I always thought being a grown-up would be amazing! But now that I am one, I realize it’s hard. Growing up is universally hard for people of all ages. Every stage of life has their hardships. I hear every day how someone can’t lift that or eat this anymore. Children have to learn to walk, talk, use the big kid potty and eventually do homework.
What I find makes growing up so hard for me is the never-ending challenge to improve my life. Navigating a career, starting a family and keeping myself healthy are just a few of my everyday challenges. Personal finances are a big enough challenge for me, they get their own sentence, blog and section in my RSS reader.
I do not claim to be an expert with personal finances. If you have seen my net worth, you may have noticed there is a lot of regeneration to be done, and I am working on it. As with being an Ace Trainer, I know that in order to improve, I don’t need to be afraid of losing. I just need to learn from the winners and figure out what works for me.
Brave Bird Losing
As an Ace Trainer myself, I feel that losing battles is a part of the team building process. Ace Trainers in the games experiment with multi-type teams and using items. They are not afraid to lose because they use each battle to gather intel to see how strong their team is and how to make it stronger.
This brave bird mentality allows for Ace Trainers to take a risk understanding that they will take some damage. It allows them to work out newer, unconventional strategies. If Ace Trainers were only concerned with winning they would all have similarly developed teams.
When developing my pokémon team for Omega Ruby I wanted a kecleon with the protean ability as a strategic surprise to disarm my opponents. Instead, I experimented with a kecleon that knew skill swap and discovered an entirely new surprise by teaching him three other moves of a perfect type triangle (Rock, Fighting and Flying). The strategy was successful! It skill swaps their ability for kecleon’s color change ability. Then we use his perfect type triangle moves to change their type and continuously have the type advantage until we win. It even works for inverse battles!
I have experimented with my personal finances a lot since 2013. Some experiments have been very successful like, my budget and my credit card pp sticker sheet. Some strategies have failed like a horn drill attack on a garchomp in a sandstorm. One strategy I tried was to transfer $x into savings when a receipt told me I had saved $x. It failed by the end of the second week. I was actually paying full price for things that I normally wouldn’t have bought at full price. Yes, a portion was going into savings, but I didn’t have the extra money to deposit into savings.
Learning from Winners
I also watch the trainers who win and learn from their battles. With over 800 pokémon available, there tons of tricks and strategies that winners know that have helped winners win. I recently learned about a team composed of a smeargle that attacks its ally, a palossand, with water shuriken to raise its defense and attack stats. I have also heard about skill swaping sturdy to a shedinja making it even harder to defeat.
Learning from the winners helps expand my imagination, mindset, and approach to battling and personal finances. Like pokémon nerds, personal finance bloggers realize they’re nerds and love to discuss personal finances. They want other people to be winners and are open to talking strategies. A lot of them, myself included, think that by talking openly about personal finances it gives everyone more opportunities to share experiences and learn from other people’s wins and losses.
Knowing most winners were losers once too helps inspire me. Reading about how they got where they are now provides so many lessons in growth and reminders about how long the process can take. I have learned that it is best to learn from the people who are where I want to be. They know at least one path of how to get there.
By watching these winners, I have started to apply what I am learning to my own financial situation. I now have two special accounts that assist me with saving, Digit, and investing, Acorns. Thanks to blogs like Dear Debt, I have also learned that it is possible to live debt free. Debt does not have to be a part of my life and is surprisingly unnecessary. I look forward to the day I will be able to decide if I go further into debt instead of my situation choosing for me.
Finding What Works
Once I feel like I have learned something, I try to apply it to figure out what works best for me. In the game, after losing to a trainer I heal my pokémon and prepare for our rematch. I take what I learned about their team and figure out how my team can counter their battle strategy. I also figured out how to balance the stats of my Omega Ruby team in a way that worked best for me. My team contains two pokémon trained for speed, two for special attacks, two for physical attacks, two with balanced special and physical attacks and two with balanced special and physical defenses. Although it adds up to ten, most of the pokémon are super trained to work double duty.
Personal finances can be a little more difficult for me. When I read about how easily someone paid off $20,000 in student loans last year by not “going out as often” I get frustrated. That’s asking me to use two-thirds of my annual income to pay my student loans. In order to do that I would need to cut out a lot more than “going out.” This disparity taunts me to become disheartened and give up. But I just phantom force past the details and look at the overall lesson. In this case, it was to cut back and put that money towards student loans. Even if it’s an extra $10 a month I can spare, that is still an extra $120 going towards my student loans.
Sometimes I read posts that I find have absolutely nothing to do with me in my current situation, but the information is just as important. Sometimes there’s another lesson. If not, learning about it won’t hurt my current situation and may even prepare me for something in the future. Moving forward is always called progress.
Let’s Chat: What do you find difficult about personal finances, pokémon training or even growing up? What has been one of your biggest wins so far?
Are Systems Better Than Goals?
Rockstar Finance "Blogdex"- A super easy way to find personal finance winners' blogs.