When we meet with friends, our conversation typically centers around specific parts of our personal lives, with canned inquiries such as how have you been? How’s the job or business? How’s the family? Did you see the game? Where did you go on vacation? How has your health been lately? Or some other inquiry on how life has been. Rarely do we discuss money, failed investments, lack of retirement funds, or the latest investment made. Whether you like it or not, finance infiltrates every area of your life, health, business or job, family, retirement, vacation, friends, causes and charities, and your legacy.  Not only does it have an effect on your physical life, it toys with your emotions, joy, fear, greed, contentment and compassion.  While I certainly don’t subscribe to the theory that in order to be happy you need to be wealthy, a certain level of wealth makes life more comfortable and provides options, allowing you to make better decisions that are not dictated by the lack of resources.

It is often considered taboo to speak with others about their personal finances, and those of us who do are often times perceived as prideful, arrogant, inappropriate, or someone without a social filter.  I would challenge this thought process due to the way finance infiltrates every compartment of our lives, it’s important to get it right.

As children, we were not taught the things we need to know about money and finance, even on a basic level in school.  We were mostly dependent on the example our parents left us, and many parents kept the family finances out of the children’s site.  I am in agreement with those who believe our educational system needs some work, including financial education for young adults, it is non-existent, (more on how you can help me fix this in the future).

Our financial system is geared for those that take time to educate themselves on how it works, and yes, sometimes it’s rigged against the little guy, but you can choose to win. The great thing about finance is that it does not take a math major to understand most of its concepts. The 4 core math functions, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are all you need.

I am not a professional financial planner, stockbroker, or insurance agent; I hold no financial license, I have no product to sell or recommend, and I am as unbiased about finance and financial products as anyone you will ever meet.  I did not go to school to learn finance; I am a self-taught, subject-matter expert, who has learned from many trials and tribulations, my own research, and the mentoring and training from some of the best financial minds in the country.  You should challenge anything I say by asking financial, legal, and tax professionals for their opinions, and those that have had success in the area your are focused on, I do

I am going to make a series of statements that will evoke a response; you will either agree or disagree, or just ignore it as most do.  The purpose is to start the conversation, and hopefully the complex world of finance starts to take shape for you and your situations.

Respond to this article on whether you agree or disagree with the following statements

  • Your house is an asset
  • You have to spend money to make money
  • Real Inflation is 1.7% as the government claims
  • Bonds are safer that stocks and alternative investments
  • The wealthy focus on growth vs income
  • Contributing to a tax deferred retirement plan is the best thing you can do
  • Being debt free is the fastest way to wealth
  • Insurance is a bad investment

Hint:  these are all false.

When we buy a new house or car, we are more than happy to show it off to our friends.  When is the last time you showed off your brokerage or bank statement?  Money and finance has a mysterious side to it that keeps us from wanting to share, on a personal level, what we are doing, or how well we are doing.  We would much rather let others obtain their perception from the things we wear, the restaurants we dine in, the car we drive, and the house we live in, none of which are an accurate picture of our current financial state.  It’s time to raise the bar and lower the barriers on how we talk and learn about finances.

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