The SECRET to Financial Success: 10 Must-Know Lessons on Money and Life


Have you ever wished you could avoid financial mistakes that many other people make? What if I told you that 10 simple lessons could transform your approach to money and life, saving you from years of frustration and regret?

In this blog post, I'm sharing just that from my own personal experiences. These 10 essential lessons have changed my life, and in my opinion, you can't afford to ignore. They offer practical strategies and hard-earned wisdom to help you navigate through financial challenges and life's important decisions effectively.

Let's dive in.

Hi, I'm Noel Lorenzana. I'm a CPA, and I like to think of myself as successful, speaking humbly, of course. Now, I've grouped these 10 essential lessons in three groups, starting with foundational mindset and life choices.

Lesson #1. Choose Your Spouse Carefully.

Selecting a partner is arguably one of the most important decisions in your life, not just from a personal happiness standpoint, but also from your overall life success and financial stability point of view.

The lesson here really goes without saying. "The right spouse can be a huge support system for you and can really shape the direction of your life."

"The wrong spouse, on the other hand, can absolutely crush you and ruin your life emotionally, physically, mentally, and of course, financially."

As for me, I'm happily married. I chose to marry later in life and was fortunate to find an amazing wife. She's blessed me with two wonderful boys and even tolerates my playful side, like dressing up for comic book conventions and in full cosplay.

Choosing a spouse is more than just about love and attraction. I mean, of course, it's about that, but you can't just stop there. You need to go deeper and consider all the other variables as well. It's a choice that impacts your entire future.

Patient, get to know each other well, and make this decision very carefully. The right partner not only makes your life better, but also helps you grow and succeed.

I should also mention that staying single is a perfectly valid choice. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Lesson #2. Always Have a Positive Attitude.

I know that might sound a bit cliché, but hear me out. Power of positivity is more than just feel good advice. It's a practical tool that can transform your everyday experiences.

Whether you're facing problems work, personal challenges, or everyday setbacks, approaching each situation with a positive mindset can really open up opportunities for solutions and growth.

So how can you develop a positive attitude? Start by focusing on gratitude. Each day, take a moment to reflect on what you're thankful for. This habit shifts your focus from what's lacking to what's abundant in your life. This naturally elevates your mood and your outlook.

Always try to find the good or positives in every situation. I know someone who does the exact opposite. He actually, I don't know if it's intentional or not, but he can find something negative in every situation. Even if it's done in a joking fashion, it still negatively affects him.

As you might imagine, this negative attitude towards life is actually hurting him and holding back, in my opinion.

Remember, maintaining a positive attitude isn't about ignoring life's problems. Instead, it's about choosing to face them with a mindset that emphasizes hope and optimism.

Lesson #3. Don't Be Afraid of Failure.

Pardon me if this seems like a platitude. It's really not.

Nine years ago, I had to make some serious life decisions. You see, I had quit working with my family business where I'd been for the last dozen or so years. I was being strung along in a dead-end job with family guilt keeping me from leaving. I finally manned up and got the heck out of there.

So naturally, I had to figure out what I was going to do next. I didn't want to work for another difficult boss, so I did what I needed to do to start my own business. The natural transition back to tax and accounting services, which I was already very good at, was a natural transition.

It was scary at first, and I had to constantly push myself out of my comfort zone and face my fears on a regular basis. I kept telling myself the quote, "Everything you want in life is on the other side of fear." This reminder kept me going in the habit of regularly facing my fears and having confidence in myself has helped me get to where I am today.

That is with a successful business with lots of happy and appreciative clients. Plus this YouTube channel that's doing pretty well and a small catalog of instructional courses that are selling okay.

Trust me, Face your fears. It works. If I can do it, so can you.

Lesson #4. Time is Your Most Valuable Asset.

Use it wisely because you can never get it back. When you're young, you think you have all the time in the world. But as you get older, like me, for example, you might start to feel your life passing you by and eventually realizing that your time might be running out.

Some like to say time is money, but I would argue that time is more valuable than money. For example, when you get older, you'll realize that you can have all the money in the world, but your time can actually be running out, and no amount of money can buy you more actual time on this Earth.

Value your time wisely. Don't waste it on stupid things and on people who don't appreciate you or your time. I know I've spent too much time on things that didn't matter in the end.

How about you?

The next four lessons are grouped under financial prudence and preparedness.

Lesson #5. Live Within Your Means.

Better yet, live below your means.

This is a big one for keeping your finances in check. Basically, it means you should try to spend less money than you make. If you can go one step further and spend even less than that, you'll be in an even better position.

This extra space in your budget can help you save up, invest, and handle emergencies without stressing out.

Here's how you can start. Keep track of what you're spending money on. See where you can cut back a little bit, like maybe eating out less or making coffees at home.

Set up your bank account to automatically move a portion of your paycheck into savings every month. This way you're saving without even thinking about it.

Now, I understand not everyone can do this, but if you can, it's an ideal strategy for setting yourself up for the future. Ultimately, it's about taking control of your money rather than letting it control you.

In my life, for example, there were times when I was able to save a lot of money by living with my parents. That savings helped me out tremendously later in life when things hit a rough patch.

So do the best you can when you're able to. Which leads me to my next essential money lessons.

Lesson #6. Emergency Savings Are a Must.

Having an emergency fund is not just a good idea, it's essential.

As we all know, life is full of unexpected surprises, whether it's a sudden job loss or medical emergency or major home repairs.

An emergency fund acts as a financial safety net that helps you handle these surprises without throwing your finances off track.

Conventional wisdom says to set a goal to save at least 3-6 months worth of living expenses. If you can do it, great. But if you can't, then aim for a lower amount and build up from there.

