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TEDTalks Finance

Valuable tips and insights to buffer you against financial decline

We have a look at the top TEDTalks on finance. Stay inspired and ahead of the curve by listening to these talks by experts across industry sectors.

Dante Ludolf | Freelance Journalist

We feel poor, because we don’t know how to deal with the money we have, not because we don’t actually have any money.”

We are swarmed with information on how to invest our money, spend our money and save our money. Usually by institutions that want to direct our personal funds their way in order to make more money for themselves. We live in the time of the super-structures, colossal companies that keep on growing fatter off other people’s money, and for the most part we are left confused and defeated, wondering where all of our money keeps going to.

With so many options around us at all times, doing the right thing with our hard-earned cash (and even knowing what the right thing is) can be pretty daunting, to say the least.

So what do we do? How do we sift through the barrage of do-this and buy-this to eventually arrive at a point of stability and security? How do we get to a point that allows us to reflect and go forth with financial certainty? One thing is certain, we are not going to gleam these truths from a brochure or some new package deal that promises a large return on heavily compounded interest.

That is what makes TEDTalks so refreshing. The project gives individuals the chance to step up and share insights that they had developed on a personal level. Insights that they were able to consider and polish. Insights that are actually genuinely helpful.

Far from the over-loaded and fluffy advice given by humanitarian accountants looking to sell a few books, these TEDTalks get right to the point and are for the most part, incredibly relatable. Here are three TEDTalks that will uplift and inspire your financial wellbeing, and alter your opinions a little. Sometimes all we need is a fresh perspective to help us get a grip on our situations.

These days debts and loans are as common as midwinter flu. Growing your assets and net worth seems impossible without incurring debts, and for many taking out loans is the only way to get to where you want to be. But according to Banerjee we have grown insensitive and blasé to debts and their effects on personal finance. In his words, “Debt used to be a four letter word”, meaning a bad word that was treated with aversion rather normalcy.

Now we are treating debt as if it is an absolutely unremarkable component to our daily lives, like it is the norm. This mentality is essentially what is causing so many of our personal financial downfalls. Banerjee suggests that we revert to our ideas about debt, back when owing money to others was wholly undesirable – to a time when having debt was treated like the burden it is.

He goes on to say that we need to once again start hating debt, and prioritising getting said debt as far away from us as possible. He uses the concept of interest to demonstrate his opposition to debt in quite a novel way; when we pay interest we are essentially borrowing money from our future self. If that doesn’t sound like something you want to be doing, maybe it’s time to rethink that loan and devise an alternative way to accumulate the funds.

TEDtalks are often at their best when kept short and sweet. And that is exactly what this particular talk masters so beautifully. Here, Graham Hill brings up a number of poignant observations into our contemporary, consumerist existences and why we are so chronically unhappy. The most important one being; we have too much stuff. Not things, trinkets or gadgets – stuff.

At present, we have more things than anyone in history. The most of us are spoilt rotten with the gains of our regular excursions to retail outlets. We are bombarded with frills and luxuries, yet we are unhappy. Deeply unhappy. Why is this, when all indications point to us proverbially rolling in it?

Hill is of the opinion that our over-abundance of stuff is exactly what is causing our unhappiness. We are buying more than we need, we waste incredibly, we are enslaved to the idea that more stuff means more happiness and we all suffer from ‘novelty addictions’. All these factors compound, and the next minute we are caught dead centre in a field of stuff with nothing to show for it except a need to expand upon our inventory.

Hill suggests we take a writer’s approach to our lives; meaning that we edit and streamline ourselves. We start with a clunky piece of something, then upon cutting away and cleaning up, we are left with a wholly more satisfying and approachable piece. Our compulsion to buy and spend and inundate ourselves with stuff is essentially what is causing our happiness and obstructing our sense of freedom. By decluttering and cleaning up, we open up new possibilities for other ventures and activities that aren’t weighed down by the sheer mountain of our possessions.

Lasting only six minutes long, this TED talk is a great way to get a little bit of mental foothold on your life and how you can improve it.

Alexa von Tobel equates the vast financial decline of many to something that is fundamentally missing in our education – knowing and managing our personal finances. To many, money is something that comes in and out and keeps us alive. This hard and fast relationship with money inspires a sense of poverty and deficiency, and it is all too easy to draw comparisons between our own finances and those of others.

We feel poor, because we don’t know how to deal with the money we have, not because we don’t actually have any money. This is a big deal, and we have to start renegotiating how we look at and work with money if we are to alleviate these feelings.

According to Von Tobel, we have to start by placing ourselves in a fiscally beneficial mindset that will prove to be productive, instead of self-depreciating. This can essentially be achieved in three easy steps, changes in your lifestyle that will set you on a path that is much more likely to succeed than no plan at all.

Firstly, as with most ventures in life, you have to start with a budget. A budget is an essential part of managing your money. At first you don’t have to go into it with presupposed saving plans, just keep track of your expenses and deduct it from your salary to see where you are congesting and where you are giving away a little too much. Budgeting like this has been made really easy with expense trackers like Mint, which is absolutely free.

Once you have your budget down, and you can see where the funds go awry, start funnelling cash into an emergency fund. Von Tobel asks you to imagine the sense of security upon facing a crisis and knowing you have the financial security to look after yourself for up to six months. An emergency fund is an utmost necessity in this day and age and in a volatile economy it can literally save your life.

Lastly, echoing the words of Banerjee, Von Tobel urges people to clear debt. Debt saps your money, and should be treated like an emergency that needs to be dealt with as swiftly as possible. Plus, with every inch of debt cleared you are releasing funds that were previously allocated to debt, meaning more money for you.