The 3 skills to learn when it comes to money

Ben Brett 7 August 2023

When it comes to money, there are three distinct skills that every successful person needs to learn. These are:

  • Making Money
  • Managing Money
  • Spending Money

Most people assume that competence in one area means they can do the others, but in my experience, this isn’t the case.

In this article, I’ll explain the underlying skills in each of these areas and how they differ from each other.


This skill is probably the most obvious in that from a young age, we are asked “what do you want to do for a living?”.

It’s no secret that some professions make more money than others. In addition, employed people have a cap on earnings whereas those that are self-employed do not (with an additional amount of risk).

For most of my clients, they’re pretty good at making money and have a great set of skills that can generate a good income.

But just because you’re good at making money, doesn’t mean you’re automatically good at managing or spending money.


I always like to say, “you spend 40 hours a week earning money, it’s probably worth spending at least 10 minutes a week thinking about what you are going to do with that money.”

When it comes to managing money, most people are flying blind. They have little idea of their expenses, no real investment strategy and all around, no real insight as to where they are headed.

Managing money involves a clear plan of sending money to your cost of living, whilst also putting aside money to grow your wealth.

Managing money involves paying down debt, investing and building your wealth.

Particularly with business owners, this skill can get confused with ‘Making Money’. I regularly hear business owners say, “why would I invest money when I can just reinvest money into my business and make more money”.

Whilst there is definitely a place for reinvesting in your business, having a plan to move money from your higher risk business asset into a lower risk (or better diversified investment) is an important part of building wealth.

Managing money is a special skill and takes a lot of research and understanding of things like tax rules, investment options etc. This is where a good financial planner can really assist.


This skill is probably the most overlooked of the three. Believe it or not, some people spend money better than others.

Spending money well does not mean cutting out coupons or cutting up your dish sponges to get more use out of them.

Spending money well means a clear plan on how you are going to spend money where you spend confidently on things that you value whilst reducing expenses on things you don’t.

Too often I see people who earn good money and are great at investing. Once they achieve financial freedom however, they can’t bring themselves to actually start spending their money.

Spending money well also means having a plan for how you will spend future money. If you are investing for the sake of investing, you’re unlikely to achieve your dream life. If however, you’re investing because you have a clear idea of where you will spend this future money, then you are.

A great example is contributing additional money to your investments for early retirement or for a house upgrade. The whole purpose of money is to spend it and having a clear plan that allows you to confidently spend money on things your value is the key to success.

About the author: Ben Brett

Ben Brett owns and operates Bounce Financial with his wife, Cara. Having started his career as a Corporate Lawyer, Ben has always had a passion for helping make the complex things simple. Follow Ben on LinkedIn at