Remember, the purpose of this fund is accessibility, so keep in a savings account or another safe, easily accessible place. This way, if you need it, you can get to it without delays or penalties.

By building and maintaining an emergency fund, you're not just planning for the unexpected, you're ensuring peace of mind. Knowing you have this buffer can significantly reduce stress and give you the confidence to manage life's challenges as they come.

By having an emergency fund myself, I was able to quit my old toxic job and start my own business, knowing that I had at least six months of savings to carry me through the beginning months while I built up my client base.

Believe me, building an emergency fund is essential for financial security.

Lesson #7. Get Financially Smart Early Rather Than Later.

Starting your financial education early can make a huge difference in how you manage money throughout your life. Understanding the basics of budgeting, saving, investing, and good credit sets a strong foundation for making smart financial decisions.

Begin by reading financial books. One of my favorites is The Richest Man in Babylon. Follow financial news. Use resources like podcasts and blogs focused on financial literacy. Consider talking to a financial advisor if you're able to. Don't forget to follow my YouTube channel, for example, since this is one of the topics I'm going to be focusing on more and more.

Also, practice what you learn, start budgeting, learn about different investments, and monitoring your credit score.

Learning by actually doing is one of the most effective ways to improve your financial savviness. The sooner you start, the more you can avoid common financial pitfalls like high credit card debt and not saving enough.

Being literate about finances isn't just about growing wealth, it's about ensuring financial security and independence. I've always followed good financial practices.

When I was younger, I was always drawn to financial books and magazines. Now, I haven't always been good at following what I learned, but I've done all right.

Keep in mind, some financial education is always better than nothing.

Lesson #8. Save, Save, and Save.

I know what you're thinking. This one's obvious. It is, but it's fundamental, and it can't be said enough.

If there's one thing I learned from my mother, it was to save. She grew up really poor in the Philippines. It was so bad that once she got out of there, she never looked back.

She learned that although money can't buy you happiness, being poor really sucks. As you can imagine, she always taught her kids the importance of saving and spending wisely.

If you think about it, it really is one of the simplest, yet most important aspects of securing your financial future. The habit of saving regularly not only prepares you for emergencies, but also helps you achieve long-term goals like possibly buying a home one day, investing, or retiring comfortably.

Setting money goals is ideal, and having a plan for savings is key. If you can automate your savings, that's even better. Pay yourself first by having funds automatically transferred to your savings account each payday. Small amounts add up over time, whether it's cutting back on daily expenses or putting aside unexpected windfalls, every bit contributes to growing your savings.

In essence, make saving a consistent priority. This includes saving for retirement as well. Be sure to max out those IRAs and 401k's.

The last two lessons are grouped under Career and Opportunities.

Lesson #9. You Don't Need to Go to College

...or a prestigious school to be successful.

It's a common misconception that financial success is solely the outcome of obtaining a degree from a prestigious university.

While education can be a valuable asset, it's not the only path to achieving financial success and stability.

I have a physician friend who didn't go to a big-name medical school. Instead, she went to a medical school in the Caribbean. It was less expensive and was just as difficult. But ultimately, she got the same medical degree that anyone else from a bigger-name school would get. Now, she's working side by side with other doctors who went to, let's call them very expensive medical schools.

At the end of the day, if you're good at what you do, you'll end up where you're destined to be. Also, many successful people have gone the non-college route, learning the skilled trades like plumbing, carpentry, electrical, HVAC, and even truck driving. These are professions that require specific technical skills and knowledge, which are usually obtained through a combination of vocational training learning, apprenticeships, and on-the-job experience rather than a traditional college degree.

I mean, what I would tell my kids right now is to go learn one of the trades, then eventually start your own business. Maybe don't bother with college. It's gotten too expensive and overrated, in my opinion.

The key is to find out what you're passionate about and seek out the knowledge and the skills necessary to Excel in that area. Then dive in.

Me, for example, I went to my state university. I got my degree in accounting. I studied for and got my CPA. I've had decent jobs and I've done okay for myself. But I will say that if I went to a big name university, I think I could have been recruited to a great job right out of college, starting me off on a much better track.

Ultimately, career success boils down to how you use your skills, your work ethic, and your ability to adapt and innovate.

Also, keep in mind that college might not always be the best path for everyone.

Lesson #10. Don't Wait For Opportunities to Come to You.

Go out and create them.

In life, waiting passively for opportunities is rarely a path to success. Instead, the most successful individuals are those who actively seek out and create their own opportunities.

Whether it's starting a new business, learning a new skill, or networking with others, taking initiative is key. Remember the old saying, "Fortune favors the bold."

If you want that job, go out there and it. If there's someone you want to meet, get up and talk to them. Don't wait for life to happen to you. Go forth and make life happen on your own terms.

I truly believe this, and I like to think that I live this philosophy as well. If there's something you want to do, like learn a new skill, like public speaking, go join your local Toastmasters Club and start leveling up. If you wanted to start a YouTube channel, the best time to start was five years ago. The second best time is right now.

Life is short and don't wait for life to just happen. Make things happen. Live your life with intention.

Agree, disagree?

Let me know what you think. Feel free to leave your comments in my YouTube video. Don't forget to support the video with a like if you found value.

Thanks for reading and see you in my next blog post!

About The Author

Noel Lorenzana is an Illinois-licensed, Registered Certified Public Accountant with over 20 plus years of experience.

Through his online educational content, YouTube videos, easy-to-understand courses and 1-on-1 consulting, he gives you the tools to become tax savvy for yourself. 

Disclaimer: Any accounting, business or tax advice contained in this article, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties.