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Letter to My Younger Self – On Money

Dear Joy,

It’s never too early to start saving.

I love that you’ve always had the habit of tracking your spending. You don’t know that experts recommend it or even what the advantages are, but you’ve been doing it even from Secondary School and it’s going to pay off in future; I can tell you because I know.

Without tracking your spending, you can’t know if you’re living within your means; and it is absolutely important that you don’t live above your means. There’s no surer way to ensure that you never amount to anything financially than overspending.  Knowing what you spend daily and being aware of where all your money goes will help build you into a financially healthy woman…but that’s not all you need. If you’re spending so much that you have nothing to save, you will never know financial freedom no matter how much money you earn.

You’re not saving now because you think you barely have enough to live on, but the truth is that living within your means actually means that you spend only 70% of what comes in. If you’re using up more than that, you’re living above your means. It’s that simple, in principle. In reality, it doesn’t come naturally. You have to train yourself to become accustomed to it. If you don’t know how to manage yourself financially as a young person, you will struggle as an adult.

What’s the 30% for? It’s for giving (this is a huge part of what life is about), saving (this is how you pay yourself first), and investing (because merely earning and saving won’t build wealth).

When you save, it keeps your finances stable. You have savings. The value of this cannot be overemphasised. You have something to fall back on when a genuine emergency arises, and you won’t have to borrow and be weighed down by debt if you ever find yourself between jobs (which you will). You can even earn extra on what you’ve saved by taking advantage of special bank accounts that offer added interest if you don’t touch the money for a specified period. You’re not too young, Joy. You’re not.

 By putting aside 10% for savings, 10% for investing and 10% for giving, you can start building the muscle for doing these things on a larger scale later. Investing your money is making your money work for you. Even if all you do is buy shares (a financially savvy adult can help you get started on this; don’t be afraid to ask) you’re still part of the stock market and you can always build on this foundation when you’re ready to start actively trading later.

You’re already learning how giving positively impacts you. You’ve seen first-hand how blessing others brings blessing your way. Never forget it. Allowing this habit become ingrained in the very fibre of your being will help you keep your heart in the right place on life’s journey. It’s a mistake to keep everything you have to yourself and not share it. It is truly more blessed to give, and even people you wouldn’t consider spiritual or religious know this. Let charity remain a part of your life. You’ll never regret it.

Love,

Joy.

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Joy Ehonwa

Joy Ehonwa is an editor and a writer who is passionate about relationships and personal development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a proofreading, editing, transcription and ghostwriting service. Email: pinpointcreatives [at] yahoo.com

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