Self Care... it's a trendy phrase in popular media and social media. They are often talking about their skincare pampering, mental rebalancing, or just relaxation. However, it is also important to do with your finances and financial goals.
I've noted on my blogs how much I've given up over the years for the goals and happiness of others that are no longer with me. I DO think it is important to give to those about whom you care when they are in need or just to make them happy from time to time. However, what I DIDN'T do and should have done is hold back some for myself. If I HAD, the last year would not have been so hard on me.
I'm beginning a new financial related job in the morning, and when I progress back up that career ladder I will be putting into practice some lessons that I have learned...
1. Put 10 percent in the bank.... ALL the time.. at the very least. Actually, I will be putting MUCH more than that away over the next few years to make up for the assets that were lost. I anticipate it only taking about a year and a half to be back where I was at my highest point (which wasn't that high). Then, I will continue rising from there... no matter what or who else is in my life at the time.
2. A man's money is not the property of others to dictate. If he willingly gives it to them, it is a gift. If he doesn't have a say because it's already decided, it's theft. There has been a couple times where I felt like a worker drone, making money for others to spend. That's not a life, and that's not fair. At the VERY LEAST a man needs to have a portion of every paycheck to decide what HE wants to do with.. a portion over which no one has a veto. That's how a man retains respect of his work and income.
3. Make enough or reduce your expenses enough (or both) to be able to SPEND some money, every week, over saving goals. You will reach a point where you say... I don't really NEED that. If it is expensive, listen to yourself. However, if it is not, get it anyway. It's your job, your money, and your life. Even the Bible in Ecclesiastes says what's left to man is to enjoy the fruits of his labor and to enjoy his life, all the days he toils.
4. If you are not making enough, GET THERE so that you do. I made a mistake over the last several years of feeling I didn't need money and if I worked less I could enjoy life more. I believe Soloman in Ecclesiastes (literally known as the wisest man on earth) put it in there that a man was to toil to enjoy life. Benjamin Franklin said many times the same thing. Now, you CAN be toiling and STILL not making enough. If that is the case, figure out what you need to do to get there so that you are making enough. In my case, I knew I had an accounting degree and experience and kept feeling .... why am I struggling with this degree and experience? So, I did something about it. If you don't have the degree or experience, or if your current income is subject to risk (like ..say... having your car stolen), it might be a good time to go back to school or change professions.
5. Finally, it doesn't have to be hard. I think a lot of times, we choose the harder path, because we think that others will respect what we made out of it. I took being an independent contractor as a challenge, and I succeeded at it. And, in the end? Few cared and many wondered why I didn't just work a job, seeing it as ignorance instead of courage. Almost no one is paying attention to most of your life, except you. You make be fighting to get their attention, but what you SHOULD be fighting for is your own financial security and growth. Ten years from now that will be all that matters.
Happy self caring.