Do you know the founder of Ford was once accused of being ignorant? In the early part of the 20th century, the Chicago Tribune printed a long string of insults, calling Henry Ford as a person who is “incapable of thought” after he protested military mobilization along the Mexican border. Ford filed a case against the newspaper for $1 million.
During the court hearing, the lawyers of the paper placed Ford on the witness stand to prove that he was generally ignorant. So they asked questions on various topics except about automobiles where he is knowledgeable.
Feeling tired of the never-ending questioning, he replied , “If I really want to answer that foolish question you’ve just asked, or any of the other questions you’ve been asking me, , let me remind you that I have a row of electronic push buttons on my desk, and by pushing the right button, I can summon to my aid, men who can answer any question I desire to ask concerning the business to which I am devoting most of my efforts. Now, will you kindly tell me, why should I clutter up my mind with general knowledge, for the purpose of being able to answer questions, when I have men around me who can supply any knowledge I require?”
At that point, everyone in the courtroom realized it was an answer of an educated man, although he did not finish formal schooling. Ford needs not know everything, but has a team of highly educated people who give him wise counsel to successfully run his business.
The same holds true for our personal financial management. You would be surprised to know that a lot of people know more about the lives of other people specially the movie stars than knowing how to manage their own wealth. They are too busy entertaining themselves while only a few educate themselves about money.
When I was an elementary student, I was very poor in Math. I hated it so much that I nearly failed it. But after asking, “why is Math so difficult?”, the switch inside my brain turned on and I started to gain interest in the subject. The best part is I made friends with people who love Math and learned from them. Up to now, Math is still my favorite and sometimes, I am referred to by my colleagues as a walking calculator.
With regards to personal finance, the same can be applied. Money management is not that complicated. What makes it complicated is the mindset and behavior of the person towards money. By seeking to learn, one can find solution to his financial situation. Below are some suggestions:
- Use the power of the internet. Information nowadays is very accessible via the internet. With just one click, one can get as much information as he wants. He can even join different internet fora and social media that promoted financial literacy. He can also try to befriend netizens who are financially inclined and learn from them.
- Read books. Like Henry Ford, he has a team of advisers to help him run his business. Buying books of reliable authors make them your team of advisers even if they are personally hard to reach. When you read their books, it is as if they are talking with you directly. And what is good is that you can read and reread many times so that what they say sink into your mind. Since your business is personal finance management, then having a library of the books of financial gurus can help a lot.
- Bond with people with the same mind-set. As the saying goes, birds of the same feathers flock together. It is good to bond with successful people because you will learn from their stories and experiences. Since you have good relationship with them, they will be very selfless to share to you their success principles. As an example, when I was in elementary, I bonded with honor students and during our lunch break, we formed a study group where we did our homework together. The result, I graduated with honor like them. It can be said that birds of the same feathers are the same birds.
- Attend seminars. Seminar is one way of getting good information and learning. There are lots of free and paid seminars that tackle personal finance. But take extra care, as you the free seminar you are attending is actually a sales pitch or a scam disguised as personal finance seminar. Make sure to check the background of the speaker and the event organizer.
- Read the Bible. The Bible is the best source of financial knowledge. It is full of verses about sound financial management from savings to investing and risk management. Since God is a rich God, and we are His children, He gave us this Book to guide us in our money management. As a rich Father, He does not want us to be poor but all will depend on our effort to be good steward of the talent He entrusted to us.
Seek and you shall find is part of the verses in the book of Matthew. Here, we are taught that we are to earnestly seek out the good gifts of God and not to seek the unclean things that are not of Him. As we diligently study the scriptures, God’s word begins to embed in our heart and our mind. You are able to focus your thoughts and your prayers on God as you receive the light and understanding that God is giving to you. As we seek the things of God and all His wonderful gifts and blessings; we must humble ourselves before him and remember that it is by His grace and His grace alone that we receive anything good. Personal finance is no different. When we seek to learn the principles from God, we must embed it in our heart and mind. By focusing your thoughts, you get to understand the knowledge gained with humility.