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Let's face it, personal finance isn't nuclear physics.
The basics are so simple that anyone can get the concepts down in less than a day -- spend less than you earn, save and invest the rest.
Knowing what should be done and actually doing it, however, are two different things.
Most people realize that spending more money than they have is a bad, bad thing. That still doesn't keep millions of people from racking up credit-card debt.
Here are 10 money lessons I wish I had known when I was 20 (I'm now 42 years old), which also have the power to change your life if you are able to embrace them.
10. Money Doesn't Buy Happiness
I knew this in my heart when I was younger. After all, who can't hum the tune of the Beatles song Can't Buy Me Love?
But my head often countered it in real life. It took me several years of working in a large corporation making good money, but not enjoying my job, to finally get it through my head that money in itself does not make you happy, and the accumulation of money will do very little for your happiness unless you know how to use that money once you have it.
The happiness comes from the opportunities money makes available so that you can do the things that you want to do. If you have no idea what these things are, no amount of money will make you happy.
9. Goals Are the Key
I didn't begin to make specific financial goals until my early 30s, and it kills me that I lost 10 years in this department.
The old saying that if you don't know where you're going, it's difficult to get there is never more true with your financial goals. It wasn't until I took the time to write down my financial goals in detail that I began to find financial success.
Financial goals give you something to strive for and give you clear knowledge on how you want to spend the money that you earn. They also greatly help you avoid impulse purchases and spending money on things that aren't important.