Mastering Money

Mastering Money is a Skill

One of the biggest ironies of modern life is that we are all taught how to make money but we are not taught how to manage money.  Most kids learn how to make money starting in their teenage years with a paper route, baby-sitting or working at a local fast-food restaurant or retail outlet.

Those kids finish high-school, go on to post-secondary education, and then launch into the real world…often without the benefit of learning about compound interest — the 8th wonder of the world according to the great Albert Einstein, understanding how credit works and its cost, the value of saving and investing early in life, how to budget to live within your means, to name just a few of the critical money skills.

The lack of personal finance education is also a tragedy in the modern age. According to a December 2019 poll conducted by IPSOS, 46% of Canadians (almost half) are $200 or less per month away from not being able to meet all of their bills or debt obligations each month.  

Feeling this precarious about the state of your finances is surely the cause of most financial stress. A lot of stress that could be avoided if people learn to master their money as a skill.

Just like learning a new language or how to play a musical instrument, learning how to manage money takes time, commitment, specific knowledge, practice, learning from mistakes, and lots of discipline.

There are many elements to Personal Finance and many things that need to be mastered within each:

Money Skill

Some Things to Master


Choosing a vocation, trade, or career that will have earning power in good, challenging, and changing times

How to successfully negotiate compensation, pay raises, and benefits with every job


Learning the concept of “Pay Yourself First” to prioritize saving for a future goal and long-term investment

The importance of having an emergency savings fund

Understanding how saving money on every purchase is possible and adds up over time


Learning the concept of “Opportunity Cost” in all types of financial decisions

Understanding the difference between needs and wants

Managing fixed versus variable expenses

How to shop smart at the grocery store and shop wisely online


Using the TFSA and RRSP registered accounts for full tax-benefit and long-term investment

How investment fees and inflation can negatively impact investment returns


Understanding “interest” – the cost of money and debt

How credit cards, personal loans and mortgages work

How to create and maintain an excellent credit score and credit report


How to develop a personalized budget

How to prioritize spending based on needs, wants, and longer-term goals

How to leverage the credit card grace period for efficient cash flow


The importance of setting personal and professional goals to live your best life

Understanding “insurance” and how different types of coverage reduce financial risk

Benjamin Franklin, a Founding Father of the United States and the man who adorns the $100 US dollar bill, has said that “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest”.  Warren Buffett, the world’s most successful investor and one of the world’s wealthiest men, tells us that “The most important investment you can make is an investment in yourself.” 

Mastering your money is a skill but it is not rocket-science…understanding the fundamentals and taking time to learn as your personal and household circumstances change and in anticipation of different life stages — young adult, middle years, middle age, later years — is truly the most valuable gift you can give yourself and your kids.

Challenge yourself to read a book on Personal Finance every six months (from the library of course!), listen to a money podcast on your walks, read a finance blog instead of your social media feed, have regular money conversations with your family and people you trust, follow @getfinsmart on Instagram, and contact me for personalized coaching and support.

It is never too late to improve your money management skills. Anything you learn today can pay big dividends in your and your family’s future. Don’t let fear, overwhelm, or limited time get in your way. There is no shame, no blame. Just a positive path forward.

3 thoughts on “Mastering Money is a Skill”

  1. Your ability to write about and verbalize what you know is always amazing to me. You have such a willingness to share your knowledge and that is so obviously coming from your heart – it’s clearly your purpose in life. We all need your educationals! Keep up the good and meaningful work because I’m always looking for more
    Talking The Walk
    Educational Speaker’s Agency

  2. Very good read, Tanya! Thank you for shining a light on how the possibility of having a rich and full life is only a few steps away, if we give it our attention. I am inspired and grateful.

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