Money talks, but you’re financially illiterate.
It has been said before, and I’ll say it again, if we knew this is what adulting would be like, we’d have all started saving in kindergarten.
I recently spoke to a personal finance manager, and I was able to have a clearer understanding of my perceptions about money, and got some insight as to how young people can better take care of their money.
Personally, I want to be able to spend money in this generation while I’m around, but I’m also trying to build generational wealth. The truth is, a lot of us are where we are today because of the sacrifices that our parents and those before us made. Their hard work was a stepping stone for us. As young as we are, it’s important to think about the future.
One of my favourite quotes is “we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, but we borrow it from the future generations”. There are a lot of ways one could interpret this quote, but for me, I think of it as a call to sustainable living, that is, living a life that will not completely deplete resources for future generations, whether you’ve started planning for them or not.
I realized that at the rate I was going, not only would I not be able to build wealth for the next generation, but I might not have anything left for myself in my lifetime either.
In this post therefore, I’m going to share the biggest (mis)conception I had about money, and how speaking to a financial manager allowed me to think differently.
Money as a boomerang
According to Google.com, a boomerang is a curved piece of flat wood, which if thrown correctly, will return to the thrower. There’s a scientific reason why boomerangs work the way they do. I’ve only ever seen boomerangs in cartoons, but the concept is one that always intrigued my young mind.
I think of a lot of things as boomerangs, especially effort and energy. I am of the opinion that the effort and energy you put out, will find its way back to you.
Thinking of money as a boomerang therefore, would mean that when you spend money, it will find its way back to you. After all, boomerangs always come back, right? Not exactly.
For a boomerang to come back, it has to be thrown correctly. You can’t just throw a boomerang anyhow and expect it to find its way back to you. You have to set it up for success by throwing it in a certain way. The same goes with money; you can’t spend your money on ‘things’, and expect your money to come back to you. You have to put your money in an environment where it will be able to find you again. Don’t throw money away, instead, spend wisely.
I believe money is always in circulation. I adapted a habit of spending money according to my means, and being thankful for even being able to spend in the first place. Even when I wish I had more money, I always remember to be thankful for what I have. The energy I have with regards to money is the same energy I’ll get back.
Haba na haba hujaza kibaba (little by little fills the measure)
Another ideological flaw I realized I had about money, was that I never thought I had enough money to save. I was always waiting to start making x amount of money so that I could start saving. What I should have known, was that I don’t have to start big. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Take your single step now, and your future self will thank you.
Somebody said that the best time to start saving was 20 years ago: the next best time to start saving is now.
Many of us have heard of ‘saving for a rainy day’, but are yet to take any action. Let’s face it: we are not certain of the future, but we long for a life of financial independence, being able to afford the life we want.
I used to be so bad at saving when I was younger, that I would literally occasionally break my piggy banks, just to get some coins out. My ‘money is a boomerang’ mentality would always tell me, ‘it will come back, don’t worry’, but I didn’t have a plan on how I was going to make those coins back. So, in the long run, my boomerang line of thought ended up being detrimental to me.
Every shilling counts. If you take care of little things one at a time, they can add up to big things. With this in mind, if you take care of the cents, the shillings will take care of themselves. You do not have to have lots of money to start saving, just start with the little that you have – from your pocket money, allowances, loose change, the list is endless.