3 Life-Changing Money Lessons I Learned From Personal Finance Authors

  • I host a podcast called The Rewired Soul and have interviewed some of the top personal finance authors.
  • Daniel Crosby taught me that being right doesn’t make you smart, and Nick Maggiulli showed me that it takes luck to buy a house.
  • Brian Feroldi helped me see that no one – not even Elon Musk – affects the price of a stock.

The public school system taught me nothing about financial literacy, and neither did my lower-middle-class parents. Luckily, I’m a very curious person who likes to read, and at 35 I decided I was going to learn how to invest, save, and be smarter with my money. I read dozens of books on personal finance to educate myself, and I had the chance to speak with some of the authors of my podcast, The Rewired Soul.

Daniel Crosby, Nick Maggiulli and Brian Feroldi taught me a lot through their incredible books, but I learned even more by being able to talk to them personally. Here are three of the biggest money lessons I learned from these personal finance experts.

1. Being right does not make you smart

From an early age, we are all taught to “trust our instincts” and follow our intuition. As someone who has made many terrible decisions based on my instincts, I have first-hand experience of why this advice is terrible.

When Daniel Crosby came on the podcast to discuss his book, “The Laws of Wealth,” I learned more about the science behind why our intuition regularly fails us. More importantly, I learned why our ego prevents us from understanding this earlier.

Crosby specializes in behavioral finance, which examines our irrational behaviors when it comes to money. He has a doctorate in psychology and explained how our thinking is often wrong. That’s why we buy high and sell low when investing, even though we know we should be doing the opposite. This is also why we believe we can predict the markets or fail to recognize the signs of a bubble.

I asked Crosby why we are so oblivious to these mistakes we regularly make while investing.

I’ve learned that one of our biggest problems is that we celebrate our wins and make excuses for our losses.

When you’re right, it’s because you’re a genius, but when you’re wrong, it’s just bad luck. For behavioral finance experts like Crosby, results aren’t what matters most. The decision-making process is what matters most.

If I raced on the highway and survived, it wouldn’t be a good decision. Likewise, if I throw a ton of money into a bad stock and, due to random factors, its price doubles, that doesn’t mean it was smart to do so.

Stepping back and evaluating the reasons I make investment decisions has helped me create good investing habits as well as other financial decisions.

2. It may take some luck to buy a house

I didn’t know Nick Maggiulli, but when his new book came out, I drank it in about a day. “Just Keep Buying” taught me a lot because Maggiulli challenges conventional wisdom through data. The book taught me why having credit card debt isn’t always bad, and why you might not want to max out your 401(k). When he came on the podcast, I wanted to ask him a bit more about the idea that millennials like me are in a tougher situation than previous generations.

I’m a single dad working like crazy maintaining various side businesses, and I only recently started making over $60,000 a year. My girlfriend just graduated from graduate school in social work, so she won’t be making a lot of money either. The housing market in Las Vegas, where we live, is out of whack, and I don’t see how to save 20% for a

advance payment

is realistic. The average cost of a home in Las Vegas is over $430,000, so you would need to save $86,000. And that’s if prices don’t go up when we save so much.

While chatting with Maggiulli, I asked him if there was something I was missing because it doesn’t seem close at hand. Maggiulli is a strong believer in finding ways to increase your income, and so am I, but he acknowledged that it might take some luck in this housing market.

Without an amazing job opportunity, inheritance, or other major financial windfall, he told me it would be hard to buy a house unless the market changed soon.

He lives in New York, and renting is pretty normal there. Now, I think renting for the foreseeable future might also be the most realistic option for us.

3. No one assigns stock

We’re not even halfway through the year, and there’s been no shortage of public outrage and controversy related to the stocks. There have been viral stories of how Joe Rogan drove Spotify’s stock price down or Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter drove Tesla stock down. I was skeptical of these stories, but I wasn’t sure.

Brian Feroldi just released his book, “Why Does the Stock Market Go Up?”, so I thought he would be the best person to ask when I interviewed him on the podcast.

When I asked him what he thought of these reports, he shut them down pretty quickly. He explained that we have to look at the market as a whole. By doing this we see if it is just the price of an individual stock that is falling or the whole market.

The stock market has been awful for most of 2022, so on days when these stocks were down, most other stocks were down as well. Thanks to Feroldi, I know it’s not a good idea to believe these stories about just one person collapsing on an action – and I know it’s especially important that I don’t make decisions based on of these stories.

I’m still at the beginning of my financial journey, so I still have a lot to learn. I’m extremely lucky to be able to talk to some of these experts and learn directly from them, and I look forward to discovering more ways to improve my financial future.