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!
34 Important life lessons to learn for your finances
Here are 34 important life lessons that can teach you a lot about money and even help you get your life together!
1. Patience is valuable
There are many things in life that we have to wait for that require a lot of patience.
How patience relates to money
When it comes to managing your finances, this virtue is also essential. You can use patience when weighing your investment options when starting a business (and taking the time to make it successful) and you can also practice patience when saving money.
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. Learn from your mistakes
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. That 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 to learn 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 big things with your finances, you’ll also have to move beyond what's comfortable and take risks.
Examples of risks that pay off
An example of getting out of your financial comfort zone would be doing something big with your money, like buying a house or beginning to invest, even if you're new to it. Adding new experiences and exploring different ideas can be great for your finances.
Another example could be switching jobs so that you earn more income. Although it may be difficult, it’ll lead to significant benefits for your finances, proving that moving beyond your comfort zone is one of the valuable life lessons.
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 people that arrive later.
For instance, if you get up early, you may find that you can accomplish more in your day than others do.
It's one of the good life lessons you can take into your finances as well--specifically when it comes to investing.
The earlier you are investing, the more of an advantage you have. You might also be one of the first to invest in a company that ends up doing incredibly well.
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. Be comfortable with failure
There’s going to be something that you fail at; it's one of the big lessons in life. But did you know that failure is actually part of success?
You may have had some errors in judgment with your money, but that doesn't mean you can't learn from it and keep going. In addition, if you expect that failures will happen on occasion, you can prepare yourself to succeed in the future and recover from failure faster.
8. The only way to make progress is to start
One of the most important life lessons you can learn that is pretty obvious but still worth stating is to make progress.
The only way that you can make progress in life is by actually doing something. There’s absolutely no progress in simply knowing what you should do but doing nothing.
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!
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 friends that aren't a good influence, it’s likely that you won’t go far in life.
On the other hand, if you surround yourself with successful people, it’s almost impossible not to be successful.
How network influences finances
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. It 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. Be grateful
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 one of the most valuable life lessons is 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 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.
Which doesn’t mean that you do things just to get something in return. Instead, you do things out of the kindness of your heart.
The 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. It 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. Although you don’t want to merely live a 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 and is one of the good life lessons you should remember. Without boundaries, people will treat you however they feel. That isn’t healthy.
By setting boundaries with friends, family, and colleagues, you establish how you want to be treated in life. You also establish 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 with investments.
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
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. Preparing financially to pay for the things that you want is one of the lessons 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 learn and 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 them. 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.
21. Prioritize your health
Maintaining good health can not only save you money and time, but it also helps you to function at your very best for many years.
Focus on eating right, drinking lots of water, and being consistent about an exercise routine, whether that's yoga twice a week or running a mile each morning.
Taking care of your health can lead to better discipline and habits in other areas of your life, too, like with money.
22. Buy things based on value, not convenience
One good way to make sure you spend your money wisely is to think about value. Knowing how much an item or experience is worth to you is among the valuable life lessons to learn.
Begin buying things based on their value to you, not just on convenience. Or even worse, buying something because everyone else is.
Value-based buying can truly help you not waste money and be more content with what you purchase.
23. Habits are key to winning at anything
Whether you would like to acquire a new skill, succeed at work, or become a morning person, healthy habits are going to get you there. It's good to set a specific goal but also follow that up with a plan and then be consistent every single day.
Good habits over time will help you accomplish things that, at one point, seemed completely impossible.
Not to mention it helps with money by helping you build consistency into your life. You can apply your habits and rituals to money by budgeting at specific times, setting short-term goals and reaching them, and routinely earning more money.
24. Always presume that you have something to learn
Rather than thinking you have all the answers in life, assume that you have something to learn in every situation. Doing so can help you with your finances and other things, too.
For example, if you've been saving money for years but haven't invested any of it, assume you have things to learn and start researching. You'll soon find that the knowledge you've gained helps you a lot!
25. Work isn't everything but it's important to work efficiently
Rather than working constantly, be efficient about the way that you work. Group similar projects together and don't waste time. That way, you can get more done and also increase your chances of pay raises and promotions.
In addition, you may find that you have more free time to spend on the things that matter to you.
26. Be present instead of living in the past or the future
Staying focused on the present moment is a beautiful thing. There are times for considering the past and planning for the future, but most of life should be spent right where you're at - in the present.
That way you don't miss out on the wonderful opportunities and great moments that are part of each day.
And since you work so hard to pay for the things that you have, like a nice home or the opportunity to travel, one of the best ways to live is to enjoy the moment.
27. If you're wondering if you should read more, the answer is yes
Reading can help you gain wisdom for many things, including finances, career, time management, and more. Even better, reading great books is many times free and can help you learn many important life lessons.
So make time for reading so you can keep learning.
28. When it comes to finances, think long term
You aren't necessarily going to become rich tomorrow. Instead, you need to plan with money many years into the future.
Yes, a budget is a good place to start, but also consider things like investing, retirement, and where you want to be financially in twenty or thirty years.
29. Recognize distractions from your goals for what they are
Even if everyone else you know seems to be wasting time or only focusing on fun, stick to your goals.
Knowing what you want in your career and finances will keep you moving in the right direction. There is a time and place for free time and enjoying life, but don't forget to work hard, too!
30. Emotional intelligence is highly underrated
A lot of people are smart, but if they lack empathy or self-awareness, they may find working with others and making friends to be difficult.
Take the time to really listen to others and try to understand what their feelings and motivations are. Then everyone can succeed and you may find that you do well with your career and your financial opportunities increase.
31. Don't let what you own control you
It's better to have less stuff and less debt than to have to keep working very hard to pay for the items you own.
You don't want to be constantly paying things off and never getting ahead with money because of possessions. Instead, be mindful of spending and saving so what you own doesn't control you.
32. Live your life according to what matters to you
You probably have money and career goals you want to meet, but remember that your values are the most important thing.
Don't compromise what you believe to be most important in order to make more money, such as giving up time with your family to work extra long hours for years.
When you make decisions about finances, always do so according to what matters most.
33. Sticking to a schedule can help you achieve your dreams
It may sound boring, but planning out your day and your week, or even your whole month, can change your financial life.
When you know how you'll spend your time each day and how many hours you'll work, you can plan your budget and goals. It can help you to take your dreams from seeming impossible to being part of your future.
34. When it's about your money, do your own research
Others advice can be beneficial in many situations. There are a lot of financial experts who can guide you in the right direction with your money.
However, even if people mean well, you are the one who is most affected by your financial future.
You should never take anyone's word for it about what to do with your finances. Instead, research and get all of your questions answered before making an investment or spending on something important.
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 and your goals.
Not only should you apply these important life lessons, but it’s important to also find resources that can help you on your financial journey.