Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a college course, computer program, financial advisor, or app that guaranteed to keep you from making any financial mistakes? Of course, nothing like that currently exists. Until it does, we will continue to study, research, seek advice, and make financial decisions to the best of our ability. Sometimes mistakes are made. We can minimize future mistakes by seeking to learn from the past. It is also prudent to learn from the mistakes of others. We should take the wisdom gained from making mistakes and pass it on to our loved ones. Sometimes the greatest things we pass on are the things that we have learned.
While it is certainly profitable to anecdotally share these lessons with our loved ones as the opportunities present themselves, we can preserve the most value from these lessons by writing them down. As these teachable moments come by, putting them on paper will help you refer back to them accurately for your own future benefit. The written account will also serve your loved ones well in the future as part of your legacy of wisdom. Write your accounts specifically, candidly, transparently, and honestly. Others will get a glimpse into who you really are and appreciate that your mistake can actually be a stepping stone for them. As you write about your financial mistakes, consider these helpful steps.
- Brainstorm – Simply begin to create a list of principles you have developed, lessons you have learned, and practices you have created. Write them down as quickly as they come to mind. You don’t have to be a world-class author at this point.
- Meditate – As you look over your list, consider the impact these mistakes and lessons have had on you. Consider the financial loss, the hurt that was caused, the anxiety that was produced, and fights that developed. Be blunt and thorough.
- Prioritize – Take this list you have developed and prioritize it in order from the greatest impact in your life to the least impact in your life.
- Apply – Sit down on a regular basis and apply one item on this list. Take the thought and develop it into a lesson that can be read, understood, and applied by yourself and others.