- I host a podcast called The Rewired Soul and I’ve interviewed some top personal finance authors.
- Daniel Crosby taught me that being right doesn’t make you smart, and Nick Maggiulli showed me it may take luck to buy a house.
- Brian Feroldi helped me see that no single person — not even Elon Musk — affects a stock price.
The public school system didn’t teach me anything about financial literacy, and neither did my lower-middle-class parents. Fortunately, I’m a very curious person who loves to read, and at the age of 35, I decided I was going to learn about investing, saving, and being smarter with my money. I’ve read dozens of books about personal finance to educate myself, and I’ve been fortunate enough to speak with some of the authors on my podcast, The Rewired Soul.
Daniel Crosby, Nick Maggiulli, and Brian Feroldi have taught me a ton through their amazing books, but I learned even more from 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 doesn’t make you smart
From a young age, we’re all taught to “trust our gut” and follow our intuition. As someone who has made a lot of terrible decisions based on my gut, I have firsthand experience with why this is terrible advice.
When I had Daniel Crosby come on the podcast to discuss his book, “The Laws of Wealth,” I learned more of the science behind why our intuition fails us regularly. More importantly, I learned why our egos stop us from figuring this out sooner.
Crosby specializes in behavioral finance, which takes a look at our irrational behaviors when it comes to money. He has a PhD in psychology and explained how our thinking is often flawed. This is why we buy high and sell low when investing even though we know we should do the opposite. It’s also why we think we can predict markets or don’t recognize the signs of a bubble.
I asked Crosby why we’re so oblivious to these mistakes we make on a regular basis while investing.
I learned that one of our biggest problems is that we highlight our wins and make excuses for our losses.
When we’re right, it’s because we’re a genius, but when we’re wrong, it was just bad luck. For behavioral finance experts like Crosby, outcomes aren’t what matter the most. The decision-making process is what matters the most.
If I ran across the freeway and survived, that wouldn’t make a good decision. Similarly, if I dump a ton of money into a bad stock and, due to random factors, it doubles in price, that doesn’t mean it was smart to do that.
Taking a step back and evaluating the process of why I make investment decisions has helped me create good habits with investing as well as other financial decisions.
2. It may take some luck to buy a house
I was unfamiliar with Nick Maggiulli, but when his new book came out, I binged it in about a day. “Just Keep Buying” taught me so much because Maggiulli challenges conventional wisdom through data. The book taught me why having credit card debt isn’t always bad, and why you may 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 myself are in a tougher spot than previous generations.
I’m a single father who works like crazy by holding down various side hustles, and I only recently started making over $60,000 a year. My girlfriend just finished grad school for social work, so she won’t be making a ton of money either. The housing market in Las Vegas, where we live, is out of control, and I don’t see how saving 20% for a
is realistic. The average cost of a house in Vegas is over $430,000, so we’d need to save $86,000. And that’s if the prices don’t go up by the time we save that much.
When chatting with Maggiulli, I asked him if there was something I’m missing because this doesn’t seem within reach. Maggiulli is a big believer in finding ways to increase your income, and I am too, but he acknowledged that it may take some luck in this housing market.
Without an incredible job opportunity, an inheritance, or another major financial windfall, he told me it’d be tough to buy a house unless the market changes soon.
He lives in New York, and renting is pretty normal there. Now, I’m thinking renting for the foreseeable future may be the most realistic option for us as well.
3. No single person affects a stock
We’re not even halfway through the year, and there’s been no shortage of stock-related public outrage and controversy. There have been viral narratives about how Joe Rogan made Spotify’s share price plummet or Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter made Tesla stock fall. I was skeptical of these narratives but wasn’t sure.
When I asked him his thoughts on these news stories, he shut them down pretty quick. He explained that we have to look at the market as a whole. By doing this, we see if it’s just one individual stock price that’s down or the entire market.
The stock market has been awful for most of 2022, so on the days these stocks were down, so were most of the other stocks. Thanks to Feroldi, I know that it’s not a good idea to believe these narratives about a single person crashing a stock — and I know it’s especially important that I don’t make decisions based on these narratives.
I’m still early in my financial journey, so I still have a lot to learn. I’m extremely fortunate to be able to talk to some of these experts and learn from them directly, and I can’t wait to discover more ways to improve my financial future.