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What is the bare minimum I need to know to avoid ruining my life?

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- It's typical in human psychology, when something seems a little bit intimidating, or if something might give you answers that you don't like, to kinda ignore it, and pretend like it's not there. And money is one of those things that I think some people, like, well, if I really were to look at the money, my finances, one it might be a little intimidating. But also, it might give me an answer that I don't like. It might say that actually, I can't afford that fancy sports car, or I can't afford that fancy dress or that fancy suit. And I don't like that answer. I wanna be able to buy that thing. I wanna go to the fancy restaurant with my friends. And so I'm just gonna kind of ignore it. Don't do that. That is setting yourself up for disaster. You know, in the short-term, yeah, you might enjoy that nice meal, that nice vacation, the fancy car. But in the long-term if you're not thinking about your finances, you're gonna have nights where you're staying up all night. It's gonna cause you stress, it's gonna make it hard for you to engage with your family, your friends, with work. And so, short-term gain for long-term pain is not a good trade off. So I would encourage you, you don't have to get a PhD in finance, or have to do super complicated spreadsheets or anything like that. But just do basic, back-of-the-envelope calculations. How much after tax income are you bringing in every month? And look at the after tax income. So look at your pay stub. How much is coming in every month? And then what are your expenditures? How much you spend on rent, how much do you have to, if you have a car, how much are you spending on that. How much are you spending on insurance. How much are you spending on groceries, how much are you spending on eating out? How much are you spending on clothes, on vacations, on other things? And just have a general sense of this. And one, write down what you think you're spending on these things, but then go into your bank account. You know, you have online banking now. You can see what you actually spent on these things, and I think you might get surprised at, hey, I thought I was only spending $100 a month on eating out. Oh wow, I'm spending $350 a month on eating out. That's a lot more than I thought. So do all of that, make sure that at minimum, you're living in a sustainable way. That you can afford your rent, the way you're living, your car payment, your insurance, and all that. But ideally, and this is something that I tell to everyone who'll listen, I tell myself, I tell my children. Live below your means.
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