The best 15 questions you can ever ask about your personal finance
Did you ever consider how powerful questions are?
Are you asking the right ones?
If you want a better life then ask better questions.
To ask questions is a big deal! We all ask questions, of course, but they are often framed in the wrong way.
Questions such as:
“Why is this happening to me?” or “What’s wrong with me?”
are counterproductive, because they don’t bring any solutions. And we all desperately need good solutions to our never-ending life challenges.
There are more examples of wrong questions, for instance:
“Do I think I can earn more?” or “Could I start a new business?”
The problem with these questions is that If your answer is NO then this is the end of the process. You’ve got the answer and now you need to live with the consequences of it. Would it be better to ask instead:
“How can I earn more?” or “What should I do to start my business?”
Notice how these questions are like a warm invitation to create solutions!
Don’t ask closed questions that have one answer – unless you need to. Ask open questions with many possible answers.
And don’t ask questions that are moving people in a specific direction such as:
“Why don’t you do it this way?”
This isn’t actually a real question; it is almost a critical statement or at least a very strong suggestion of such.
Good questions can be powerful. Really powerful, and able to bring huge and positive changes in our lives.
Let’s have a look at a few more great examples. Listen to this:
“What would you do if there were no limits?”
Or these ones – all of which produce solutions, ideas, new ways of thinking and new perspectives:
“What is the first step you can take now to achieve your financial goals and your dreams?”
Questions can encourage us to start acting:
“When can I start saving for my emergency capital?”
“How much more money do I want to earn?”
How do you feel when asked these kinds of questions:
“What would you love to accomplish in your finance or do more of?”
“What is the first positive step you could start to make?
What do you want your life to be about?”
“What do you want to accomplish today?”
“What do you want to do more of each day?”
“What can you be the best at in the world?”
“What do you need to be successful?”
“What do you want to do in your life?”
“What’s best for you?”
All these questions direct your energy and your thinking into creating your future. Yes! Creating your future, because the best way to predict the future is to create it, as Peter Drucker said.
For the last few months, I’ve been working on my new personal finance planning online course, and also on my app Carol to help users better manage their personal money. Therefore I’ve had a lot of great opportunities to learn more about powerful questions regarding finances. I spoke with the first participants of my course, and also with attendees of our meetups in London, our webinars and online conferences, and with the readers of our blog and newsletter.
Quite intensive work! And these are the fruits of my work – the most popular questions on your personal money matters.
1. Is personal finance difficult? We don’t have sufficient financial education, so we learn a lot of popular views which are very detrimental. However, when you start learning finance, you quickly discover that it isn’t rocket science. No. finance is relatively easy.
2. Can you be successful without a financial advisor? You can do most of the important financial work alone after you have developed the necessary skills and a general understanding of finance. However, it is not a bad idea to collaborate with a financial advisor in order to achieve those more complex financial goals.
3. Can you become financially free without budgeting? This is the question asked by people who have just learned about what a budget is and how to make one, and simply don’t like doing it! Yes, I agree that budgeting your money isn’t as exciting as shopping, but it’s not so bad – and it is important! A budget is your road map, your life plan. The budget contains all your figures and all the wisdom necessary for you to make proper financial decisions. There is no chance to get anywhere without your personal finance budget.
4. You can only afford to save £10-£20 a month. Should you even bother? Yes! From a technical point of view, saving up is the easiest thing in the world. All you need to do is put a certain amount of money aside and keep it until your savings goal is accomplished.
You can open a special savings account (or any account, for that matter) or use a big jar, visible to members of your family, where everyone can put some coins & banknotes in and watch the money grow.
However, from an emotional and mental perspective, saving money in a world driven by pleasure and spending may often seem like an unfeasible and hopeless task. That’s why you should save always regardless whether you think you have enough money or not. To build a habit and to practice financial discipline is the best road to financial freedom.
5. What is the level you can safely go into debt? Your personal debt shouldn’t exceed 30-40% of your income. When you budget your money you can easily find the proper figure for you.
