Proverbs 16:16 states, “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver!”
This is sage advice, but not really a prevailing attitude in today’s culture. Today, we often see people racking up huge bills on their credit cards because they can’t wait to get the latest and greatest products and services. We see people with huge homes and expensive cars, but empty, sad hearts. We see people on the brink of destruction due to bad decisions and bad habits. As the proverb says, wisdom, not wealth, gets you through this life successfully. If you are a wise person, you can wisely manage your finances as well.
If you want to become a wise person, you need to start acting like one. Here are some characteristics of a wise person to consider emulating:
Characteristics of a Wise Person
1. They Educate Themselves.
Educate yourself. Wise people learn the basics of personal finance, including information about budgeting, retirement accounts, mortgages, and life insurance. You can’t make solid decisions about money without a deep understanding of all of the elements involved in your finances.
2. They Are Disciplined.
Wise people exercise self-control. If you’ve invested in a stock as a long-term investment opportunity, don’t panic and sell the stock based on one day of volatility. If you have a set budget, use discipline to stick to your budget as you walk though the shopping mall. Tip: If you have trouble following a budget, try the envelope budgeting system.
3. They Admit Their Mistakes and Learn From Them.
People learn from their mistakes because they must live through the consequences. For example, if you’ve ever lent money to a friend or relative who wouldn’t pay you back, you are wise if you never lend money to these people again. No matter how hard the fall, always get back up and start again. Begin by admitting your mistakes, and then use those mistakes as learning opportunities.
4. They Are Patient.
Patience is a virtue, and valuable when it comes to personal finances. A wise person saves enough money to purchase a fun, new gadget instead of charging it to a credit card. Wise people take their time when making important decisions, like buying a new car, or a home. When you exercise patience, you give yourself a chance to properly gather information, and to weigh all of your options.
5. They Take Instruction Humbly.
A wise person admits that they don’t know everything. They accept the fact that other people are more qualified and more knowledgeable than they are, without dismay. By valuing others’ opinions and knowledge, a wise person opens up to the possibility of acquiring and retaining valuable information. Wise people are not entitled, and they welcome the input of others.
6. They Can Handle Rejection and Failure.
A wise person doesn’t worry about rejection when asking for a promotion during a job performance review. A wise person takes action on side business ideas to earn passive income, without worrying about failure. If you don’t risk failure, you may never obtain significant success.
7. They Know That They Can Only Control Themselves.
Wise people don’t worry about what other people think or what other people do. They know that they can only control themselves and that what other people think doesn’t matter. For example, if a wise person lives in a small, modest home because the house was affordable, he or she doesn’t worry about people in larger, costlier homes.
8. They Are Guided by Wisdom.
Wisdom is better than riches. Wealth is important, but does not take precedence over family, friends, and health. Money should be used as a means to achieving one’s goals, but should not be the end goal.
9. They Know Their Priorities.
Wise people put first things first and last things last. They put family time first, before hobbies or free time. They pay off debt, before they buy something new. Wise people have their lives sorted out, and they know where they should direct their attention.
10. They Are Trustworthy and Steadfast.
A wise person treats others as they want to be treated, because they know it will help them, not hurt them. The wise person is who we always go to when we need solid advice. Wise people are who we turn to and who we trust in times of need.
11. They Take Calculated Risks.
Without some risk, there is limited chance of success. Wise people take risks in support of their goals, without endangering themselves or harming others. Most great stories about entrepreneurial success started with someone taking a chance.
12. They Make the Most of Their Relationships.
Wise people understand and revere the power of networking. They don’t shy away from asking advice of successful friends and family members, and they share their successes with others. Wise people continue to learn and increase their base of knowledge, and they know this is significantly impacted by the relationships they cultivate.
13. They Don’t Live Beyond Their Means.
Wise people pay their bills on time and only buy things they can afford. They don’t feel pressured to spend money on items they don’t need.
14. They Don’t Pay Full Price.
Wise people clip coupons, sign up for discount clubs, and shop during sales. They don’t mind holding up the line at the grocery store while cashiers ring up coupons (i.e. extreme couponing). They willingly buy half-price sweaters in the summer, and discounted sandals in the winter. They comparison shop online to find the best prices for big purchases, and they never, ever pay full price.
15. They Don’t Squander Money.
Whether it’s a tip, winnings from a poker game, or a well-deserved bonus at work, wise people know they need to save or invest this money. Many people squander “found” money, but wise people know this money can help them achieve their long-term financial goals. Instead of wasting this money on something that won’t last or on items they don’t need, wise people put found money to work for them.
