3 Things I Wish I'd Known About Personal Finance in College

3 Things I Wish I'd Known About Personal Finance in College - Julie Murphy

With so much advice on personal finance out there, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. I know from my own experience that my view on personal finance has shifted substantially since college. I’m grateful to now be able to impart this knowledge with my clients and with you!

Creating wealth is going to look different for everybody

Much of the college advice out there - and actually, much of the general advice in the financial industry, focuses on strategy alone. You might be given some solid financial education, which indeed is important as it enables you to make considered decisions, but what is missing is how creating real wealth should be approached from a holistic perspective. 

Money management advice tends to be handled in a very left-brain way and can often be fear-based and from a scarcity mindset. Where are the lessons on creating abundance and educating that there is more than enough to go around for everyone to create real wealth though? I’d have loved to have learned about that! 

College advice will often advise you on how to save money, what goals you should be aiming for, what investments are a smart option and so on. But where does your heart come into the equation here? What do you want from your financial present and your financial future on a heart and soul level? What will be aligned for one person can widely differ from the next and so their financial planning strategies would also be different. 

Whatever financial choices you make, you have to take yourself along for the ride. That might mean going against the grain of what the standard personal advice tells you. 

Money is so much more emotional than we think. It isn’t about accumulating as much of it as possible and believing that will automatically lead to success, happiness and a fulfilled life. There isn’t a blueprint for how long we should work, how many properties we should aim to own and when we should retire. I’ve worked with so many clients who believed that if they push and strive to meet the expected goals set externally, this would be the key to happiness only to be disappointed later in life. They might have had the impressive investment portfolio, the home, the career and a thriving bank account, but at the cost of their family life, health, life experiences and soul purpose. 

The way we choose to save, spend and invest and the way we choose to earn money should all be guided primarily by our hearts and then we can use smart thinking and financial education to choose in a way that works for us. When we’re fully aligned in these ways, this is what creates a flow of money that feels good to us on every level and we attract more of it. It doesn’t mean that we just ignore all of the college advice we’ve been given and live life recklessly! It just means that we can make better financial choices on an individual level, using that knowledge, but in a way that meets our goals emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally. Money should be approached holistically and all of these pillars taken into account. 

You get to choose how you want your money to flow

I also wish I’d have learnt how money is energy. As I know now, everything is energy including money and you have the power to choose how you want your money to flow. You have to apply your own personal financial strategy to yield the best results for you. Most college advice and personal finance lessons on how to save money tend to come from a one-size-fits-all approach but again, the flow of money will be different to everyone depending on where your heart is at. Something I recommend clients do is to take a financial date night every quarter either with themselves or their partner and map out their income and outgoings as well as their debts. 

Looking at how you want to allocate your money - so how much is going towards paying off your financial past and how much is funding your financial present and financial future means that you can continue to adjust and tweak according to where you are at. It also means you can consciously put money aside in emergency fund accounts for those times when you might have otherwise had to turn to debt instruments. Becoming your own bank is the key here and the most empowering financial goal you can have. 

Creating awareness around your money is key to optimizing the flow of it. When you know at any given point exactly how much you have coming in and going out, when you feel good about your spending and saving choices and when you’re consciously choosing all of these things and then automating it (setting up automatic payments to be deposited into your accounts), you are free to release control, to feel safe that it’s taken care of and focus on being the most authentic, aligned version of yourself to ramp up the flow of that money energy even more! To quantum leap it to the next level.

Self-care plays into the equation

Self-care and self-love is such an important part of personal finance and one that is overlooked considerably. As mentioned before, everything is energy and our finances are a result of everything else going on in our lives. We might be using debt as a form of emotional distraction or numbing or spending in ways that are reactive as opposed to from a place of empowerment. We might be people-pleasing at the cost of our own needs and finances. I work with many women in particular who this applies to and even though, like many women, I was super financially conscious myself, I still had to work on this area. If we’re not taking the time to take care of ourselves on a physical, spiritual, mental and emotional level, it’s going to show up financially.

Practices such as meditation, connecting with nature, setting boundaries, resting and getting truly aligned with who we are at our authentic selves is such a key part of the overall picture of personal finance. 

In her new book, Awaken Your Wealth, Julie explores behavioral finance and tells how she developed PACT™ from her own personal experiences. She explains her easy to understand four-step PACT™ process that can help you clear out unwanted money habits and chart a course toward a future you desire.

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