6. How do you know what is enough money for you? When you budget your money on a regular basis and plan your finances, then you know what is enough money for you. There is no one pattern for everyone. You can simply choose what is best for you and set up your individual financial goals without bothering what others do.
7. How can you measure your wealth? There are quite a lot of ways in which we measure our wealth, but the most popular are usually totally wrong.
Most of us assume that the more someone has, the richer they are. The only thing that counts is visible signs of wealth. That’s why we have so many problems with debts – because we believe that other people should see (and, of course, admire) our wealth.
We have, however, one great tool that helps us properly understand how we should measure personal wealth: net worth.
Your net worth is your assets minus your liabilities.
What are assets? Assets are tangible or intangible resources and values you have, anything that has any monetary value, such as savings, bonds, properties, cars, precious metals, patents and any intellectual properties.
What are liabilities? Liabilities are your debts, mortgages, taxes and everything you owe.
8. Can you achieve bigger life goals without taking out loans? When you need a house to live in, and you have to pay for your education or to start your business it might be challenging not to use credit. There are good debts and bad debts. The first are to help your growth and accelerate your income; the second are for consumption and pleasures. Always choose good debts and never go into bad debt.
9. Why don’t you earn enough money?
These are the eight most popular reasons why you DON’T EARN MORE
You don’t have professional / business goals
You don’t educate yourself on a daily basis
You don’t grasp opportunities because you don’t believe in yourself
You are afraid of failure
You don’t work effectively enough
You don’t network regularly to meet new people who can help you achieve your goals
You don’t like change
You don’t take massive action on a daily basis
As you see, finance is connected with other dimensions of your life. If you want to achieve financial freedom, you need to look after your financial literacy – as well as your life goals, your values and character.
10. Does formal education help you to earn more money? Formal education helps us to be specialists and employees. The most effective way to earn big money is to build your own businesses and invest. So yes, it helps a bit. But only a bit!
11. Can everyone invest? Everyone can learn investing principles and over time develop necessary skills. I think the essential issue in investing is how good you are at risk management. Usually, the higher the risk means you are able to manage the biggest potential gain. If you play it safe only, then your results will be quite average.
You can better manage risk when you ask the proper questions of course. Here are a few examples that might make up your checklist before every investing project:
Do I understand what I’m doing?
Have I planned everything carefully?
What risk can I identify?
Why am I doing this? When you know why you are doing what you are doing then you will be much more motivated and persistent.
And finally: am I ready for anything? Am I ready to do whatever it takes, to put in an extraordinary effort?
12. People who understand modern finance and how the modern world works often use advanced tools to manage their businesses faster and better. The question they ask is:
What should you take into account when choosing the best financial app for you? In our complex world, where we need to deal every day with an infinite flood of information, financial apps are very useful. One of my favourites is You Need A Budget which enables you to control your money and plan your personal money. First, make a quick review of your finances and see what is your the most urgent need and find out what is your long term goal. What do you want to start with? With saving or getting rid of debt? Or perhaps you need to earn more? When you know what your plan is, then you can choose the proper tool.
13. What is the fastest way to achieve financial freedom? Through entrepreneurship and investing. These are the most difficult, and potentially the most profitable ways. However, you also need to plan your finances, realize your goals and have control over your money.
14. Most of us work as employees, so one popular question is whether an employee can achieve financial freedom? If you follow principles of personal finance management then yes, you can. Employees also can systematically accumulate wealth, save and invest wisely, but statistically it takes more time than if you are a business person.
And finally – probably the most popular question on personal finance ever!
15. Does money bring happiness? It is one of those popular and fundamentally wrong questions. Money is not there to bring happiness. Money is there to pay bills or realize your life goals. Money management principles are very rational. You should avoid at all costs these kinds of popular but misguided myths about money.
Do you know that 95% of people around you have their financial priorities completely wrong? If you don’t understand how money works or what the relationship between your financial literacy, your habits, your pattern of thinking and your financial condition is, then you can expect to have a pretty miserable life.
The only effective way to achieve financial freedom is to start by asking proper questions.