Finance expert Morgan Housel suggests that financial success is not solely dependent on education and intelligence, but rather understanding human behavior. By recognizing how emotions and beliefs impact financial decisions, individuals can make better choices.
This guide explains why people struggle to achieve financial success, the reasons behind wanting money, and provides strategies for creating and following a long-term financial plan, while staying informed.
Why People Fail to Achieve Financial Success
According to Housel, the reason why individuals find it difficult to manage their finances is because they overestimate the importance of luck and conflate prosperity with poverty.
Lesson #1: Chance Plays a Bigger Role in Our Financial Lives Than We Give It Credit
Housel warns that we often overlook chance in financial success. For instance, Bill Gates was not only intelligent but also fortunate to have had access to a school computer in 1968.
Therefore, imitating the success of exceptionally lucky people can be misleading. Instead, Housel advises that we look for patterns among successful individuals to increase our likelihood of success.
Lesson #2: Being Wealthy And Being Rich Are The Same Things
Housel says we fail financially by confusing wealth with being rich, which leads us to imitate the spending habits of the latter. It’s challenging to learn self-control from the wealthy, so understanding the difference helps protect and preserve your money.
Understand Why You Want Money
Housel believes two key mindsets are crucial for a healthy attitude toward money: first, recognizing that money gives you control over your time, and second, acknowledging that having enough money is achievable.
Lesson #3: Money Buys Us Control Over Our Time
Housel says money’s value is in controlling your time for happiness. Americans often lack this control, leading to unhappiness. Having more control over time will make you happier, according to end-of-life interviews.
Lesson #4: Be Happy With Enough
Housel advises that being content with enough is crucial for financial success, as wanting more than necessary can lead to losing all your wealth. To achieve this, he suggests avoiding constantly increasing lifestyle standards and deciding to be happy with your current lifestyle.
What to Include In Your Financial Strategy
Housel identifies three key elements for a successful financial strategy: compounding, saving, and contingency planning.
Lesson #5: Take Advantage of Compounding
Housel stresses the significance of compounding in investing, recommending finding steady-return investments for maximum profit. He believes the duration of investment is more crucial than annual returns and cites Warren Buffet as an example of compounding’s benefits. According to Housel, people neglect compounding’s power because it seems counterintuitive and opt for less efficient methods.
Lesson #6: Prioritize Saving Money
Saving money is crucial, according to Housel, since it is the money, you don’t use. Because it is completely within your control and very simple, it is also the most dependable approach to accumulate wealth. To ensure you save money, Housel recommends ignoring others’ opinions and wanting less. Less wants means less spending and greater savings.
Lesson #7: Plan for Things to Go Wrong
Housel stresses the importance of planning for setbacks to secure your financial future and benefit from compounding. He advises against being overly optimistic and suggests preparing for a range of possible futures. To do this, he recommends diversifying investments and keeping a portion in safer options to cover potential losses.
How to Create a Financial Strategy You Can Stick To
To ensure you follow through with your financial strategy, Housel suggests two principles: Firstly, expect your future goals to change. Secondly, prioritize common sense over logic.
Lesson #8: Expect Your Future Goals to Change
Housel advises against extreme financial plans and suggests expecting future goals to change when developing a long-term financial strategy to avoid regret and missed opportunities due to the end-of-history illusion.
Lesson #9: Be Sensible, Not Logical
Housel advises prioritizing sense over logic and being flexible about goals for a successful long-term financial strategy. By investing in companies, you love and considering non-financial elements like peace of mind, you’re more likely to stick to your strategy and accumulate more wealth.
How to Counter Negative Thinking
To handle bad times in the market, Housel offers two lessons: Don’t let uncertainty deter you and keep in mind that frequent failure doesn’t mean you can’t ultimately succeed.
Lesson #10: Don’t Be Put Off by Uncertainty
Housel advises accepting uncertainty in the market to achieve long-term investing success. Rather than trying to avoid it by timing the market, he suggests embracing it and focusing on potential long-term gains.
Lesson #11: Even if You Fail Frequently, You Can Still Succeed
Housel advises staying optimistic in the face of setbacks and failures by acknowledging the role of luck in successful financial ventures. Outlier events can offset numerous smaller setbacks, so focus on overall financial health rather than individual failures.
How to Pay Attention to the Right Financial Information
To maintain a long-term financial strategy, it’s important to be aware of how the information you encounter affects your decisions. Housel suggests that knowing your personal financial goals is one way to ensure you focus on the right information.
Lesson #12: Know Your Personal Financial Goals
Housel advises setting personal financial goals and avoiding irrelevant information to make better financial decisions. He recommends creating a mission statement for your finances to discover your goals and avoid following herd mentalities in investing.