Everything is easier the second time around. Everything. Just having experienced something before makes it easier to swallow. If you know something is uncomfortable (like taking a law school exam or having surgery), you rest a little easier knowing that you’ve survived it before and you can do it again. If you know something is fun (like going to a Penn State football game or going to an amusement park), then you look forward to repeating the joyous experience.
Having an experience under your belt, you can be much better prepared for the next time you do it. Better prepared mentally. Better prepared physically. Just all around better prepared. You know what you did badly the first time and you have corrected for it. You know what you did well the first time, and you’re ready to repeat and build on that.
So what does all of this have to do with your financial life? Everything! There will be many financial firsts in your life. The first time you start a retirement account. The first time you have a major medical issue. The first time you buy stocks. The first time you buy a car. The first time you make a payment on your student loans. The first time you buy a major appliance. The first time you buy a home. The first time you hire a contractor. The list can go on ad nauseum. But thankfully, you don’t have to go through any of this blindly.
We live in the age of the Internet, which makes firsts a million times easier to handle. Through the magic of Google, you can easily read about other peoples’ experiences with any of these (and a thousand other) first time financial events. Just type in “How to buy a refrigerator” and a wealth of knowledge is at your fingertips. And this doesn’t just work for major purchases and decisions…it’s also helpful in preventing buyer’s remorse on smaller items. Whenever I purchase anything, I’m likely to look at either Consumer Reports reviews or customer reviews on Amazon. It’s just silly not to take advantage of what others have learned before sinking my money into something.
Still, everything is easier the second time around. But the first time doesn’t have to be nearly as frightening if you do a little research beforehand.