personal finance
The average gross annual wage for full-time UK employees stood at £34,963 in 2023. Alexander Mils/Pexels

Nischa Shah is an accountant, investment banker, and "money expert" who has worked in finance for over 13 years.

The UK-based finance expert uses her YouTube profile, which boasts more than one million followers, to educate and entertain those seeking money management advice and those interested in the finance world.

In a video posted on YouTube, Nischa told her audience that, throughout her career, she has "learned how to spot the signs that contribute to financial success" even if you feel like you aren't doing well. These signs include:

  • Playing "the wealth game".
  • Tracking the average annual wage.
  • Knowing the three fundamentals of finance and,
  • Changing your mindset.

Playing "The Wealth Game" vs "The Status Game"

"There are two games you can play to measure your financial success, and one of the main reasons people tend to feel behind financially is because they are playing the wrong one," Nischa said, going on to explain: "The status game is an external ranking to everyone else, the size of your home, the brand of your shoes and everything else that you can see and compare yourself to on social media."

"You should avoid playing the status game in life because it makes you very competitive; it makes you angry."

The money expert noted that those who engage in "the status game" will find themselves "fighting to put others down."

According to Nischa, another issue with "the status game" is "when you start playing this game and comparing internally with everyone else's projections, you're constantly going to feel on edge because someone else has to lose for someone else to be able to win."

Instead, people should focus on playing a different game to recognise their financial stability. This game has been dubbed "the wealth game."

"This isn't a game about what everyone else can see, but instead, it's about what is going on behind the scenes," the money expert said.

"It's the money in the bank that is being invested into assets, it's the business that you're trying to build on the side, it's the money that you're spending on self-development. It's all the things that have a positive return on investment (ROI) and can ultimately buy you freedom and the power to live life on our terms."

Friends have a larger impact on our financial excess than society as a whole.

Tracking the Average Wage vs Friends' Wages

"One way to know where you stand financially is by looking at the average wages," Nischa said.

According to official figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in 2023, the median weekly earnings for full-time employees stood at £682. The average gross annual wage for full-time employees stood at £34,963.

Workers should try to ignore the impact of their social environment, Nischa advised, noting that "it's our friends and our peers that have a bigger influence on our self-evaluation or financial excess rather than society as a whole."

Analysing a friend's income and spending is dangerous because "no matter how much we earn, it's psychologically easier to feel bad about that number than feel good about it."

According to Clinical Psychologist Aimee Daramus, while it is common to worry about money, some people have an irrational fear about spending their income.

The phobia of spending money, dubbed chrometophobia, has proven to have a significant and negative impact on a person's life.

"Life can get pretty bleak when you deny yourself necessities and affordable treats," Dr Daramus said.

Linking to the concept of "loss aversion," the money expert also explained that "the pain of losing is psychologically twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining."

One fundamental of finance is having an emergency fund.

Understanding the Three Fundamentals of Finance

The first fundamental "is to be aware of your relationship with money," Nischa said. "This means knowing your financial health, income and expenses and then finding ways to live below your means."

The second fundamental is to have an emergency fund. The money expert explained that having an emergency fund financially "sets you way ahead a lot of the population."

In its recent annual emergency savings report, Bankrate, an independent financial researcher, revealed that although almost 30 per cent of the US population have emergency savings, they don't have enough to cover three months of expenses.

The third fundamental is to have manageable debt.

"This isn't just about using debt to buy things you don't need; it also means not finding yourself in a position where debt is the only way to pay your bills on time," Nischa said.

Changing Your Perception

"Society's expectations and comparisons massively drive our perception of how well we are doing," the money expert explained, going on to note: "Society applauds lavish lifestyles, external rankings [and] monetary achievements."

To be free of financial comparisons, Nischa added: "If we rewire our thoughts to look at our success through the eyes of us as individuals, we can see ourselves from a completely different lens."