8 Harsh Money Lessons That I Don’t Want You to Learn The Hard Way

“Nobody ever told me about this when I was growing up. I wish that I knew more about managing my money.”

This is one comment that I keep on hearing from friends. This thought extends to saving money, landing a dream job, and trying to figure out life.

College, high school, and our parents are all supposed to prepare us for adulthood. This doesn’t happen. We end up learning things the hard way (the expensive way) way too late in life. I’m going to share 8 harsh money lessons that I don’t want you to learn the hard way. I want to help you save yourself from the pain, time, and empty bank account.

Harsh money lessons

I’m always meeting people who don’t feel ready for adulthood and managing money. Truth be told, I still get anxious when my mortgage payments are coming up or when I have my property tax bill arrive in the mail. So you’re not alone if you’re confused about money.

I just spoke with a buddy who was annoyed with his job. He was complaining about his boss, his co-workers, and how he doesn’t make enough money for anything. Since I believe in this guy, I had to follow-up.

“So what are you doing about this?”

This is where things got uncomfortable. This is where most conversations get uncomfortable. We’re addicted to complaining about situations.

He didn’t have anything to say. I’m not trying to put him down. I just know that you can relate. It feels like you’re not making enough money, yet you don’t know what to do.

Here are harsh money lessons that are going to save you time, struggle, and money…

[Must read: How to manage money as an adult.]

Lesson #1: You’re in control of how much money you make.

Your boss doesn’t want to pay you more money. Your clients aren’t looking to give you a raise. You’re not going to start your first job at the highest salary in the industry. Your job may not even pay you enough money for your desired lifestyle.

Here’s the thing: You’re totally responsible for how much money you make.

It’s up to you to do the following when it comes to making more money:

  • Negotiate a salary that you’re proud of. You don’t have to accept the first job. Be prepared to prove your worth.
  • Ask for a raise when you feel that you deserve it. Have you completed a huge project? Try to ask for a raise.
  • Switch jobs. You can always switch jobs. You’re not forced to stay at the same place forever.
  • Upgrade your skills. Have you taken any courses lately? Have you done anything to make yourself more valuable?
  • Start a side hustle. A side business can help you bring in more money. If things work out, you can eventually do this full-time.
  • Sell your junk. You can start selling off crap for more money.

The point is that you can always make more money. It’s up to you to decide how you go about it. I promise you that there’s nobody out there in a hurry to pay you more. I’m not saying this to offend you. I want to see you take action.

Find a way to bring in more money. This will solve most of your problems.

Are you ready to make more money? Start here.

  1. How to start a blog in 20 minutes.
  2. The exact steps to getting paid to be a writer online.
  3. See how 9 famous bloggers made their first dollar online.
  4. Rent a room on Airbnb.
  5. The article about starting an online business that I wish someone wrote a decade ago.
  6. How to get paid online.
  7. Should you drive for Uber or Lyft?

Lesson #2: Saving money is really tough because you have to say no often.

It’s fun to go out. It’s fun to treat yourself. It’s fun to be spending money. Saving money isn’t so fun. You have to say no.

There’s no way around this. The sooner you start saying no to everything that you don’t care about, the sooner that you can start saying yes to the things that you really want to do.

My best trick here is to think about the things that I get to have by saving (such as travel) instead of complaining about everything that I don’t have (fancy car).

Lesson #3: Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone.

I have throw this one in here because self-help and entrepreneurship is exploding on social media.

Not everyone’s meant to be self-employed. It’s actually really tough. You’re in charge of everything. You have to find a way to bring money in. You have to manage your own schedule. You can’t take a day off and get paid still (zero sick days!).

You know how you have a boss who tells you what to do? You don’t have that when you’re on your own. You have to fend for yourself.

If you hate your job, then you should try to switch jobs. The solution isn’t always to start a business or to chase your passions or to go back to school for more education.

Lesson #4: You may not have the skills yet to make your dream income.

Sometimes when people come to me for advice they don’t like what I have to say.

