The road to financial stability – Potential reality or a baseless myth?
If you’re reading this article, chances are high that you’re in your early or late twenties, maybe even your thirties, for that is the time when individuals truly start to fear what the future holds in store for them.
That is a good thing, despite the anxiety or the pressure you might be under. The fact that you’re taking it seriously shows that you are aware of how crucial it is to plan ahead. Some people live their life like a breeze meandering through a barley field; it disappears soon without making an impact or leaving a mark.
Your life should be more meaningful and the first step to living a meaningful life is to make a financial arrangement with your future self. This may sound like a job of Everest proportions but when you break it down, it comes down to a few simple tasks while adhering to a few simple rules.
You can set these rules for yourself; perhaps in a checklist of sorts and work towards achieving them through your remaining years in whatever pace that suits you best. The trick is to be consistent in your approach. Consistency is born of patience and persistence.
So, where do we start?
SKILLS OR TALENTS
The most basic of human instincts is to learn and apply. From the days of the cavemen to the technological craftsmen of the 21st century, this God given instinct has led us to the pinnacle of human evolution. Keeping in tune with that perception, you must take the time to learn, develop and hone your own set of skills that will help you survive in the world.
However, you must keep the notion of supply and demand in your mind while learning your skills. Because a skill that is not valued in any business, trade or craft is not a skill that you can use to earn. Sure, it may work well as a hobby but beyond that, it will be practically useless.
Focus on developing a skills that is marketable, that can get you a job now and in the future. Learn about trends in your geographical location and use that knowledge to find out where your time can be best invested.
DIVERSITY OF SKILLS is also an important factor to consider. Suppose, you’re a stock broker, bursting full of passion, going along to the stock exchange with dreams of making your millions. The day you start, however, the stock market takes a big tumble down the drainage pipe and you tumble down along with it.
Why? Because you had nothing to hold on to, in case such a scenario were to unfold; no contingency plan. No other skill that you can use in case the first one yields nothing for a certain passage of time.
Yes, I am sure many of you had “The Wolf of Wall Street” flashbacks when we presented the Stockbroker scenario. The example works well within the context though.
Develop more than one marketable skill and your future source of income shall be more or less secure, God-willing.
It’s a funny world we live, where a completely useless individual with a fancy degree can get a high paying job while another with loads of practical skills within that same field is unable to secure the job, just because he or she does not possess that piece of paper certifying that he or she is a professional in that field.
However, rather than fighting it, it is easier and much more conducive if we just adapt to the times. Go to college, and pick out a worthy field of education; something that interests you and will be able to help you secure a good job in the future.
We understand that the student loans may start to stack up at this point so it is crucial that you start building a repayment plan alongside your tuition and maybe get a part-time job.
And not to forget, study hard. Your time and money is an investment that your education will be able to pay off in the future.
NEVER DO IT FOR FREE
We are not talking literally here, folks. The point we are trying to get across is, that the average human being has a plethora of knowledge and talent that they never utilize properly. It always remains within the territory of a hobby and never evolves into a manner of making income.
Consider this: Many people are apt at making short movies; editing clips, making videos, doing commentary on films and sporting events, providing analysis on works of art, writing literature reviews and a whole lot more.
These are marketable skills. A lot of people waste a whole lot of time doing this stuff but they never get a single penny in return because they have no idea that they can make money doing such a thing.
If you’re a good video editor, start a YouTube channel, post your videos and monetize it. Your hobby will be satisfied and you will have a real chance of making yourself some handsome green bucks. If you’re a good writer, start a blog and monetize it. (Later edit, useful link: how to watch blocked YouTube videos)
The best thing about it is that this can be easily done part time or abandoned completely if it gets too much for you. This doesn’t even have to be your main source of income. You’re doing it anyway, why not make some money doing it.
SET A BUDGET
Once you cross over into adulthood, start making your own money and become independent, it is important for you to set limits for yourself with regards to how much you can spend.
It doesn’t necessarily mean the short term, day-to-day spending; which is important, no doubt. But what is more important is the long-term budget. We are talking about saving up for university, loan repayment, buying/renting/leasing a car or a motorcycle, purchasing/renting an apartment or house, saving up for a marriage, for a future spouse, having enough in case a tragedy or an illness befalls you or your family and a whole host of other things.
It may be hard thinking about such things but don’t worry. You don’t have to do it in a day or a week or a month. This is a gradual, long term process but like we said before, consistency is the key.
GET RID OF DEBTS
There is nothing more rotten than a lingering debt because apart from the financial strain it puts on your resources, there is also a psychological dreariness that accompanies it as it preys on our subconscious, constantly reminding us how much we owe, never letting us be free and have a sigh of relief.
It is like a constant weight on your shoulders, every waking and sleeping moment of your life. So, in short, get rid of it as soon as possible. Even if that means eating grass for a year or two.
That’s only half a joke, by the way.
You cannot get by with an income all your life. At some point, you will have to retire and God knows what the cost of money will be at that point in time.
Currency can fluctuate drastically so a savings account is not the safest idea for your retirement, although it is necessary.
However, the best thing to do if you have more money than you need at any particular time, is to invest it; Land, property, real estate, business shares etc.
No, we are not talking about handing it over to your buddy who’s pitching you his typical “become a millionaire overnight” garbage. We mean a legitimate establishment that has a high chance of providing you with a reasonable rate of return throughout the years.
Who knows, maybe some way down the line, you do become a millionaire, if you happen to inadvertently invest in the next big thing, like Facebook.
Don’t count on it, though. Slow and steady wins the race.