Breaking Down a Complex Financial Life

Matt McDonough
3 min readJun 23, 2022

Do not let perfection get in the way of handling your personal finances. There are too many financial considerations to master them all. Focus on getting good at what matters and then expand your personal financial knowledge base.

Djalma Paiva Armelin via Pexels

Avoid Overload and Get Started

There is so much personal finance knowledge to take in. It is overwhelming to attempt to learn everything at once.

Break down your personal finance journey into three separate buckets:

1. Essentials,

2. Non-essential, but you are interested,

3. Non-essential and you are not interested.

Learning the Essentials

Learning the essentials to personal finance is similar to learning the fundamentals of any skill. You learn how to walk before you learn to run, do the same with personal finances.

Begin your personal financial journey by answering the most basic questions:

· Are you living within your means?

· What is your net worth? How is it trending over time?

Move on to Complicated Topics

Personal finance topics become incredibly complicated incredibly quickly. There is no quick shortcut to mastering these topics.

More complicated topics include:

· Accelerated debt repayment plan,

· Investment strategy,

· Real estate planning, among many others.

Begin with topics that interest you. These topics take an immense amount of time and effort to master.

Do not set yourself up to fail. Learning these topics are difficult enough, start off with topics that you feel drawn towards. Mastering these topics will give you the confidence to take on more difficult and less exciting topics.

Focusing on Other Non-Essentials

You are not done learning once you master the basics and interesting non-essential personal financial topics.

Your personal financial life is dynamic. What is essential and non-essential changes over…



Matt McDonough

Hello! I am a CPA by day, writer by night, and adventurer on the weekends. I’m on the lookout for fun ideas to read, please send anything interesting my way!