Personal Finance

40 lessons about money and life

“Life is too short to live small.” – Anonymous

This week is a milestone for me; I’m turning 40! It’s a landmark birthday that I’ve been looking forward to because so many of the goals that I’ve set over the past three years have had a December 2014 target date for completion. I haven’t hit all of them but I’ve achieved a lot and the ones that I’m still working on will be finished in 2015 which makes me really happy.

For me, this birthday marks a transition point. I’m excited to leave the challenges of my 30s behind and to launch into a brand new decade of options and possibilities. It also marks a reflection point; an opportunity to look back on all of my experiences and to think about everything that I’ve learned along the way. While not every lesson is directly about money, many of them can be applied to money and financial health so I thought I would share some of those lessons about money and life in this week’s post:

  1. The only person you can ever truly rely on is yourself.
  2. No matter how bad things get, you always have the ability to make them better.
  3. Sometimes the best thing that ever happened to you is the worst thing that ever happened to you.
  4. Just because something looks like an obstacle doesn’t mean that it is.
  5. Testing your strength makes you stronger.
  6. The right path is rarely the easiest path.
  7. You find what you look for.
  8. There is more to learn from being wrong than from being right.
  9. Your beliefs shape the way you see the world – if you don’t like what you see, try changing your perspective.
  10. There is no comfort in a growth zone and no growth in a comfort zone.
  11. Setting goals helps you achieve more.
  12. Take an interest in your money.
  13. Just because someone offers you advice doesn’t mean you have to take it.
  14. The only way to save is to pay yourself first.
  15. Save at least 10% of your gross income.
  16. Build a “fun fund”.
  17. If you don’t give your money a purpose, it will find one.
  18. Not all “necessities” are actually necessary.
  19. Track your spending.
  20. When a credit card company pre-approves you for $2000, it is not giving you $2000: it’s handing you a shovel and inviting you to dig a hole.
  21. Credit card rewards are only worthwhile if you don’t carry a balance.
  22. Avoid payday loans; they are the quicksand of the debt industry.
  23. Protect your debts with term life insurance no credit card/loan protection products – if you carry a balance they’ll cost you a fortune.
  24. Never buy a house without a home inspection. (Even if your Realtor says it’s ok).
  25. Trust your instincts.
  26. Do not make assumptions.
  27. You work hard for your money, it should work hard for you.
  28. Life is unpredictable. Build a contingency fund.
  29. Just because someone promises to love you “’til death, we do part” doesn’t mean they will.
  30. Just because you promised to love someone “’til death, we do part” doesn’t mean you will.
  31. Guard your time and your heart.
  32. Spend time with people who make you happy.
  33. Best friends aren’t always forever.
  34. Base your relationships on how they are, not what they have the potential to be.
  35. Hang out with people who are where you want to be.
  36. Give.
  37. Always remember that the only moment you’re guaranteed is right now.
  38. Happiness is a choice.
  39. Be thankful for every experience, good and bad.
  40. It’s easier to change yourself than to change the world.

One thing I know for sure is that life is unpredictable. When I think about my life five years ago, three years ago, even one year ago, I’m amazed by how much it (and me) have changed. Knowing how unpredictable life is making me appreciate what I have but it also makes me excited to uncover what this next decade has in store and to find out what else I can create. I hope you enjoy these lessons about money and life and some of them resonate with you too!


  1. Peter

    For the stickler for English grammar…..
    Re: “Never buy a house without a home inspection. (Even if your Realtor says its ok)”.

    “Realtor” should not be capitalized and “its” should be “it’s” (with an apostrophe)

    Regards from a fan of your blog

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