Watching your favorite TV money reporter comment on company earnings or predict the next collapse or even explain away why the market fell 100 points does nothing to further or support your financial knowledge or your financial success. Yes, it might FEEL like you’ve gained insight and information, but sorry, you might as well have spent the time watching reruns of Batman or Superman (of course I am referring to the Adam West and George Reeves versions).
Tracking stocks, timing the market, attempting to find the right book or strategy that will provide you zero risk-big return investments is rooted in completely fantastical thinking. Put these so-called strategies in the same category as “How to Win the Lottery” and “Making Big Money in Real Estate” where only the writers of books, newsletters and the talking heads on the screen are the winners. It’s fair to say that hidden forces are manipulating your sensibilities.
If there’s any doubt about the magnetic draw of magical solutions, look at the overwhelming success of the Superhero movies. The answers to salvation lie with those who fly, are blessed with supernatural powers and lots of nifty gadgets.
But success in your financial life is hinged less on god-like knowledge and more on Ironman will. If you aren’t endowed with an MBA in Personal Finance or haven’t practiced in the world of Financial Planning, chances you don’t have the breadth of knowledge or experience to fly through all the choices necessary to beat back the evil forces.
Being a superhero of your financial life begins with a clear vision that includes your values and a working knowledge of what’s coming in the door and what’s flying out. You don’t need to be a CPA to understand the flow of your resources. You can use a computer program or the back of an envelope—whatever works for you.
But to gain true superhero status, you have to identify your own personal Kryptonite. Maybe anything related to taxes is radioactive to you; or perhaps asset allocation, estate planning or understanding credit does you in.
There are some great books available to begin learning how to acquire protection from financial predators. Jonathan Clements’ Money Guide 2016 covers a myriad of financial topics while Plan Your Estate (2016) by Denis Clifford offers solid information on understanding estate planning challenges. Forbes’ College Planning for Busy Parents provides solid tips for planning and tax-savings strategies and Ron Lieber’s The Opposite of Spoiled is perfect to learn about teaching great money habits to your children. If you’re in search of real information about investing, try The Investment Answer by Daniel C. Goldie and Gordon S. Murray and if your habits around money are less than supportive grab a copy of Carl Richards’ The Behavior Gap.
To support your learning and knowledge, find a planner who can help you synthesize these materials into your life and your values. Actively work to learn to separate real information from marketing schemes and dastardly contrivances.
You can pair building super habits—along with your newly acquired knowledge—into an unbeatable duo to lead your fight to a rich and satisfying financial life.
Being a superhero with your money takes dedication, patience and the will to break free of the bonds that limit your real success.