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Why Money is the Most Important Topic Imaginable

  February 22

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MONEYMOSTIMPORTANTI’m sure I’ll get some backlash from this post, from my declaration that money is the most important topic imaginable. So, let me just go ahead and shock you even further by saying I actually believe money is the most important topic in the world. 

Hear me out.

It’s important you know that I’m not advocating for money worship or advocating that you spend your entire life in pursuit of tons of it.

I’m saying that understanding money, knowing how it works, know how to make it, knowing how to spend it, etc. etc. etc. is so crucial and important to living a happy life.

It’s so important, in fact, that if you don’t teach your kids about money or learn about it yourself, you are without a doubt in for a very hard, arduous existence.

Isn’t Family More Important?

But Cat, you might be thinking, what about your kids? What about their health? What about life and kindness and being good to people? Aren’t those things more important?

Well, of course, my kids and my family are important to me, but what kind of life would I have if I couldn’t put a roof over their heads, food on the table, and clothes on their bodies?

How could I focus on parenting, keeping them safe, warm, and fed, without money? If I was broke or homeless, I would be unbelievably stressed. If I had $20,000 of credit card debt, I would worry about my payments. If I couldn’t feed my kids, I would be at risk of losing my children.  If I couldn’t provide a safe place for them to live in a safe neighborhood, their childhoods would look very different.

Plus, if they learned about how to manage money and build wealth, couldn’t they be especially giving as adults? By learning how to make money grow and how compound interest works, couldn’t I ensure that my kids grow into two people who can change lives, make large donations, etc.?

Yes, I know that money is not exactly required to teach them about being charitable. After all, I can show them how to volunteer and how to be giving of their time. However, large, scalable impacts on the world happen because of a combination of a giving nature and money. 

Kids don’t just become giving on their own. They have to be taught the benefits of giving. Kids also don’t learn about money on their own. It’s a teachable lesson. The combination of being raised with these two qualities is much more powerful and can leave a bigger impression on the world at large than simply  knowing how to volunteer.

Money is the most important topic imaginable. 

What if I’ve Never Been Good With Money?

You might be reading this thinking well my parents never taught me about money or understanding money and investing is only for the privileged or  I’ve always been bad with money. If so, I have some great news for you: money management is not reserved for people who are geniuses!

Everyone, anyone, your mom, your sister, your friend, your cousin, and you can learn about money.

It’s kind of like driving a car. You weren’t born knowing how to operate a heavy metal vehicle that can go 80 mph. You took a driving class. You practiced. You were taught.

Similarly, it’s up to you to teach yourself and then your kids how to handle money. I know it’s possible because I’ve done it myself. Not too long ago, I was standing in the Walmart checkout line with a ton of groceries, 5 people behind me, and credit card after credit card that got declined. About four years later, after learning about money and learning how to manage it, I’m better off than I could have ever dreamed of.

Struggling Sucks

Can’t we all just agree that it sucks to struggle? It’s miserable to live paycheck to paycheck (I know because I’ve been there.) Isn’t it hard to be in a marriage where you can’t agree on how to handle money? Isn’t is sad when you have to tell your kids no, that you can’t buy them blueberries because you can’t afford it? Don’t you wish you could get a break and hire a babysitter every now and then so you can just think, in silence? These are reasons I started freelancing, and why I encourage people to make more money and learn how to manage it.

Money is the most important topic imaginable.

Money is the answer to all of these problems.

Knowing where your money is going will help you to budget and allocate a certain amount of money to groceries. Marriage counseling won’t fix the arguing with your spouse about money, but sitting down once a week, setting financial goals, and making a budget together will. You could plan everything out via paper or even online if that is what you prefer. Plus, showing your kids what hard work really means and explaining that you have to work in order to get paid will set them up for a lifetime of good work ethic. It feels so great to even have a $1,000 savings fund for emergencies; the anxiety just melts away.

Take Charge

 

Take charge today. Be the one that changes the future for your family. Read about personal finance. Learn about it. Get inspired. Kick some ass. This is not hard to do, and I believe anyone can get comfortable and successful with money – yes even you!

If you want to get started today, I recommend tracking your spending for about a month first. I (and many others) recommend Personal Capital for this. It’s totally free; you just go here and link your accounts and cards to it and then you can see what you spend, how much money you make, how much you have invested, and how much you have in debt. Once you get that clear picture and know your net worth you can really get an idea of how to move forward and improve. Knowledge is power, so go get you some!

MONEYMOSTIMPORTANT

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30 responses to “Why Money is the Most Important Topic Imaginable

  1. I am in absolute agreeance with you 🙂 Of course, I’d rather have happy, healthy kids than all the money in the world, but you are absolutely right in that money gives them a better, much safer life. I was just telling John over the weekend how money doesn’t buy happiness (because, let’s face it, there are PLENTY of rich people that are completely unhappy), but it does provide a life FULL of opportunities: opportunities to travel and see beautiful places in the world, opportunities to donate money and time and make a difference in the lives of others, opportunities to not stress about money, opportunities to live in a safe, affluent community, opportunities to send your kids to private schools (if that’s what you want), etc.

    Loved this post, Cat!!! 🙂

    1. You are exactly right. There is definitely a line where at some point more money won’t make any more difference on the happiness and opportunity in our lives, but until you reach that point, earning more money is definitely the most important thing you can do to provide opportunity for your family.