If it’s true that you can become a wise person by emulating one, this article gives you the blueprint for success. Whether it’s gaining knowledge, putting family first, or taking risks, there’s a lot to be learned from wise people. Take a close look at your personal finances to determine whether you make wise financial decisions and how you can improve. It might just the right time for a change.
Do you have wise tips for managing your finances?
Categories: Budgeting, Credit and Debt, Money Management, Spending and Saving
Quick -- who are the wisest people you know? Chances are they have at least a few things in common: They're experienced, kind and of a certain age. Wisdom, the thinking generally goes, is hard-earned by putting in your time and piecing together scraps of knowledge along the way.
But maybe a younger person also sprang to mind -- someone who, despite his or her relative youth, you regard as genuinely wise. That's because wisdom -- which University of Florida, Gainesville sociology professor Monika Ardelt, defines as a combination of cognitive, reflective and compassionate qualities -- is not the sole purview of the elderly. Wisdom, explains Ardelt (who studies the topic), is something that can be cultivated, and the potential pay-offs are big: Her research has shown that wise men and women enjoy improved well-being as they age, because they're better able to deal with challenges, such as declining health and the loss of loved ones.
So what are the secrets of those people who are wise beyond their years? Ardelt shares a few traits that wise people tend to have in common, as well as several pathways for getting there ... soon.
1. Wise people have a lot of experiences ...
The reason it's often said that wisdom comes with age is, in fact, because older people tend to have had more life experiences than their younger counterparts. And experience, Ardelt says, is one of the true cornerstones of wisdom.
2. ... And they're sponges.
"It's not just experiences alone that make you wise, it is learning from them," Ardelt says -- and not everyone does that. That's why she pushes back against the idea that travel necessarily cultivates wisdom. Sure, some people leave their comfort zone and see the world through a different lens, which opens them up in new and valuable ways, but others travel the world and don't learn at all. If anything, Ardelt said, traveling just reinforces their negative stereotypes. The key is soaking up lessons wherever you are, whether it's the town where you've lived your entire life, or some far-flung location.
3. Wise people see what's right in front of them.
After the publication of a recent New York Times article on the connection between age and wisdom (which referenced Ardelt's research) a reader wrote her summing up wisdom as, basically, understanding the obvious. "Wise people know something," Ardelt says. "But the interesting thing is not that they know more, about, say, the origin of the universe ... wise people actually know the deeper meaning of things that are generally known, actually."
We all know we're going to die, for example. Wise people have a better understanding of the meaning of that, and live differently -- placing an emphasis on relationships, spirituality and personal growth rather than on more superficial markers of success.
4. They meditate.
In order to achieve that kind of direct, I-see-who-I-am, who-you-are, and-the-circumstances-right-in-front-of-us kind of knowledge, reflection is paramount, Ardelt says. Which is why meditation -- a kind of self-examination -- has long been believed to be a pathway to wisdom. "It's kind of a time out of everyday life by just observing the breath, or observing sensations," she says. "Naturally, things come up and the trick is just to accept it, whatever it is, and not to react with negativity."
5. Wise people grow from crises.
Often the people who are considered wise beyond their years have survived a trauma, or several, and have effectively coped with it, according to Ardelt. Indeed, there's an entire area of psychology dedicated to post-traumatic growth -- exploring the ways in which people who have survived something devastating emerge changed for the better.
But wisdom can also come from managing smaller problems, she says -- such as a really bad day at work, or someone cutting you off in traffic: "These are little crises, and you can say, 'How do I react to this?' Do you get all riled up, or do you look at it from another perspective?" Your boss may have had a bad day, or that the man in traffic may have been under enormous pressure to get home for reasons you can't fully know.
6. They have a strong support network.
One of the conditions that tends to separate people who are able to grow and learn from a difficult situation from those who are not is the presence of a strong support system, Ardelt explains. It may be a formal support group, therapy, friends or family. "People who feel that they are alone ... if there is nothing, it can be very difficult to learn anything [from the trauma] because it's just so devastating," she says.
7. They're tolerant.
Compassion is a key component of wisdom, Ardelt says. She cites the example of very skilled politicians or sales people who may have a keen understanding of themselves, or great insights into how the world works, but if they use that knowledge for self-centered means, they lack true wisdom.
That's why reflection is so important -- it helps you see yourself as you truly are, limitations and all, so you can then empathize with others, and act accordingly.