Did you know that many of our most important life lessons can teach us a thing or two about how to also handle our money? That’s right! Many of the principles that we learn to live by can be applied to other areas of life, including your finances.
For example, you’ve probably learned that life is what you make it. Well, your finances are what you make of them too. Life’s most important lessons can help you make better decisions with your money and also give you a new perspective.
20 Important life lessons for your finances
Here are 20 important life lessons that can teach you a lot about money and even help you get your life together!
1. Patience is a virtue
If there’s one life lesson that we can all stand to learn, that would be the necessity of patience. Patience is the ability to wait for something to happen without getting frustrated by the delay. There are many things in life that we have to wait for that require a lot of patience.
When it comes to managing your finances, having patience is also essential. You’ll need patience to not get frustrated by the time and challenges required to pay off debt, save, or even see returns on your investments. If you can learn to have patience on your financial journey and not be deterred from your goals, you’ll be able to experience true financial success.
2. Learning from your mistakes is an important life lesson
We all make mistakes in life. Some mistakes are more consequential than others, but they all can serve as learning experiences.
As you progress in your financial life, you’re bound to make mistakes. The key, though, is to not let those mistakes define your future. Instead, you should learn from them and make better decisions going forward. If you can learn from your past failures, they can be leveraged to help you make progress.
3. You shouldn't care what others think
Unfortunately, we can easily get caught up in what others think of us. When you care too much about other people’s opinions, it impacts how you make decisions. Instead of doing what is best for you, your decisions are based on what others think you should do.
When it comes to making decisions about your finances, it should be personal. This means that you shouldn’t care what others think as long as you’re working toward positive financial goals. One of the most important life lessons that can affect your finances is learning not to focus on what others think of you.
4. Get out of your comfort zone
If you want to achieve something of significance in life, you’ll have to get out of your comfort zone. Likewise, if you want to achieve significant things with your finances, you’ll also have to get out of your comfort zone.
An example of getting out of your financial comfort zone could be investing. Even if you don’t feel like you know enough, it's important to start investing so that your money can work for you. Another example could be asking for a raise so that you earn more income. Although it may be difficult, it’ll lead to significant benefits in your finances.
To help you get started, check out our list of comfort zone challenges!
5. The early bird gets the worm
In life, when you’re first to arrive or adopt something, you usually have an advantage over latecomers. For instance, if you arrive at an event early, you get to pick the best seats and even meet some very important people. There are benefits to being the first and starting early.
You can take this lesson into your finances as well--specifically when it comes to investing. The earlier you are investing, the more of an advantage you have. Your money has more time to grow in the market, which means that you’re able to build more wealth. So be an early bird and start investing as soon as possible.
6. You have not because you ask not
You get more in life when you actually ask for what you want and need. The same is true for your finances. We tend to overlook opportunities to save money or even make money because we simply don’t ask.
For example, a few things that you should be asking for when paying off debt include:
Can the interest rate be reduced?
Can the fees be waived?
Could the interest be temporarily removed?
These are all things that you can take advantage of, but you won’t know until you ask. Take this life advice and ask for what you want and need with your money.
7. Important life lesson on failure
There’s going to be something that you fail at in life. But, it isn't a failure until you decide to give up. There’s hope as long as you keep trying.
It’s inevitable that you’ll experience some financial mistakes that feel like failures. Perhaps you’ll make a bad investment that costs you a lot of money. You can turn this bad decision, or failure, into a lesson and keep trying until you are successful.
8. The only way to make progress is to start
This life lesson is pretty obvious but still worth stating. The only way that you can make progress in life is by actually doing something. There’s absolutely no progress in simply complaining.
Likewise, you can’t make progress in your finances if you don’t start. You’ll never be able to save money if you don’t start with your first dollar. You’ll never pay off debt if you never make the first payment.
Progress begins with starting. A huge part of starting is setting goals. For instance, setting professional goals, financial goals, and more can create a plan to accomplish them! You can even start by creating a plan to get 1% better every day.
9. Planning for the unexpected is an important life lesson
As an example, no one expects to lose their job, but it happens. You can mitigate the financial burden of losing a job by having an emergency fund in place. When it comes to your finances, you should always have a plan to help mitigate risks.
10. If at first you don’t succeed, try again
It's nothing unusual for parents to encourage their children to keep trying when they don’t get things the first time. Despite it being ingrained in us as children, that resilience sometimes escapes us as adults. So, I’ll remind you again—if at first, you don’t succeed, try again.
Perhaps you haven’t been successful at finding a higher-paying job or even buying your first home. Don’t let a minor setback or delay in your progress cause you to quit. Get back out there and try again! Your financial goals depend on you being resilient no matter what is thrown at you.
