Personal finance can be overwhelming — especially if you don’t know where to start. That’s why you should start learning about money on a small scale. With a little time every day, you can learn how to get your finances in order fairly easily. That’s what I did. I started learning about personal finance by listening to podcasts on my commute. A few short years later, and I couldn’t be more confident about how to make and save money. But this wouldn’t have happened without those early years of committing to a couple of minutes every day in order to get my finances in order.
Instead of feeling like there is so much to learn and not knowing where to start, my challenge to you is to start setting aside 20 minutes every day. By committing to this habit of learning about money every single day, you can change your financial future. You’ll learn how to better manage your money and make more money so you can achieve your financial goals. Just aside a specific time when you’ll get it done (e.g.: 6:30-6:50 AM, before you do anything else) that’s easy to follow day in and day out.
During my commute to and from work, I used to listen to Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman on my podcast app. This is how I learned about getting out of debt, saving for retirement, and increasing your net worth. Ultimately, it led me to start my blog and make more money, too. I would not be where I am today without listening to those podcasts. No matter how bad your finances are now, or how much you don’t like the subject — you can change that. You can master your money, and it starts with committing to just 20 minutes a day.
What should you do during the 20 minutes?
There are lots of options. Here are a few of my favorites to get started with learning about money:
- You can read personal finance books;
- You can subscribe to personal finance blogs (subscribe to my blog here) and read them regularly;
- You can listen to financial podcasts (like Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, or Bad With Money by Gabby Dunn);
- You can spend time on your own finances, by organizing and budgeting your money.
Start with whatever is easiest for you. If it’s listening to a podcast during your commute, do that. If it’s reading blogs during your lunch break, do that. The easier you make it, the more likely you’ll follow through. I recommend switching it up from time to time, too. Start with a personal finance book, then move on to listening to a podcast, then to blogs (or whatever order you prefer). Remember to spend time analyzing your own finances as well. It’s a combination of these activities that will help you master your financial life over time. 20 minutes is not a lot of time. But 20 minutes every day for months on end is a lot of time. You will surprise yourself with how much you’ll learn in one year if you do this. It changed my life, so I know it’s possible for you, too.
Why 20 minutes?
20 minutes a day is manageable. That’s why you should start there — with a small commitment. Learning everything there is to know about personal finance seems crazy, so, if you’re like most people, you won’t do anything at all. But 20 minutes — who can’t spare 20 minutes in the morning, or right before bed, or during lunch? I can find 20 minutes. You can find 20 minutes. It’s doable, it will move you forward, and it can turn into a habit. You’re constantly feeding your mind new information in small doses. At the time it may not feel like a lot, but over time, it will make a huge impact on your life.
It’s your habits that determine your success. It’s the little daily disciplines that make the difference between failure and success. So, if you want to be successful with money, I suggest starting with 20 minutes a day.
What I learned doing this.
As I said above, this is how I started learning about money. But I also do this in several areas in my life. Whenever I want to learn something new or accomplish something that seems overwhelming, I implement this rule. For example, when I was in law school, I went to The University of Dayton School of Law for my first year. I knew I wanted to transfer, but I couldn’t find the time to apply (literally it’s insane how much reading I was doing). So, I committed to filling out transfer applications Sunday through Friday from 9-10 PM. I applied to transfer to over five law schools during this time, and I got into my top choice — The Ohio State University Moritz School of Law.
I also use this rule for reading. I read during my lunch hour for about 45 minutes. Since this is an ongoing habit, I don’t do it 100% of the time, but as long as I don’t have anything else going on, I spend it reading. If I didn’t, I don’t know when I would find the time to read for pleasure! The point is that when I feel like there isn’t time, I make time by starting small. Consistency and repetition are key to success. I section off a manageable portion of my day to accomplish my goals — financial and otherwise. And that is what the 20-minute rule is all about.
It’s okay if you’re not where you want to be financially right now. Just know that it doesn’t have to stay that way! You can change it. You just have to take action. Stick to 20 minutes every day to learning about personal finance. Your future self will thank you!
Natalie Bacon is an online entrepreneur. Prior to this, Natalie practiced as a certified financial planner, at a firm that managed over $1B in assets under management. Before her financial planning career, Natalie practiced as a business attorney. Natalie has been featured in CNBC, Forbes, and other publications. Natalie is most passionate about helping young, professional women design their dream lives. Read Natalie‘s full story at NatalieBacon.com/about.
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