It’s fun to throw out phrases like:

  • “Do what you love.”
  • “Know your worth.”
  • “Never settle when you deserve more.”
  • “Do what sets your soul on fire.”

Guess what? You have to up your game to get to this stage. You can’t demand a dream income or expect to start a million dollar business if you haven’t invested in yourself.

The good news is that it takes time to develop the skills to make more money. Try to focus on getting better at your job/career path and your income will go up.

Check out our video on how Eric created a source of income for himself by becoming a freelance writer.

Lesson #5: Being cheap can be expensive.

“I missed a shift at work because my phone had no reception.”

A friend of mine got the cheapest phone plan so that they could save about $30 a month. The only problem was that this provider just didn’t work in most places of the city. One day this friend missed a shift at work because their phone wasn’t working. The phone had no service. The $30 savings cost them a shift where they could’ve made at least $150. The second that they missed one call, the savings would be useless.

There are times where you shouldn’t be cheap.

Keep on investing in yourself and trying to improve your worth so that you can make more money one day. Trust me, I know how difficult it is to do things that don’t have an instant payoff. The trick is to not expect rapid results. Try to enjoy the ride because the destination won’t always be all that satisfying.

Lesson #6: You can’t cash in the investments that you didn’t make.

“I should’ve bought that place.”

A friend was telling me how lucky I was for getting into real estate when I did. This guy is always researching investments and strategies. I’m all for research, but at some point you have to take action. You have to do something or you’re just going to keep on reading about people who got rich.

I know that risking your money isn’t something that many can do. However, there’s no fun in always playing it safe.

If you want to invest your money, then do it! Make it happen. Read up on investing and get into the game early on. Take some chances before your life gets too complicated.

Lesson #7: Most things are designed to take your money.

“I’m convinced that everything in the world is created to take your money.”

An economics professor dropped this on us in class one day. I agree with this. There will always be ways to spend money. The trick is to find ways to make saving money easy (pay yourself first) and find ways to have fun without going broke.

This is also unpopular to say publicly, but the sooner that you start producing more, the sooner that you can improve your bank account (and hopefully get rich!).

Lesson #8: It’s not healthy to count someone else’s money.

I must confess that I’m a pretty envious guy. I get jealous easily. I hate to see someone else succeed instead of me.

There’s just thing that we have to remember though:

You can’t be jealous of what someone has if you didn’t do what they did.

I’ve had friends complain to me about how I don’t have to work and how I’m lucky for some of my investments. If you didn’t spend ten years blogging, you can’t complain about someone who did. If you didn’t do what your friend did, don’t expect to have similar results.

If you didn’t invest your life savings into something and somebody else did, then that’s on you.

I’m not saying that you have to make audacious investments to get ahead. I’m just saying that you need to focus on what you’re doing if you’re not getting the results that you want. Being jealous of your friends on social media won’t help you get ahead.

You want to finally have money in the bank? Get started right now.

Life won’t always be fair. There’s a lot that we didn’t learn growing up. Sometimes on-the-job-training is the only option. I hope that these harsh money lessons will open your eyes.

What’s a harsh money lesson that you had to learn the hard way? I would love to hear from you.

5 thoughts on “8 Harsh Money Lessons That I Don’t Want You to Learn The Hard Way”

  1. Great tips here! I appreciate your honesty. I have had my fair share of money mistakes and know many others who had to figure out managing money the expensive way. I think one of the simplest ways to start managing money is simply to do the basic math upfront – like figuring out how much you’ll be paying in interest, before taking out a loan, for example.

  2. Awesome post! My lesson I had to learn the hard way is that debt is evil. Unless it’s being used to invest, it’s to be avoided at all costs.

    It took me a few months to get into debt, and decades to finally see the point where I will be out of it. People who start off with the skills to live without it will have much happier lives.

  3. Great article Martin, I totally agree with your main point – people need to take responsibility for their own financial path. That is the only path we can take towards improvement, understanding the reality of our own situation.

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