I started the first iteration of this blog (L Bee and the Money Tree for all you old school readers!) in May 2012. I transitioned the name to Financial Best Life in 2016, but in May 2020, I hit a special milestone – my 8-year blogging anniversary.
But since it is the end of the year and I am incredibly sentimental and I feel like I've learned more in the last 12 months than I have in my entire life (or at least 2020 has felt like 25 years at least…ha!), I wanted to share what 8 years of thinking about personal finance on the daily has taught me.
Disclaimer: Many of you will agree with a few of these sentiments, but some of these might be a bit controversial.
You get better at new skills if you practice every day. This includes money!
In 2012, I didn't take a class on “how to blog.” I just did it. I googled, I networked, I self-taught. The main thing is that I kept practicing – and failing – every day.
It's no different from any other skill you want to master, especially your money. You will get better with money if you start orienting yourself with your finances – and doing something small with them – every, single day.
It will feel extraordinarily hard at first, and then eventually it will feel as effortless as breathing air.
Success and money are ladders, not elevators.
This was a very humbling lesson to learn as I started back at zero with a brand new business, post-baby, and in the middle of a pandemic. There is no “express elevator” to the top. Every small success lays the foundation for a bigger success. Step, by step, by step.
Finance is the same way. You save $100. Then $1,000. Then $5,000. Then BOOM you have your emergency fund. You pay off debt $100 at a time and then suddenly, you're living life debt-free.
If you truly believe there is a shortcut to anything in life, you'll probably be poor the entire time. Just saying.
You can self educate when it comes to money. Make it a mission to read and learn from others.
It's okay if your school or your parents didn't teach you about money. Bummer if they didn't, but it doesn't mean you can't learn and that you can't begin today.
It's okay to fail (Because you definitely will.)
More importantly, it's okay to fail publicly. One thing blogging about my money missteps taught me is that failing makes you relatable. And stating your goals publicly helps keep you accountable. It's okay to go through a break-up or lose a job or end a friendship. It's called being human.
And things fall apart so better things can come together…eventually. It just often takes more time than we're used to.
And I've said this a million times but it is OKAY TO FAIL WITH MONEY. More than likely, you're going to fail. Money is a lifelong journey, and since when is anyone absolutely perfect for 100% with money for all of their lifetime? Hi, never.
The world belongs to creators.
Be a maker instead of a do-er. If you make something, you can sell it. You can earn money for doing things, but you'll never earn as much as if you created something of your own.
Most people won't be able to change their financial situation.
Okay, so here's the part people PROBABLY aren't going to like. Especially in the climate today.
Back when I was doing blog coaching, I could tell within ten minutes if someone was actually going to be able to turn their blog into a full-time business. And it had zero to do with their blog idea. (This made me a terrible coach, because after the discovery call if I felt that way I wouldn't take their money and so I only ended up coaching a handful of folks in 2015/2016.)
And money is kiiiiinda the same way. After eight years, I can tell who is going to get it together and pay off debt, and who is going to keep making negligible progress year after year.
It has to do with that spark and that fire to get things done.
Some people have it and some people don't. Some people acquire it after something bad happens with their finances and they vow to make a real change. And some people will be able to skate by.
It is hard work to stay accountable to yourself, to pay off debt, save for retirement, pay for things in cash. It's REALLY HARD.
And most people don't like hard work. And most people if they don't like something…they won't do it.
And yes, there's a lot of systemic stuff at play when it comes to wealth and America. I don't want to get into that here. But if all things are equal, there will still be people who struggle financially and people who don't.
A lot of it is luck (Who gets sick and who doesn't, who is born into a wealthy family and who isn't), but some it does come down to putting in the work. And that is something that we as individuals can control.
If you are looking to make a difference in your own financial situation in 2021, here's what I recommend (based on my experience blogging/thinking/writing/talking about money EVERY SINGLE DAY for the last 2,920 days)
- Practice/be with/look at your money every day
- Take it step by step
- Be okay with failure when it comes to your finances. A thousand little failures every year. And when you fail, get up and do it better next time.
- Create something.
- Commit to doing the work.