Have you ever been told you can’t do something and just wanted to prove them wrong?
I have a confession to share… I got addicted to playing a video game. It started out as a light distraction until someone told me I couldn’t reach the highest level with a certain character type. I spent the next 9 months dedicated to achieving what they said was impossible. That taught me a couple things: with patience, the right tools, strategies and willingness to ignore mainstream nay-sayers, you can accomplish most anything.
Do you have goals that you’ve put down as pipe dreams? Or maybe your dream life isn’t in the realm of ‘possible’ by society’s standards? I bet in a lot of cases, it is possible.
Just like video games, it’s a matter of honing some character traits, and using the right shields and weapons out there to manage your money.
How does this all work? What has video games taught me about money?
Meet Player 1.
This is you in the game of reality. You’re unique in personality, values, goals and dreams. To level up, your mission is to pursue the journey, or path if you will, to reach your goals and dreams.
Mastering basic financial literacy gives you power and independence. Power to make financial decisions best suited to your unique circumstances. Which increases your independence to live the life you want. And to do this, you’ll need proficiency in three disciplines:
Each discipline has crucial shields and weapons you’ll choose that are best suited for your situation.
Focusing on this one first for two reasons:
- Everyone’s familiar with income. So no need to delve too deep into it.
- No income = everything else is irrelevant. Case closed.
Cash (Category: Weapon | Attribute: Charisma, Wisdom):
This is the total amount of money you bring in from your main job and any side hustles. It all starts here. Every other skill is used to either increase income, grow savings or help guide how you spend it.
Education (Category: Shield | Attribute: Intelligence):
This is any investment you make in college or university programs, courses, certifications etc that help you attain a skill. It helps you land a job, progress in your career. It’s true not all educational investments will land you in a better paying job. You need to do your research here.
There’s no ideal level of income, aside from you know, making enough to meet basic survival needs. Higher income may mean more disposable money to work with and attain goals faster. But that’s not always the case. I’ve seen plenty of examples where someone making half as much is able to save more.
This is the current buzzword for: Figure out what you want and only spend your money on anything needed for survival and that supports your goals, dreams and values.
Vision (Category: Shield | Attribute: Wisdom):
This is your invisible map, compass and barometer. Knowing what truly matters to you and figuring out your goals and dreams, independent from society’s influence. This creates your map for the mission ahead. When you have a map, it’s easier to navigate to a destination. You can adjust your path when you’re veering off and pin point changes needed on anything that doesn’t contribute towards your goals.
Money Feels Detector (Category: Weapon | Attribute: Wisdom, Intelligence, Alertness): This can also be called emotional intelligence with money. But honestly, this really does feel a lot more like whack-a-mole. Where money should be a tool we deploy to get us closer to what we want, self worth and emotions are tangled up with money like a pile of spaghetti. Fine tuning your senses to spot these booby traps and being able to strategically make a decision with as much logic and least amount of emotion possible is important.
This is all about how you manage and deploy the money you have.
Budget (Category: Weapon | Attribute: Intelligence, Strength):
Combining income and frugality to make a plan how your money will be spent and saved. It doesn’t matter how you do this (spreadsheets, budget apps, etc) as long as it achieves spending (and saving!) your money in line with your values and goals.
Emergency fund (Category: Shield | Attribute: Agility, Strength):
Having cash in a savings account, immediately at your disposal to cover all basic necessary expenses for 3 – 6 months. This can be used to shield yourself from sudden job loss, unexpected expenses, medical emergencies…
Investments (Category: Weapon | Attribute: Agility):
Targeting various investment vehicles to take advantage of compound interest to increasing your net worth (cash – debt = net worth) over time. This is your key weapon that will be deployed to achieve your goals and dreams. Whether it’s enough money to start a business, sufficient passive income to ‘retire’ or semi-retire, this gives you the freedom from traditional financial limitations and obligations.
Financial literacy is a matter of understanding shields and weapons
Being financially knowledgeable only feels overwhelming when you’re wading through information that doesn’t start at level 1. Games are fun right? See how long you stay motivated by starting on the highest difficulty setting! Financials, like a game, is a series of shields and weapons aimed at maximizing your income, reducing spending and growing savings.
Harness income, frugality and finance to achieve independence & freedom needed to live your vision of life.