11. Failure to plan is planning to fail
Not having a plan to accomplish your goals is a recipe for failure. Success doesn’t just happen by luck or coincidence. It would help if you had a plan that will guide your actions to reach your goals.
Your financial success won’t happen without a plan. Start by creating your own financial plan along with a budget. With a solid roadmap for reaching your financial goals, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll achieve them.
12. Your network determines your net worth
There’s a belief that the people around you will determine your trajectory in life. If you have bad friends, it’s likely that you won’t go far in life. Contrarily, if you surround yourself with successful people, it’s almost impossible not to be successful.
Your network of friends can also have an impact on your money. If you know the right people, you’ll have access to opportunities to make more money. This could mean job opportunities or business ventures. Either way, from a financial standpoint, it literally pays to surround yourself with the right circle of influence.
13. Being grateful is an important life lesson
Out of all the important life lessons learning to be content is a game-changer. It’s easy to look at the things that we don’t have in life and complain; however, when you learn to be grateful for what you have, you’ll find that you’re content.
You may not have all the money that you’d like to have, but the great news is that you have something. Something is always better than nothing. Likewise, you may not be at the point you’d like to be financially, but you’re not where you once were. These are all things to be grateful for.
14. Your words will create your world
Did you know that we have the ability to shape our lives by the words that we say? If you say that negative things will happen, don’t be surprised if they do! Ultimately, your life will be the sum total of your decisions and the words that you speak. It would be prudent to speak positively.
Knowing that your words have power, you should speak positively when it comes to your finances too. We’ve even made it simple for you! You can recite these 55 financial affirmations that’ll help you start speaking positively about your finances.
15. Give and it will be given to you
In life, there is a law of reciprocity. It means that when you do something, it’ll be done to you. So if you give, others will give to you as well. This doesn’t mean that you do things just to get something in return. Instead, you do things out of the kindness of your heart.
This principle works with your money too. When you learn how to be generous with your money, you’ll find that you’ll be on the receiving end of generosity too. So as you budget your money, make room for giving. This can be to a religious organization, a philanthropic cause, or even a stranger in need.
16. Seek wise counsel
It’s always important to seek wise counsel when you’re making decisions. Now although you don’t want to merely live life-based on other people’s thoughts and opinions, there is a time and place for advice.
The same is true for money. At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for you; however, it doesn’t hurt to also get the advice of experienced financial advisors. Hiring a financial advisor is great if you’re stuck on how to manage your money, you’re just starting on your financial wellness journey, or you have a complicated financial situation.
In any case, it’s important to do your due diligence to find the right advisor for your situation.
17. Having boundaries is important
Having boundaries is necessary for a peaceful and productive life. Without boundaries, people will treat you however they feel. This isn’t healthy. You establish how you want to be treated in life and the access you allow others to have to you.
It’s important to have boundaries in your finances as well. Some examples of financial boundaries that you can set include how much you spend on specific items if you give money to family and friends and how much risk you’re willing to take.
Having these boundaries allows you to further control your finances and manage them in a way that you’re comfortable with.
18. Nothing in life is free is the ultimate life lesson
As you matured into adulthood, this one thing became clear to you: nothing in life is free! Everything comes at a cost—whether time or money. Prepare financially to pay for the things that you want in life.
A great way to do this is to have sinking funds that will allow you to save for your future expenses. Learning that nothing in life is free is one of the most important life lessons to apply to your finances!
19. Slow and steady wins the race
Have you ever heard of the story of the tortoise and the hare? The moral of this old tale is that “slow and steady wins the race.” Sometimes, it may not feel like you are making progress in life, but you’ll eventually reach your goal if you keep at it.
Working on your financial goals may seem like a slow and arduous process, but just like the tortoise, you'll achieve your goals if you keep at it. Apply this important life lesson when paying off debt, saving money, and even investing. Slow, strategic steps will inevitably lead to success.
20. Ignorance isn’t bliss
Sometimes being ignorant of life’s realities can feel like bliss. Ultimately, it gives us an excuse not to challenge ourselves to do better. That isn’t bliss.
Being ignorant of how to manage your finances isn’t bliss either. In fact, not knowing what to do with your money can cost you in the long run. Getting access to financial education—like our completely free courses—allows you to know exactly what to do with your money so that you can build and afford a life that you enjoy.
Apply these important life lessons to your finances
As you can see, some of life’s most important lessons can also be applied to your finances. You simply have to look at the principle in each lesson, and you’ll see how they can help you become better with your money.
Not only should you apply these life lessons, but it’s important to also find resources that can help you on your financial journey. Get the financial motivation you need by listening to the Clever Girls Know podcast and watching our videos to help with your finances!