Personal Finance… to some the words incite pangs of guilt or shrugs of ignorance and apathy. For others – myself included – Personal Finance is exciting because they are really just code words for discipline, structured spending, and planned prosperity.
Below is a list of 5 things I Love about Personal Finance.
- Following Personal Finance practices makes me feel like an adult – It has been said that one of the (many) differences between man and animal is our ability to practice self-restraint. I’ll avoid the temptation to digress into a commentary about what that may mean for some folks, but I will assert that, in this way, children are more primal in their approach to wants and desires than adults. As we grow and our value systems evolve, we forgo the simplistic desires of a child and in their place we develop a more complex set of wants and desires. If, at this stage, our development arrests and we allow ourselves to impulse on our more complex longings we’re destined for financial despair (or prison in the worst of cases following this continuum). However, when self regulation accompanies our new set of wants we demonstrate a full pattern of growth and development. We are able to identify our wants and then set a constructive course to their resolution. In this way, practicing Personal Finance is simply a manifestation of a regulation designed to enable us to achieve objectives in a constructive manner. Disciplined Personal Finance practices serves as tangible proof that I am a fully developed adult and not simply a grown child… or worse.
- Managing a Budget gives me freedom – Admittedly this one is counterintuitive – a budget providing freedom? Well, yes. Imagine a budget as being similar to our traffic laws. Speed limits, stop signs, traffic lights, and lane designations are all restrictions but collectively they provide us with a sense of safety and freedom. Have you ever felt anxiety when receiving a bill in the mail? “Oh no, how am I going to pay this one?” Having a budget tells you how. In fact, on paper the money has already been allocated so there is no anxiety or worry. The bill in the mailbox is simply a realization of a written plan. Meanwhile, the dollars that have been allocated for dining out or designated as ‘blow’ money can be burned without feelings of guilt or waste because the freedom for frivolity was defined and contained.
- Personal Finance tactics put me back in control – We invest our time and life energy in exchange for our income. But this construct is grossly out of balance for so many in our society today. Is your time really an investment securing your future or are you helping to fund mega high rises and gross bonus structures for banks and lending institutions? Do you work for your edification or to service your debt? By implementing simple Personal Finance practices you’ll start to swing the balance back into your favor.
- Disciplined Personal Finance provides me a runway to pursue my passion – Working for an income that is already spent creates a sense of entrapment. This feeling intensifies when we have multiple debt holders each representing their own recurring claim against our income. As we continue to layer on more and more monthly obligations the power and flexibility of our income is drained and before long the spiral is out of control as we find ourselves trapped in a job we hate with no end in sight. Here again, shedding debt and living on a budget can help us establish priorities with our income. Once we recognize that our income can be a tool for our empowerment (not imprisonment) we can open doors to new opportunities and more fulfilling endeavors.
- Practicing sound Personal Finance is an expression of love for my family – Actions speak louder than words, but some actions say more than others. Buying a new car for a 16th birthday gift may be an expression of love. However, teaching financial principles to a young person while ensuring an ability to fund their college education is an enduring testimony of love that may extend generations into the future. Similarly, managing finances to ensure my family’s needs are addressed beyond simply today’s fleeting desires demonstrates an interest and anticipation in our shared future together.
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