One of the basic money lessons you must understand is:

Money doesn’t disappear. It just moves from one pocket to another.

And if you really want to master your business game in the future, a basic understanding of personal finance, money, and the economy is what you should learn during your 20s.

Unfortunately, this kind of knowledge is not always taught in University, except when you register for the specific class related to economy or finance (where you can learn about the concepts related to these fields), but for these 5 lessons, you must learn on your own way instead of from schooling. 

However, there is a reality that many of us who are studying or graduated from Universities still can’t understand these basic lessons. That lead to:

“Student loan debt values $1.57 trillion and keeps going on”

This is the amount of money that just counts for students in America alone in 2020.

If students who join financial classes can really control their finances. 

We won’t have this massive amount of debt.

“Money is the backbone of the economy. And the best way to earn a lot of money is to understand the way how the economy works and not only work hard but also smart to get a good payment in the future”

This is a memorable lesson that one of my favorite lecturers taught me when I studied at the University with my bachelor “Economics and Public Administration” at Vietnam National University.

And after several years of working, when I think back to what he taught me, I think that it is right but can be extended.

Actually, in real life, there are many things that we need to learn about money and how it works rather than just knowing the basic concepts from the University.

To get a better understanding of money for students, and make them feel less shocked when they come to real life. I believe that we should teach them at least 5 vital lessons to live in — the lessons that I learned from real life and gave me a lot of value a couple of years after I graduated. 

5 Basic Lessons Schools Don’t Teach You About Money

No.1 Basic Money Lessons: Money is a tool, not the final purpose of life

It never should be your main goal in life.

“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.” — Ayn Rand

Money can be understood as the engine in your vehicle.

A good engine can drive you faster with a longer distance while a weak engine will make you feel annoyed and take more time to come to your destination.

When you have a lot of money, you can easily choose the best things you want to own, the healthiest foods to eat, or having the best moments in any place you want. While having less money, it is harder for you to choose between the limited options.

Therefore, having money to work for your life and live the way you want is very important. 

But when you think money is your goal, you turn all things to be money-oriented, and this is a big problem.

Because if you are hungry, you use the money to exchange for food (you don’t eat money); 

Or when you get sick, you use the money to find the best hospital, the best doctor to take care for your health (money itself can’t treat your disease); 


These are the basic example to evidence for the lesson “Money is a tool, not the final purpose of life” 

So, how much money is enough?

No one knows.

Even the richest person in the world still wants to have more money – As he can use it to achieve his bigger goals, such as discovering Mars,…the goals that require a lot of money – the flexible tool to help him solve various issues.

No.2 Basic Money Lessons: Having more money doesn’t make sure you can buy everything.

Basic Money Lessons

But if you don’t have money, you can’t buy anything.

We have all at least one time in life heard that “Money can’t buy anything in our life”.

It can be from your friends, colleagues, family members, or neighbors,…when we have a discussion about the money topic.

And I would like to admit that I used to fully believe in this point of view.

But after working for a couple of years, I recognize that actually, the point is just that 80% should be trusted. And the other 20% need to be explained in another way.

Firstly, I agree that having more money can’t buy anything (as in my 80% list).

Even if you have a lot of money like Steve Jobs or the Samsung president, you still can’t protect your life from serious diseases.

Or if you have a lot of money, you still can’t buy a happy family if you just spend all of the time on meetings and no time for your children and wife.

There are so many things in life that we can’t estimate or achieve just by spending a lot of money on it.

Because these things basically don’t count by the money.

However, it doesn’t mean that money does not play an important role in our life. I believe money is a crucial thing for us, but in life, what we really need to do is:

“Not only learn how to make a lot of money but also need to know how to use it wisely.”

For example, if you have a serious illness as Steve Jobs had, and you don’t have money to ask for the top doctors to do treatments for you, and have the best healthcare condition during your treatment process, do you think you can really deal with the serious illness for such a long period of time?

The answer is NO!

You need to have more money if you want to experience the best services in your life, to choose the best foods, visit the most beautiful places on the planet with your family, etc.

