Money makes us Stupid

November 27, 2012

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In connection to the finance series of our church entitled Unlimited, a four-week series on finance, I will write my next blogs on personal finance.

Have you done anything stupid in your life that you regret? How about doing something stupid when it comes to money? If you are above thirteen years old, I’m sure you have.

I don’t think I am qualified to speak on personal finance if I will just base it on my prior successes; I believe my qualification comes from all my money failures. And I have a lot! Thinking back on my experiences, in reading books on money, and talking to financial consultants, one thing I realized is that:

Personal Finance is 80% Behavior and 20% Knowledge.

Finance guru Dave Ramsey coined this phrase. It means that when it comes to money, we are very emotional. As Dale Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence says, EQ or Emotional Quotient is 24 times more powerful than IQ or Intellectual Quotient. We don’t think, we “Just Do It!” No wonder we do stupid things with our money – or worse – with other people’s money. “We make Dumb Decisions in Money Matters.”

We buy books we don’t read. (Gulity! I have almost a thousand books at home. I haven’t read more than half of them)

We drive 4 x 4 vehicles but we’ve never been to the mountains.

We have 4G cell phones yet most don’t even know how to use them; or don’t even know what “G” stands for. (Its Generation…now you know)

We wear diver’s watches that have never been wet.

I have a friend who bought a P40,000 juicer who used it once, several friends who bought ipads that are now kept away in their desk drawer, an acquaintance who have more than 100 pairs of shoes for his shoe collection; Oh!…that guy is having money problems…I wonder why.

I have a meeting this afternoon to help a businessman who invested millions to start a struggling cookware business without knowing anything much about it. I asked him why he put it up — his answer shocked me — I want to learn to be a better cook. 

Now you know the problem: people are wired to be stupid financially because we are emotional beings; so if you’ve done stupid things with money in the past, don’t feel bad…it’s normal – you’re normal! Now that you know, you can face the problem. The old joke that “You can’t face the problem if your problem is your face” may be funny, but in this case, you are the problem…yet for some, the problem really is their negative-looking face. Join me now, look in the mirror, and say it out loud…I am the problem! Until you change, your money problems will remain. 

How do you solve this problem? The answer – Focus on your behavior; not too much on what you know. Remember: Personal Finance is 80% Behavior and 20% Knowledge. How do you change your behavior? By changing your habits. Psychologists say it takes 21 days to form a habit. So for the next 21 days, change your money habits.

Lets explore how we can do that. In the next few days, I will share some practical money habits that can help change your behavior and hopefully provide favorable results.

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