creating a budget to save 20% of your income is the system. Losing 10 pounds is the goaleating healthier and exercising more is the system.
Instead of focusing on a certain amount to save, my system is to invest a certain amount per month (average dollar purchase), despite what the market is doing. If my success was linked to reaching a certain financial goal, the financial crisis of 2008 would certainly have increased my stress. But focusing on my dollar-cost averaging system has helped me keep moving forward and reaping the rewards of the market rally.
Focus on the long term and the future
When the pandemic hit, in the US, the 2020 stock market crash included the three worst point declines in US history. From February 12 to March 23, 2020, the Dow Jones lost 37% of its value. The Dow in the financial crises of 2008 lost almost 50% of its value. With each crash, however, the market rallied, historically generating a 10% annual return.
Focusing on the long term can help prevent emotional selling and panic. Investors who sold out of fear in 2008 and 2020 lost in the remarkable recovery. By staying invested during the financial crises of 2008 and 2020, I was able to see record gains in my investment portfolio. By focusing on a long-term financial plan, investors will be more likely to achieve the results they want over time.
Over the years I have learned to focus on what I can control. I can’t control the stock market, but I can control investing in myself, having disciplined systems in place, and focusing on the long term. It has helped me face all future financial challenges and turn them into opportunities.
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