  2. We will be teaching our son about money as soon as he understands a bit more. I agree money is an important topic.. an umbrella over everything. I wrote a post the other day titled “Daddy, how much do you make an hour? and although it’s hard being away so much I have to work. Working too much though can also have affects on relationships, kids and family. It’s about balance and doing what makes sense financially. Great post Cat!

  3. Certainly money (or lack of it) has caused a lot of the strife throughout the course of human history. I think the way to walk the balance between “money is really important” and “your ultimate purpose in life is not to get as much money as possible at any cost” is to define the purpose of money.

    I agree that it is so important to teach kids about it–we are already paying our 2-year-old for putting away the silverware–and to teach them to give. Sometimes I get lost in the details of how much we should pay them or how to organize their giving, saving, and spending. But in the end, at this age, it’s more about awareness, and I think we can work out the details as they come.

    1. Yes, it’s definitely about balance. I have to remind myself of that sometimes when I feel like I need to be working hard so I can earn more. We all have to define that place where we are earning enough and not try to drive ourselves crazy working just to earn more.

  4. I actually think you hit the nail on the head at the end of the post – knowledge is powerful. Knowledge about money, knowledge about yourself, your values, etc. Certainly, money overlaps with many parts of our lives, if not all of them, and teaching people to be smart about it early on is really vital. Teaching people how to be honest with themselves is equally important.

    1. Thanks! Even though our financial situation isn’t perfect, I know hubs and I sleep a lot better just knowing what our financial situation is. I can’t imagine not knowing how much money you have (or don’t have). That would really make me stress out!

  5. I don’t think I can say it’s THE most important, but it’s integral to development. People who are bad with money — for whatever reason, and however good their intentions — end up in a sort of extended adolescence. They’re doing adult things, but they’re living with a childlike outlook on something as important as money.

    1. That’s a good point and I never thought about it exactly that way. Yes, there are lot of young adults who are really only playing adults because they don’t have any idea how to handle their money.

      1. I largely agree with this post, but to Abigail’s point, I do think there is a lot to the psychology around money. You can know all the right methods and still do all the wrong things. It’s the largest reason economic forecasts don’t work the way we’d like them to: human beings don’t act in their best interest. Even when they understand personal finance. Getting behind the “why” of that on a personal level can go a long way when used in conjunction with knowledge.

  6. Money is an important topic for kids and yet it perplexes me that they still deem it necessary to gloss over the topic very briefly in schools. At my daughter’s most recent PTO meeting all they kept talking about was fundraising to get more books for the classroom and I certainly support this endeavor, but I feel like educators and parents focus on one thing so heavily to the detriment of a financial education. I’m going to raise my voice on the topic at school and ask what exactly are they teaching about finances in school. This way I will know how to compliment and supplement the lessons being taught at school.

    1. I honestly don’t think they teach much, if anything, about personal finance in schools. It’s a shame because it’s left to the parents to do and most parents don’t feel that they are good enough with money to teach their kids about it.

  7. I completely agree! Money permeates every aspect of our lives, and learning to manage it properly will make just about everything easier. Good post!

  8. You are definitely right about the insane quantities of anxiety caused by NOT have your financial act together. I can’t imagine not having a decent emergency fund or being deeply in debt anymore and I really can’t imagine how people do it with a family. I’d be so scared if I thought I couldn’t take care of them.

    1. We still have debt, student loans, but I can’t imagine having a financial situation like we used to have a few years ago now that we have kids. It would be so much more stressful!

  9. It’s weird because I learned so much about money and interest in personal finance due to the fact my parents were so bad at it (credit card debt, frivolously buying new cars, and having a 5,864 sq ft house). I saw how stressed they were at times about money and I didn’t want my life to be like that.

    As Stephanie O’Connell says, “The life you want, no matter what it looks like, has a price tag”

  10. I’m totally getting this, and it’s everything I stand for as well. I used to get so intimidated by those who knew more than I did about any subject. Money was, of course, one of those subjects. But you don’t have to be a certain type of person to understand money and how it all works. All you have to do is believe you can, and you can.

  11. The moment I used Personal Capital, I knew it that my financial goal would change to something better. So I tried to manage money really well and budget everything. From then on, I use this software to assist me with every financial decision.

  12. Hi Cat, this post is great. I love your call to action to “take charge today. … Read about personal finance. Learn about it. Get inspired. Kick some ass. ” This last year has been a learning curve for me as I’ve started purposefully taking control of my personal finances, and I’ve had my ups and downs, but you’re right– knowledge is powerful, and being the master of my own finances is empowering! Thank you for the read!

  13. Great message. Is money the most important topic? Yes, but not because of the money itself. It’s important because it opens up many other doors that “bring out” the real you. Have you handle money tells a story about you. How you plan (or don’t plan) tells more than just whether or not you will be prepared (or ill prepared) for an emergency. How much you earn makes for a cool story, but how much you give tells of where your heart is.

  14. Money is the most important. Not just in income, but in all of the aspects of money matters. So many people forget to create a monthly budget, pay their credit card bills on time (or at least speak with your creditors) and think about saving for retirement. It’s easy to say and not really that difficult to implement. Ignoring money will bring you suffering, possibly affecting your possessions, housing, your career and even your family. Being able to execute on these items will allow you enjoy a better lifestyle with your family for many years.

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