Is Personal Finance Obvious?

by Ryan

If you’re like me, you can’t walk through Barnes and Noble without stopping by the personal finance section. When I stopped by the store earlier today I again, couldn’t resist the tempting lure of personal finance books! There were literally over 200 books about personal finance and after flipping through a few I really started to wonder. With such a big market for personal finance products, guides, and information, is personal finance really not that obvious?

If you think about what personal finance really is, there are essentially a few basic lessons that’ll keep you in check if you follow them each and every day. Much like a common sense based investment style, personal finance doesn’t need to be overcomplicated. Some of the many things that that plethora of financial books, articles, shows, and products will all tell you in some way shape or form include:

  • Don’t spend more than you earn
  • Increase your savings
  • Invest young
  • Pay yourself first

Intuitively, I’m sure we already know this all, or do we?

I suppose we’re not all born realizing the concept of time value of money, but you do know that if you want to afford something you’ll need to save money for it and if you spend more than you make, you’ll be in debt. Likewise, if you want to earn more money you simply have to create more value to society, which can often be increased through education.

Perhaps it’s more about motivation, belief, and focus.

The same reason I continue to read about personal finance and stop by that all too familiar section in the book store isn’t because I feel I need to be taught to save more than I earn, or to invest while I’m still young. The irresistible urge is to rekindle the my motivation, sharpen my focus, and to maybe learn a single new idea that day.

Even if you know something, there isn’t always follow through. Each day we wake up, start fresh, and often need to re-motivate ourselves towards our purpose, our direction, our goals. Personal finance weighs in so heavily on our hopes, our dreams, and our aspirations that although it may be a bit obvious, it seems necessary to keep it on the forefront of our thoughts.

In it’s own right, do you think personal finance is essentially obvious, or is it something that needs to be explicitly taught?

What makes you continue to read and learn about personal finance?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

ElleX February 21, 2011 at 12:05 pm

I believe personal finance does need to be taught either by your parents/guardians, in a school setting, or by reading books. I did observe many money lessons from my father such as having a savings account but in today’s economic climate, a savings account is not enough. One must learn to diversify.

I continue to read and learn about personal finance because I want to be able to retire early without debt and enjoy my life and the world.

Little House February 24, 2011 at 11:54 am

I don’t think personal finance is obvious. Just look at our society – there is a large portion that are deep in debt. If personal finance is obvious to you, it’s probably because your parents taught it to you. One are of education that is lacking is personal finance, it should be a mandatory course in high school (senior year) with a brush up first semester of college that covers student loan debt. Then PF might be more obvious.

As for continued motivation, I agree that books and blogs keep me focused and motivated enough so that I can follow through on most of my goals. 😉
Little House´s last blog post ..Mutual Funds Continue to be the Consumer’s Investment Vehicle of Choice

Wez Bailey March 11, 2011 at 11:08 am

I think the principles are obvious, like spend less than you earn but the techniques and the tricks (like the debt snowball) aren’t always as obvious.

I think personal finance is a lot like health and fitness, the principles are simple, but implementing them and motivating yourself is what we all need help with.
Wez Bailey´s last blog post ..Tax Codes for 2011

Graham Lutz March 21, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Personal finance is obvious just like losing weight is obvious, like making good grades is obvious, like having a clean house is obvious.

Very few things are actually hard or complicated – It’s a behavioral issue every time! It really is wild how much keeping your goals in front of you can change your behavior.

Get Happy Life June 28, 2011 at 8:22 pm

It is essentially obvious, but the motivation is not.
Get Happy Life´s last blog post ..If You Had All The Money In the World, What Would You Do?

Kody July 24, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Personal Finance is obvious.. People just lack self obedience. I had to learn everything through self-education. My paretns taught me more than i could ask for, but they missed personal finance. If i didn’t have self-motivation i would have ended up just like everyone else. People just don’t give a **** lol. Wierd huh?

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