Jan 7, 2008

"Dollar, Dollar Bill Y'all"

A mentor of mine asked me the following questions this week. Noteworthy to establish your own point of view, I believe:

Now that you have a job and are living on your own what is your greatest financial challenge?
My greatest challenge is sticking to the budget I institute! My paycheck is 2x a month (which already has my 401K contribution deducted.) and I have a dollar amount that is immediately deducted and I place in my "bills" account. From there I have a choice to save or spend on things like holidays, travel, social outings and other non-essentials things like clothes and etc.

I'm blessed I don't have a problem making end's meet, but rather wealth building. There is an element of long-term (1 year, 5-year, Decade, Retirement) vision scoping that recent grads need to differentiate. Too zoomed in and you wind up piddling your money away, too far out and you feel like you are never going to be able to retire. My demographic doesnt have a reliable resource (or education on where to find a free/trusted resource rather) to answer these questions or start those thoughts in our minds.

What are your general thoughts just about money.
Money is a gem of many facets, depending on the way the light hits it, you're painfully blinded, transfixed or uninterested by its shine.

Money is dangerous. It's easy to spend yet hard-earned. It can corrupt people's morals and compromise their integrity. I don't like it but I also realize I use it to enable me to live the life I want and experience new adventures. Too often young people are disillusioned into thinking "if I can only afford (insert item), my life will be (positive attribute)." The media does a lot to perpetuate the idea, as does our capitalist society. Too infrequently are we challenged to do something outlandish like backpack through Australia, Europe or Asia for a few months after graduation, to experience how other people live, and on just how little we need to survive ourselves.

The paradigm of the U.S. can be money-centric and fail to suggest that in the absence of money (or the abundant presence too), we need to be people of moral fiber who know what we want to accomplish in the community around us. To have goals, to set challenges for ouselves, to extend ourselves and work hard for something. These are things I wish wound up in a few college level lesson plans, in "higher" education if you will. If it's not in a book, if it's a feeling or a hard-learned life lesson that doesnt apply to the syllabus we're graded against, is it any less important once we are out there 'on our own?'

What does money mean to you?
-Money is what will help my dad retire early from the job he hates if I make enough.
-It's what it takes to save for my future childrens' educations.
-Without it I lose my new car.
-With it I worry I'll lose a bit of perspective on life priorities/what is 'expensive'
-With a lot of it I'm scared it will corrupt me.
-All in all it has absolutely nothing to do with the type of person I am, how well I can love and encourage another human being.
-I view it as an empty vessel given power because we believe in it, it is merely a symbol.

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