Financially Independent

0 Comments 05 July 2007 / by

lately, i’m addicted to this place. almost every minute of the hour, i would be checking what’s new topics have arrived and check out those latest entries about fashion from other fashionese. i think most of the girls there are currently experiencing the same addiction.. i see them everyday logging in and getting in touch with our fashionable self and share it to others. anyway, hats off to hanzky who started this whole thing. from the first time i knew you, i know you’d be creative this way. and the fun thing is, most people logged in are people i know from waaayyy back then, so it was nice to see them again and chat in a girly conversation about hair, make-up, bags, shoes, outfits, etc… especially now we’ll be in different cities.

anyway, what i wanted to talk about is not how we make ourselves girls more fashionable. but more on the financial side. you know, we girls tend to spend spend spend… maybe it’s our nature or maybe because we just too greedy and we always have this urge to want it all. and those marketers know exactly our weakness and always.. i mean ALWAYS target their products to US!!

the problem is, not every girl has their own income. fortunately, for the past decades, this has changed considerably. many girls have jobs, finished the highest education available, and have their own income. on top of being a mom and a wife. and more and more moms becoming more fashionable these days.

but really, even with their own income.. how much do they really spend?

i raised this issue at the forum a couple of days back. many answers that the question just made them feel more guilty about their shopping habit. well, i didn’t mean it that way. i just thought that sometimes, us girls would spend so much left and right that we completely forgot to … SAVE!

but then, it all depends on the person itself. a lot of people don’t really get the habit of savings money or even understand the idea of savings altogether. for myself, i have this habit since i was young.. well, maybe the fact that i’m from a certain place in sumatra (you know where!) had something to do with it.. but i would beg to differ. i think it’s more on the way i was raised. my parents are very good at savings. it reflected on how well they provide my brother and i throughout the years. i mean, my family is not exactly coming from money, so my dad has to work hard for it. and mom made sure that we had enough to fall back on when my dad’s retired. and we live comfortably. both my brother and i get to finish the highest education abroad. we have roof and accommodation that’s quite comfortable.

we learn enough that the habit to appreciate what we have. saving what we earn is important. it was all in the family and we got a habit of it. well, of course, i had also a fair share to learn it the hard way. i had to live on my own and took care of my younger brother since i was in high school since dad was relocated to a different city outside of jakarta. it got me practiced to manage my family’s financials while mom & dad was away. so when i was in college, all by myself, it just came natural that i thought i nailed the art of managing my own financials. i did but it wasn’t easy.

being a freshman in a new country that offers free credit card to students.. i was trapped in credit card debt right away. i didn’t know what APR was, what i have to do with minimum payment, or all those financial terms. it was just new to me. but i learned fast.. just when i started seeing triple zeros on my credit card bills.

i managed to pay them little by little from what i earned after i graduated. i promised myself that i need to be independent and support myself from money that i earn. i kept my promise until now. and on top of that, i also made myself make sure i first set aside my money for savings, before i use it to shop. and i think that’s quite fundamental.

everyone should wonder, how much would they need to live comfortably if they retire. many would argue that we’re still young, so enjoy it. think about retirement when we’re ‘older’. well, that’s wrong! when you’re young, you’re at the most productive age that you would be able to earn and shop less (?) since you would only be supporting yourself. once you get married and have kids, the idea of shopping less would probably not in your vocabulary anymore. you’d need a house, a car, bigger room, tuition money, diapers, bla bla bla… you would then argue.. that’s why we should earn more!

well, i think that’s not quite right either. cuz i do believe that it’s not how much you earn, it’s how much you spend that matters. cuz what you earn and what you spend usually grows together. the more you earn, the more you spend. the more you spend, the less you save. the less you save means less money to fall back on for your retirement.

it’s basic finance. well, of course, i get to learn it in college. but everyone should understand it, i think. you may argue that you should enjoy your life. buy things that makes you happy. unfortunately, i’m always grounded to believe that things should not always related to material things in life. money should not be the center of your happiness.

yep, buying branded things would make you look good. it would make you more accepted in the social scenes. it would make you look more fashionable. it would probably make you happy to wear it. but come the time when you are no longer able to earn money, would you have enough money in your bank account and reaps the fruits of your hardwork? think about it! would you be happy then?

well, i may be suggesting to the extreme here. but i just want to share it to (probably) get you to open your eyes. cuz i see too many young people now are too consumptive.. in their mind, they think… buy buy buy!! cuz my parents couldn’t afford to buy them for me. but at the end, they have nothing to be proud of, but these designer bags & shoes that would probably devaluated over time.

my suggestion is to enjoy life but also balance it out with saving up for the rainy days. it doesn’t have to be much. to save around 10-15% of your income should be enough, for starters. at least it gives you the habit of disciplining yourself to be more responsible with your money. once you earn it, put it away, thought of it as lost money. after you have quite plenty, put it on investments and let them work for you. putting away 10-15% of your income is quite small, don’t you think? you still get the 90-85% to buy anything you want. to pay for rent, utilities, food, and .. shopping!!

some may say that, well.. what i earn still wouldn’t be enough for me to save. well, look at your spending! are you spending more than what you earn? if yes, then you gotta adust your spending.. cuz adjusting your earning would only mean that you (psychologically) think you get to spend more. at the end, you’ll be back to square one.

there are a few lucky ones who has family money to support their lifestyle. hey i don’t condemn you. you guys are lucky if that’s true!! but not everyone is so lucky. even if my parents could still afford to buy me things, i’d rather that they don’t. cuz at the end.. everybody should look forward to the goal of.. FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT!

i’ve been working toward that goal since i earned my own income. now that i have my own family, it’s only common sense that we should. wouldn’t you?

rgds,
:: sLesTa

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a worker by choice, a mother and a wife by nature / owner of slesta.com / co-founder of the urban mama / the urban muslimah | email: slesta[at]slesta[dot]com

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