Mitchell S. – Schurr High School

As an old cliché states, “Money makes the world go ’round”; as long as one has money, one may live in comfort and relative security. However, if one makes wise choices with the money they have, such as by managing one’s spending and saving money wisely, one may maximize their chances of living a more comfortable and financially stable life. More than anything, spending and saving wisely is a key to success in one’s life.

When I was younger, due to my middle-class upbringing, I viewed money as a tool or a convenience to make purchases, and did not give much thought to investing or credit. If I ran out of money, I thought it would not affect me significantly.  My young mind believed that the money would somehow always be there. However, as I got older, I began to realize that the money would not always be there. One of my first memories regarding money was when I wanted an expensive toy but my parents refused to pay for it; in order to afford it, I had to save money myself and earn a little more toward my goal each week through saving recyclables to tum in. This incident was notably when I began to realize the importance of money in relation to making purchases.

Money remained an important factor in my life as I grew older, but I nevertheless did not appreciate its full value. I grew to understand the concepts of credit and investing, but they remained foreign concepts to me, as I did not know how to apply my knowledge. While I received money on holidays and did my best to save, I was still spending recklessly and not saving to my full potential. The tipping point, as well as my motivation to learn more about investing, came when I realized that at the rate I was spending, I would have no more money in two months. I then looked back and realized that all my weekly expenses on small things, such as chips and vending machine food, added up, placing me in a financially unstable situation.

This was when the true impact of saving money hit me: if I could save money, I would avoid situations such as this one in the future. Despite this realization, my perspective on money remained vague and relatively unfocused. Once I attended the NuVision facial workshop, I realized the actual value of credit, as having good credit gives one a better financial image and makes one a more attractive recipient for loans. Moreover, investments can allow a small amount to be compounded into a much larger amount over time, and can be combined with saving to increase the amount of money one has. In learning these things, I gained a clearer idea of the usefulness of these skills, which I can now use and apply in the real world.

Learning these skills allowed me to review many of my financial goals, as well as my spending decisions. Upon realizing more clearly that maintaining an emergency fund was such an important choice, I now plan on setting aside some of my money to never be spent unless in case of extreme facial difficulty. Moreover, I intend to phase out unnecessary daily purchases in addition to making an emergency fund in order to minimize the risk of running out of money. As I am currently in high school and am soon to be a college student and a young adult, using money wisely (especially student loans and scholarship money) is critical for me. Later in life, this also will no doubt prove useful to me in that it will allow for me to save for more crucial expenses, such as rent and food.

My goals for the future have also been refined with this presentation, as I originally planned to buy a house and possibly a new car soon after college. However, upon hearing about the benefits of saving, I now realize that it would be more prudent to minimize living costs as well as other unnecessary expenses, and live frugally until I have a steady source of income.  Even then, I have realized that in all likelihood, I will need to be more careful with my money than I previously envisioned, possibly having to cohabit with roommates and limit my material purchases for some years after college until my student loan debts are repaid. Similarly, I will have to keep all my debts paid in order to keep a good credit score. This will also be important if I want to have a relatively independent life as well as better prospects of a loan and employment. In short, I will have to live much more frugally than I expected in order to make a financially successful life for myself.

Previously, I did not envision myself as using investments in order to supplement my income, due to their potential risk. However, after attending the workshop, I realize that investing could potentially bolster both my savings and my income later in life. This has also altered my future plans as now my intention is to set aside money both for emergency savings as well as for yearly investments. Due to the costs of retirement, this will likely become a necessity for me, and I will also have to plan my finances accordingly, as I will need to begin saving and investing as soon as possible.

In summary, exposure to these financial ideas during the workshop has made me more aware of my spending and the potential effect this may have on my financial stability in the future. While the workshop has given me a greater level of awareness about financial matters, it has also significantly influenced my financial and life plans for the future.