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Quick quiz question for you. What do:

  • Kim Kardashian
  • Matt Damon
  • Lindsay Lohan
  • DJ Khaled

Have in common?

Not a lot you might think. But all of these celebs have been in hot water in recent months for their endorsements of various cryptocurrencies. Many of which have since gone up in smoke.

Under normal circumstances you could chalk this up to a high profile partnership gone wrong. This group are not the first to have backed a bad deal and they won’t be the last.

But given their collective influence, the huge sums of money involved and the impressionable audience most likely to be targeted by the sparkly new world of crypto and NFTs the risks are incalculable. (It’s the reason I cover cryptocurrencies and how to avoid social media financial scams in Cash is Queen, so young women know the red flags to consider when it comes to their money. Check it out here).

That’s what makes Taylor Swift’s decision to turn down a deal with cryptocurrency exchange FTX, one of few celebrities to do so, that much more refreshing. Taylor was concerned that the firm was selling unregistered securities, rightly as it happens, since FTX spectacularly collapsed and filed for bankruptcy in November last year. Two of its management team are now behind bars pending trial.

What’s the back story?

Well, before its collapse a host of high profile celebrities had invested in FTX, and it would have been quite easy for Taylor to simply follow the crowd and do the same. However, she did her research, asked the right questions, and upon seeing that the answers didn’t add up, decided to pass.

And in doing so saved herself a massive financial disaster. For context, many of the celebrities who did promote FTX are now facing lawsuits from disgruntled investors seeking to get their money back.

Taylor’s sound judgment reveals not just a lesson in making sure we are financially savvy, it is also a mini-masterclass in taking personal responsibility for our finances. Because no matter what anyone else says, we’re the ones who have to shoulder the consequences – good or bad.

But what exactly does it mean to take personal responsibility in this context? Well, here are some pointers:

  1. Be realistic and honest with yourself Whilst I always say we should never be too hard on ourselves, we should always be honest. If you’re serious about taking personal responsibility for your finances start by sitting down and carrying out a detailed and honest audit of your finances including your budget, spending, savings, and investments. Think about what is and isn’t working and what you may need to change or adjust to get to where you want to be.
  2. Mind the company you keep (irl and online) –  It’s really easy to compare yourself with others or feel like you have to match the way you see others around you (or on social media) spend and interact with money. However take a moment to remember that your financial journey is your own, and what others think is right for them, isn’t necessarily also right for you. Make sure that your financial decision are tailored to what you want and need, and what works best for you not anybody else. (I cover this in detail in chapter 9 of cash is queen – your money tribe matters. Order your copy here).
  3. Secure the savings. A huge part of taking personal responsibility for your cash is making sure you have a nest egg to support you through any emergencies. Having the cash set aside to get you through hard times not only saves you from having to hurriedly take on loans, credit cards or make other tricky financial decisions under duress, it will also go a long way to reducing any finance related stress.
  4. Get professional help if you need it  As much as many of us like to do it all ourselves, sometimes the most responsible thing we can do is admit that we need to hand things over to the experts. If you need it, and are in a position to do so, bringing in a financial advisor, accountant or any other relevant finance professional to help with your journey is one of the wisest moves you can make. Just make sure that it is someone qualified and if necessary regulated, and you feel comfortable and happy working with them.
  5. Own your money mistakes Ok so this is a hard one, but we have to admit when we didn’t quite get it right with our finances. It can be easy to avoid it, blame people or circumstances or make excuses, but nothing changes unless we do.
  6. Do your research Heard about a great investing opportunity that will bring in tons of cash in no time? Seen an ad for an attractive new ‘early pension release scheme’ that  promises a way to take your pension now and still be ok in the future? When you next catch wind of people waxing lyrical about an amazing financial opportunity, take a lesson from Taylor. Even if many others you know are doing it, don’t forget to do your due diligence. Is everything as it seems? Is it in line with your financial journey and goals? Don’t believe the hype! Could it actually be too good to be true? No matter what others might be saying, take your time, get some impartial advice and do a deep dive before you commit.
  7. Think about your money beliefs Have you ever though about how the stories we tell ourselves about money impact how we interact with it? The way we think about money can really impact how we manage our finances – for better or worse, so it’s really important that we make sure we’re aware of them and if they are negatively impacting our relationship with our cash.
  8. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your debt What is your relationship like with debt? Are you making minimal credit card payments each month, or are you paying off the full balance? Are your credit cards being used for convenience or are they making ends meet? Taking charge of our debt, and having a solid plan of how we will pay it off really can transform our finances, and our mental health.