Is Personal Finance Obvious?


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?