Welcome to this post, “The World of Finance Has Consumed Me”!
I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to finance. I’ve started this blog, done hundreds of hours of research about the subject, and taken action to improve my own personal finance situation. None of these things are very common for teenagers my age.
But, I think I’ve started to go a little too far. What I mean by this is that it’s hard for me to think about much else besides finance these days. I’m constantly checking investments, watching YouTube videos, and optimizing my own financial system. It feels as if the world of finance has consumed me.
On the surface there’s nothing wrong with that. There are a lot of other things that I could be totally engrossed in that would be a lot less healthy. However, being raised as a Christian, I was taught that you shouldn’t worship any false idols. I wouldn’t go as far as to say money has become an idol in my life, but I’m on that trajectory unless I make a few changes.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to turn into one of those people who spend their whole life pursuing money. Some people misinterpret the saying, “money is the root of all evil”. That’s not true at all. Money is a tool and an exchange of value in society. The real saying goes, “the love of money is the root of all evil”.
All I’m trying to do is take a few steps to combat my love for money. In this post, I want to share some thought processes that I’ve had lately and some changes I’m going to make going forward.
What the World of Finance Has Done For Me
Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly grateful for everything that the world of finance has done for me. I don’t want this post to be mistaken as someone hating against this industry or against money in general.
I’ll start by saying that money has always been a talking point in my family for as long as I can remember. My parents have no problem sharing about their situation or any questions that I may have. I learned about saving, spending, tithing, and investing from a very early age. That background served me well once I entered my teenage years.
Once I got my first job, I started taking steps to be a good steward of my money. I began budgeting, saving money in my college fund, and even investing money in the stock market. Once I turned 18, I got my own credit card and opened a Roth IRA. Most recently, I was able to develop a plan to graduate college debt free. I won’t explain that too much because I just wrote a whole separate blog post about it.
Needless to say, I’m in a better financial position than most people my age. I’ll be the first to say that I was lucky to achieve all of these things. Hardly anyone learns about these subjects until way down the road. But, I’ll also be the first to say that I worked hard to put myself in the position I am today. I worked hard to earn money, to learn what I should do with it, and to actually implement those strategies.
When The World of Finance Consumed Me
At some point along the line, things went wrong. Money became the main focus of everything…every decision, every action, and every thought. This was the point at which the world of finance consumed me. I’ll try to give some examples.
I’ve always been a very frugal person, but recently I’ve found myself being even more frugal. There’s nothing wrong with that, until you start sacrificing certain values to uphold your frugality. I started making decisions based on whether or not it was a good financial move. For example, sometimes I would choose to not eat out with friends or family because it costs money. I wasn’t thinking about the time we could spend together by doing so.
My love for finance has also become my motivation behind my actions. I would choose to work on things related to this subject, because I’m passionate about it. Once again, there’s nothing wrong with this until you sacrifice time you could have spent on other work. For example, a few weeks ago I spent around 15 hours throughout the week making a wide variety of financial changes. While it felt very fun in the moment, it doesn’t seem like the best move now. I spent a large majority of my week making some investment changes, opening a credit card, and updating my budget. All of these are good things, but I should have been working on more urgent tasks instead. Now, I’m weeks away from college and feeling pretty stressed about everything that I have to accomplish.
Finally, the world of finance started to guide every thought. I would wake up each morning and one of the first things I would check would be my bank and investment accounts just to make sure everything looked right. Throughout the day, I would periodically check my investments to see how they were performing. I would check over and over again and see that nothing had changed, nothing new had come up, and everything was still the same as last time I had checked. I realized that I started to check my bank accounts as much as I checked my social media (I pretty much quit social media once I realized how much I checked it).
I recently realized that the world of finance has consumed me. It has consumed every decision, every action, and every thought that I have. Everything that I would do in my day to day life was in pursuit of what? Financial independence? I thought the whole point of financial independence was to be free from your money, not consumed by it!
My New Money Mindset
*Shout out to Nick True from MappedOutMoney for putting this awesome video together that helped me articulate my thoughts.
Speaking of financial independence, I’d like to share a few thoughts I’ve had about it recently. Within the last few months I set the goal to reach financial independence by 30. This is a very ambitious goal that will require a lot of hard work to make happen. But, I started to think: What happens when you reach financial independence?
Most people pursuing early financial independence have very specific reasons for why they want to do so. I want to travel, spend time with family, and build a business once I’m financially independent. But, these things don’t just happen overnight. I can’t go to bed one night and wake up the next day with these things being a reality. My point is, life doesn’t magically change when you reach financial independence. Your problems don’t go away, your dreams aren’t suddenly true, and your life isn’t what you always wanted. It takes time for these things to happen.
My concern is that I sacrifice the next 12 years in order to reach financial independence, I put everything I have into this goal, and I put everything else on hold. I then wake up on my 30th birthday and realize that I’m financially independent, but I haven’t pursued anything I actually want with my life.
So, I’m thinking about a new kind of financial independence. One where there’s not really an end-goal, it’s more about the journey along the way. Instead of being consumed by finance, I’m going to focus now on being financially independent by freeing myself from money worries. I’m going to enjoy the freedom that I gain along the way as my financial situation gets better and better. I’m not going to sacrifice any part of my life to put myself in a better financial position. Most of all, I’m going to build a life that I never want to retire from.
Some Changes I’m Making Going Forward
With that said, I need to make a few changes going forward to make sure that my new mindset is accurately reflected in my life. Here’s a list of the changes I’m making:
- Don’t value money so much that you sacrifice other areas. Going into my freshman year of college, I don’t want to be worried about money. I’m going to go out there and do the things I want to do without thinking about the financial aspect.
- Set it, and forget it. I’ve spent too much time trying to further optimize my system. I need to get things set up the best I can for now, and then leave them alone. Sure, there will always be a need for changes, but I can do that later when they become urgent.
- Limit the amount of time you spend checking your finances. My plan is to stop checking my financial accounts on my phone. I will only check them once a week on my computer to make sure everything is in its place.
- Avoid get-rich-quick schemes. I didn’t talk about this much in the post, but I think a lot of times the world of finance tries to sell get-rich-quick schemes. For me this means avoiding opportunities that seem too good to be true. It also means trusting the slow process. It will get you to where you want to go.
- Make fundamentally sound investments. I’ve done way too much speculation when it comes to investing. I need to pick a strategy and stick with it. I’m going back to the basics and will be making some boring, but good, decisions.
- Stop consuming finance content. As much as I believe in the education and value that financial content can provide, I see it a bit like the news. Sure you see and hear good things, but you also get exposed to a lot of other things that make you doubt your decisions. For at least the next month, I’m going to stop consuming financial content.
- Stop producing financial content. Along those lines, I’m also going to take a little break from creating content here at Teen Financial Freedom. For the next month while I acclimate to college life, I won’t be writing blog posts or recording podcast episodes. I hope to return with some new insights and inspiration!
That’s it! That’s how the world of finance has consumed me and some new thoughts and ideas I have as a result. I hope you enjoyed this post and got some value from it. Consider your perspective on money. Is it a healthy one? Are there any changes you should make? My biggest piece of advice would be to never sacrifice anything you truly value for the pursuit of money. If you can stick to that you’ll be in good shape! Please feel free to share any comments, questions, or concerns down below! Otherwise, best of luck on your financial freedom journey!
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