While the best things in life are free, you need money to pay your bills (unless you plan to go on Welfare). Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with utilizing Welfare as a bridge to getting out of unforeseen circumstances; however, don’t stay on Welfare when you are fully functional and can work. Take pride in providing for yourself financially. I firmly believe in working smarter, not harder. I have often heard that you should do what you love, and the money will follow; yet, I am a very practical person who did not quite believe that. Thus, I became a physician.
One thing my mother, who was a bookkeeper, taught me was the value of saving money for a rainy day. I still believe it is a good tenet to live by. Thirty-three percent of what you earn should be used to pay the bills; thirty-four percent should be saved; and the final thirty three percent should be used for incidentals.
It is never too late to start saving and you can never be too young to start saving.
When you are saving money, that money should not be touched unless it is unavoidable (extreme emergencies).
I have always lived by the following financial rules, and that is why my financial adviser never worries about me:
- Never live beyond your means.
- Don’t buy what you can’t pay off in full when the bill comes.
- Work hard but remember to take healthy breaks.
- Don’t lend money you cannot afford to lose.
- Set financial boundaries the same way you set boundaries in your personal relationships.
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
I got my first job when I was fourteen years old and I immediately started saving that money, partly because I was always very independent and did not want to be dependent on anyone; and partly because as the eldest child I wanted to take some of the financial stress off the shoulders of my single mother.
There is a certain sense of freedom that comes from having your own financial resources and while I am not a millionaire yet, I have learned to use what I have wisely to do the things I enjoy.