I know absolutely nothing about chess, but I was absolutely mesmerised by the depth and beauty of it when watching the popular mini-series, The Queens Gambit, on Netflix.
The protagonist, Beth Harmon, a chess prodigy, navigates her way through becoming an orphan, being adopted by a loving but complex woman, alcoholism, drug addiction to becoming a hugely successful chess player. We are taken along as she learns her valuable life lessons, many of which can be applied to our personal finances.
Where we start does not have to be where we end
We all have to start somewhere when it comes to our finances and whether we managed to get our act together sooner or we only took action later, either way where we start is not the end of our story. The actions we take are what give us the winning edge.
Beth didn’t start out beating the great Borgov. She needed to take the time to educate herself about the nuances of the game, to practice the moves and to consistently building her skills.
Success in our personal finances requires the same level of diligence in both building our understanding and in consistently taking action.
Positive money habits drive a positive money experience and ultimately create a positive reality for us to live in.
Success isn’t final and failure isn’t fatal
Beth experiences early success and possibly gets a little over confident in a positive outcome. She loses focus and fails to prepare for a potential downside outcome. This leads to a number of big losses along the way, one of which totally derails her from her goal and knocks her off track.
Our financial journey follows a similar trajectory. We will face diversions, obstacles, unexpected setbacks and seemingly insurmountable challenges.
We can prepare for them by realistically expecting challenges to happen and mitigating against these by having a cash buffer such as an emergency fund, by continuing to hone and refine our skills and being mindful of how we direct our money to work for us. Further we can use these challenges to build our resilience and our flexibility, financial and otherwise.
The key is to recognise that we always have lessons to learn along the journey and while the challenges we face are tough, we are tougher and any challenge, mishap or failure is an opportunity for future success.
Play your own game
When facing her best opponent Beth is conflicted as they both use the same signature style of play and she doesn’t want to use that to beat the master at his own game.
Her friend, Bennie Watts tells her “You should always play your line, never his. You play what’s best for you”.
This is particularly relevant when it comes to personal finance. While you will find countless guru’s telling you what you should save, when, where and how you should invest and what your financial goals and milestones should be at every stage of life, ultimately money is simply your tool for creating your best life, which is totally unique and “personal” to you.
Use your money to build your vision and your dreams and not what everyone else says it should be.
Believe in your abilities, prepare for your success and take action to build the life you want.
“The key is not to be tentative. You have to play with absolute confidence” Benny Watts