All of these things require you to spend a lot of money, and if you don’t have one, how can you achieve it?

Therefore, having a lot of money is very important, but the way you use your money to create your best life experiences is so far more important.

No.3 Basic Money Lessons: Your spending depends on your budget.

Your spending depends on your budget.

If you have 10,000 dollars in your pocket and you spend 100 dollars on a meal. It doesn’t mean expensive.

But if you just have 100 dollars and you spend 50 dollars on a meal, this is a waste.

In this life, the meaning of cheap and expensive is actually very hard to identify. A Gucci or Louis Vuitton bag that costs 10,000$ is not expensive if you have a million dollars in your bank account.

But a meal costs 500$ while your bank account just has 1,000$ is really expensive.

And the game of cheap or expensive based on the percentage, not the amount of money itself.

When you understand this lesson, you will learn to change your concern from thinking “how expensive this stuff is” to “how much money you need to earn” to make the expensive Gucci bag to be “a cheap and normal item” for yourself.

You will see how you approach money and personal income totally differently. 

No.4 Basic Money Lessons: Money doesn’t disappear. It just moves from one pocket to another.

If one day you wake up and be broke. Actually, your money doesn’t disappear but it just moves to another person’s account who can use it better than you.

This is a lesson you need to keep in mind all the time.

Because when you start to work to earn money or invest, you will recognize that your money is actually just a piece of paper or a number in your bank account. Then, anyone can keep it.

Therefore, if you don’t know how to keep it carefully and make it to benefit you, someone will take it from you and make it work for them.

But at the University, we don’t have a subject to teach you about this.

They just tell you that if you do the wrong thing, your money will leave. But nobody tells you where your money actually goes.

And the reality is your money doesn’t lose, it is transferred.

It means that if you can do better than others — you can gain the money back or even more (from others).

In the simple understanding, the University focuses on teaching you about


But the real-life will teach you that your money actually can


The reality is: Money is never lost forever, but when you keep the mindset that once you lost it, you lost it forever, you will never have the ability to earn more money and get rich.

It is all about the game of mindset about money.

No.5 Basic Money Lessons: The relationship between your money and your values.

The value of saving money

Your values aren’t calculated by how much money you have. But the kind of stuff you use will depend on how much money you have in your pocket.

I know a lot of people who can bring a lot of value to society but still don’t have enough money to serve their life.

This is because the kind of value they bring to society is not a kind of commercial value, instead, it is something else.

For example, I know a man who works for an environmental company. His daily job is to keep the streets clean and the garden in my nearby park is always colorful and beautiful.

I and most of the people who normally exercise in this park always feel thankful for his job that maintains a great space for us.

But the reality is his income is quite low that he can’t afford his life in this expensive city — Melbourne, and he also works at the part-time security in the supermarket for a living.

So when you can bring a lot of value to society, it doesn’t mean that you can earn a lot of money — especially when it isn’t really related to the financial factor.

But if what you want is to use the luxury stuff, earning a lot of money, you need to find a job related to the financial area, so this is a place where you can earn a lot of money for yourself.

Then you can feel free to choose the kinds of stuff to use in your life.

To sum up,

These are the 5 biggest lessons that I learned after 5 years since I graduated from University-related to money. 

  1. Money doesn’t disappear. It just moves from one pocket to another.
  2. Having more money doesn’t make sure you can buy everything.
  3. Your spending depends on your budget.
  4. Money is a tool.
  5. The relationship between your money and your values.

I learned these basic money lessons at an expensive price, but at least, I learned it.

Personally, I don’t wish you to go through all the tough times to learn these lessons. I wish you can learn all these lessons as soon as possible to avoid the tough times and live a better and happier life instead.

And finally, these are what I learned, how about you?

Do you have any valuable lessons that you learn during your growing up the journey that values you and wants to share? I love to hear it too.

If you want to know more about how to achieve more in life, I recommend you to check out this article “4 Things to Remove If You Want to Achieve More in Life” where I share four valuable insights about self-development.


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