Nine Ways Managing Money Is Like Writing

Shubha K. Chakravarthy
7 min readMay 13, 2019
Photo by Aaron Burden

I’m relatively new to this whole Medium thing, and to writing in general. My struggle to find and stick with a real-as-bills approach to my own financial betterment, by contrast, is almost ancient.

But it struck me recently that in many ways, writing is very much like managing money, and transplanting the skills and mindset needed to do well in one can jump-start your progress in the other.

Here are the nine ways that managing money is very much like writing:

#9: When You Start Off, You’re Terrible

When you first learn to write, there is an initial high of having put your own original words to paper and having real people actually read it and even respond. But very soon, as I am learning, you exhaust that beginner’s luck and realize that there is a whole ocean of practice and skill separating wannabes from the truly greats. This can be daunting in the beginning.

Your journey with money is likely to be the same way: perhaps there are a couple of early wins, giving you the high of achievement. But when you start to dig deeper, you come up against the seemingly insurmountable set of practices and skills you need to be really good.

#8: There Is No Objective Standard of “Good”

One person’s masterpiece may be another person’s trash. Yet, there are a few rare souls whose work is accorded classic status across decades, if not centuries. Even for these winners, it would be hard to come up with a set of objective criteria that would apply across the board. Like the invisible skeleton that holds a Rubik’s Cube together despite its flexibility, there is an elusive underpinning that characterizes all great writing. Only, what is it?

Managing money “well” faces similar challenges. Instead of a critical and varied audience, what drives outcomes are things that are mostly outside our control, like what’s happening to the market or the economy. Yet, across people who manage money really well, there is this thin but strong thread of practices and beliefs that seems to defy characterization. You might end up losing money or not meeting your goals in a year and yet have been outstanding in the quality of the work put in.

Shubha K. Chakravarthy

Founder @ Achiiv | Finance + Strategy | Innovation || HSBC | McKinsey | Chicago Booth || Host of the Invisible Ink podcast | Activating women innovators @ scale