Not A Numbers Person: Why you should educate yourself on your finances

There’s no need to give up on personal finance because you’re not “a numbers person”, or you “have somebody that does your taxes”. There are better ways to look at the seemingly scary numbers and logistics of your finances.

Luckily, the other writers at Breaking the Trend will explain the complexitiesnumbers-money-calculating-calculation.jpg in a digestible and straightforward manner; however, my educational background isn’t in business or finance. My honours degree is in Health Science, I have a minor in Literature, and I am currently in a College writing program. Come September, I’m moving to Italy so I can write a novel and my second collection of poetry.

From me, you won’t find an explanation outlining Dollar-Cost Averaging, or how the belief we must postpone many of our dreams is the product of a vicious cycle of debt-driven decisions – rather, from the age of fourteen I have been saving, investing, acquiring credit score, opening TFSA’s and RSPs. Let the other writers at Breaking to Trend explain the complicated stuff, and allow me to show alternate perspectives.

A lot of people don’t like math – and that’s okay, but complex numbers often deter people from investing time in their personal finances. Nonetheless, “I’m not a numbers person” shouldn’t be an excuse to pawn off your personal finance tasks.business-money-pink-coins.jpg

Last summer I attended a keynote session delivered by Erik Wahl, a visual artist and best-selling author from California. He speaks to a concept called The Art of Vision. He has spoken to an extremely impressive and long list of clients, including corporations like SunLife Financial, Deloitte, Met Life, and the list seriously goes on and on.

He is primarily a graffiti artist, and his work sells for a lot of money – but he only started painting after he was thirty-years-old. He explains the importance of failure and learning. Drawing, he reminds us, is learned like reading, writing, math, and in my case, finance.

The point is that it’s never too late to take control of your life or try a new direction. If you take the time to learn where your money comes from and where it goes – wealth acquisition will grow faster than if you leave it to others.

Wahl explained how fear will cripple performance in any aspect of life because fear inhibits our ability to take a risk and therefore, our ability to reach our full potential in whatever we’re doing. It’s easy to pass along tax forms, bills, and write a cheque for an account you’re unsure of — but you won’t be fulfilling the potential for learning and wealth improvement if you don’t engage with your finances on an individual and specific level.

Most are guilty of this, “my dad does my taxes”, “my parents set one of those accounts up for me”, “I have an accountant” –_-healthymond-288916-unsplash but knowing the specifics of where your money goes is as important as having it go somewhere (savings account, TFSA, etc.) at all.

Learning about your finances is an investment with life-long returns and fortunately, it’s easier to take the reins now more than ever before. Most banks have an online module to interact with and set savings goals, track spending, and let you know of low-balance accounts or approaching bills. Engaging with these tools places you in a position to learn about your spending habits and adjust accordingly.

Last year, I learned I was spending about $50 a month on coffee through my bank’s free online tool – and that was the pre-caffeine-aficionado days of Tim Hortons. While I still indulge in a McCafé or Starbucks occasionally, cutting the cost of coffee saved me around $600 a year.

Configuring the module online involved hardly any work on my end. I just had to excavate my travel mug from the depths of a cupboard. It’s easy, and while the module does the numbers work for you, you are aware of where your money goes – easy as being “not a numbers person”

Mike Milito

Check out Breaking the Trend author Brandon Belding’s new blog series where he shares his thoughts on books, articles, videos or podcasts that crossed his path recently

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