The most important turning point in my adult life might seem very basic for many people. But for me, it was a significant switch in mindset and view of my own abilities. The topic is money and financial literacy.
Imagine this: You have to log in to your online bank account to check your financial status. Your palms are sweaty, you have a stomachache, you can almost feel a migraine come sneaking and your heart is in your throat. For too long, you have ignored your finances and swung your credit card without blinking. And now you are waiting for a view that screams to you: “You do not have any control over your finances!” or worse: “you are financial illiterate, fool!“
Maybe you know that scenario. Or some variant of it. Maybe not. But I, for one, know it very well and I can still recall the terrible feeling. Despite my master degree from a business school, I have been convinced for so many years that I was not qualified enough to get control of my money and that I could never be financial literate.
My turning point
But on a holiday to Oman a few days after New Year 2014, I walked around and looked at one huge car after another and houses bigger than I had ever seen before. The wealth was dazzling! I decided to study the wealthy people I saw everywhere. I thought that they could not all be born with a silver spoon in their mouths, but that they had to have some qualities that made them able to earn and manage their money. In the deck chair next to the pool, I swore that I would learn to turn the red minus numbers on my bank account into surplus. And most importantly, I wanted to learn how to invest and make my money grow and work for me and be financial free. I made a decision. I would no longer be afraid to check my bank account because I had spent a lot more than I earned.
I decided that even though I knew nothing about where to buy stocks, how much money I should have in order to start and what on earth the DAX Index is, I had to learn. And I had to buy my first stocks within 6 months!
So I started waking up before my family in the mornings and walked all over the city while I listened to investing podcasts and all the audiobooks I could get my hands on. I googled EVERYTHING I did not understand and slowly I learned.
Complicated and difficult
To my surprizse, I soon found out, that I was definetely not alone with my ‘money-fobia’. A group of bankers actually told me laughing, that billions of dollars have been earned in the financial sector fooling us into believing that we are all too stupid to understand our finances, investments and pensions ourselves.
But it is not so mysterious – and anyone trying to fool you into believing that you are too stupid to understand your finances or invest should be ashamed. As a high-ranking director in the financial sector told me: “if your financial adviser (in your bank) can’t answer your questions so you understand it, it’s because he didn’t even understand it himself! And that’s his problem.“
But oh my, I’ve spent a long time buying into that belief, that investment wasn’t something I could figure out.
There are some strong forces at stake within and around us when it comes to money. But I slowly I realized that ‘money’ and investing are skills just like driving a car or sowing. Skills that we all can learn.
As a futurist Louise Fredbo-Nielsen uses trends, game changers, and transformations to create powerful visions as well as tangible initiatives to inspire your company’s future. She is a bestselling author and has won several national prizes for her academic- and entrepreneurial projects. Louise is on the board of SMILfonden and Nobel Sustainability Trust Denmark. She holds a Master degree in International Business & Politics from Copenhagen Business School, Sciences Po Paris and Guanghua School of Management Beijing.
For more information: http://futurenavigator.com/portfolio-item/louise-fredbo-nielsen