27 September 2023

The greater good: How to be known as someone who’s ‘good with money’

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Liz Knueven* says that being good with money is not about always having the latest and greatest, but about good saving habits and planning for the future.

Photo: Rich Vintage

According to Lynette Khalfani-Cox, an author and money coach, there are certain habits those who are good with money know that the rest of us just don’t understand.

They know they don’t need to buy everything that crosses their path

Khalfani-Cox says that one of the things that people who are good with money do is say no to consumer culture.

“People who are good with money are often not afraid to go against the grain and to actively unplug from consumerism,” she says.

“Whereas the person who is deep in debt and broke and living paycheque to paycheque might drive a BMW and have designer handbags or some of the trappings of success in terms of material goods, the person who does far better has several hundred thousand in the bank,” she continues.

For example, Warren Buffett still lives in a house that’s worth just 0.001 per cent of his net worth (not that you have to be a billionaire to be good with money).

For those who are good with money, it’s all about living on less than you really need to.

When they do buy things, they’re not chasing brands

People who are good with money aren’t chasing name-brand goods.

Instead, they’re chasing value and deals, as well as searching for quality items that will last.

“They’re more concerned with quality as opposed to quantity, and they’re also less interested in brand names just for the sake of flossing and just trying to look good,” says Khalfani-Cox.

And when people who are good with money do splurge, they’re thinking about things long-term.

“If they are going to buy a $500 handbag or something, it’s going to be like, ‘Oh, this bag’s going to last me 10 years’,” she continues.

And they spend their money on experiences over things

“People who are good with money would rather have an experience than an item to be able to show off,” Khalfani-Cox says.

Millennials are increasingly displaying this pattern and making spending on experiences a priority.

As Business Insider’s Hillary Hoffower reports, in a survey of millennials, “more than a quarter of respondents said that after a rough week, the thing that would bring them the most joy is some form of entertainment, such as going to the movies, happy hour, or a concert”.

And in Khalfani-Cox’s opinion, millennials might just be on to something.

They plan carefully for the future

Those who are good with money are planning ahead, whether it’s through saving, investing, or working with financial planners.

“People who are not as capable with money are present-oriented,” says Khalfani-Cox.

One of the key differences between those who are good with money and those who aren’t, in her experience, is that those who are good with money are planning ahead.

“Be strategic in your planning and don’t be so driven by everything today,” she says.

They’re willing to invest in getting financial help

“People who are good with money buy the financial products and services, and buy the team that’s going to help them to gain further wealth,” says Khalfani-Cox.

They see these kinds of expenses as an investment.

“The person with a wealth mindset knows that an accountant, money manager, financial planner, et cetera, is going to help them to double their wealth or to further grow their assets, and potentially their income as well,” she says.

Those who aren’t as good with money are going to feel that they can’t afford this expense, and won’t see it as an investment, she says.

They make saving and investing a part of their routine

Those who are good with money aren’t waiting for a raise or a large gift to save — they’re making it a part of their routine and using whatever money they have now.

“People who are good with money know that discipline and consistency are far more important than large gestures of any kind,” says Khalfani-Cox.

She’s seen this particularly with those wanting to invest.

“The person who is not particularly good at investing or not as good with money is thinking, ‘Oh, I have to wait until I get $5,000’, or, ‘I have to wait until I get a lump sum of cash to be able to invest that’,” she says.

Khalfani-Cox emphasises even the smallest of contributions are valuable.

“These people have made saving or investing a habit and they’re more successful as a result,” she says.

They’re not always millionaires — they just know how to do the best with what they have

“Anybody at any income or asset level can be good with money by practising fiscal discipline and smart money management habits,” says Khalfani-Cox.

While she acknowledges that building wealth is a very different scenario for those with little access to credit and lower incomes, there are still things anyone can do.

Rather than saying they can’t, people who are good with money see anything as a step in the right direction.

Someone who is good with money would say, “If I can just save, even if it’s $25 a month, that’s better than nothing’, rather than, ‘Why bother saving if I’m only saving $25 per month?’”

It doesn’t take tremendous wealth to manage your money well.

Whether you’re saving $25 or $2,500 per month, anyone who’s good with money knows how to work with the wealth they have.

* Liz Knueven is a personal finance reporter for Business Insider. She tweets at @lizknueven. Her website is lizknueven.com.

This article first appeared at www.businessinsider.com.au.

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