Starting from a young age, we learn how to read. We’re educated in linguistics–from sentence structure to the phonetics of words. Over years of practice and education, we develop a more coherent understanding of language. When we’re in high school, we’re able to read literature that is much more complex and interpret it. From then on, we can apply our literature skills to the “real world”–well, at least our English literature skills. Yes, being able to communicate and articulate oneself properly makes English a fundamental for our education, but where does financial literacy come in? At what age do we start educating our youth and preparing them to manage their money, sustain, and succeed?
One of my first memories of being exposed to personal finance in subtle ways by my parents was being gifted a piggy bank. My parents employed this adorable-looking glass money container to emphasize an important lesson to me, a four year old: save money. A good way for me to start saving money for my future is by putting away a percentage (say like 10%) of any money I receive towards my savings and increasing this percentage by small increments over time. Thinking about how this money will benefit you in the long run by accumulating interests through investments and savings accounts will help incentivize you to start as soon as possible and save as much as you can.
Make a distinguishment between things you want and things you need. Needs include what you need to survive like food, water, and utilities. Wants are things like the newest phone or a car that you know you can’t afford. Wants should never take precedence over your needs. Having discipline and not spending your money on everything you want is a good start to saving your money. A good way to start investment is by putting money towards a mutual fund. A mutual fund is when you pool your money with other individuals so that a professional can invest it for you.
When job hunting in the future, I’ll make sure that the jobs I sift through and contemplate getting have good employee benefits such as a 401(k) plan. A 401(k) plan allows you to put away a portion of your income for investment. Money put away through a 401(k) plan is initially not taxed until withdrawn and the amount you put away is matched by your employer. Saving for your retirement now is the key to being financially stable in the long run. Managing your money wisely helps mitigate the pain and the stress from the rainy days that will come your way. Instead of always working for your money, get your money to work for you. Develop savings plans to put away money towards your investments and savings. If I were to get a job a with the knowledge I held previously, I would have been reluctant to set up a retirement plan since I wouldn’t be allowed to access it until I reached sixty-five years of age.
Taking into consideration all the options I have and the fact that the sooner I start saving, the more of a benefit I will receive later on, I feel as if I have been enlightened through the NuVision presentation. Not only am I more financially aware, but now I see money in a different perspective–it’s not just embellished green paper that I use to buy food and go out with my friends with; it’s a tool that will secure the safety of my future.