Too often people complain that there’s not just enough salary to provide for their needs, not enough money to pay the bills, not enough resources to support their basic necessities. But most of the time, it’s not that you don’t have enough inputs to your resources. It’s usually that you want so many things that you go beyond your means. Usually, it’s because you want to acquire things that goes beyond what is just necessary. I believe that increase in one’s resources, may it be monetary or not, will not resolve the issues that most encounter. We were brought forth into a society that leads us to this school of thought that we never realize that more than these things, the most important thing we need to learn first is to manage whatever we have, especially resources that involves our finances.
People tend to avoid talks about money and things that involve one’s capacity to spend or to purchase, to acquire the necessities as well as those that one wants, desires and dreams of getting in the future. There are too many avenues in which we can learn about these things and yet a few people grab the opportunity just because it strikes that side of ours who doesn’t want to accept reality and hide behind that façade that all things are well, and if not, that all things will get better. I don’t mean it to be wrong. In fact, we need to have that hope that all things will get better but not to that point where we actually don’t do anything because we’re just waiting for time to turn around and that maybe, it is now our time to be successful and to have the things that we want.
Most of the time, it’s the changing lifestyle of people that makes it difficult to manage finances. With technology rapidly changing, wants changing drastically, morals taking the sideline or the back of the scenes, people have these tendencies to go beyond what they need.
Just a quick snippet of how my life was and is right now, I went thru that stage where I’m earning as low as those of the minimum wage earners, not of those in the metro cities but with the provinces rate. I would not disclose specifics but it’s too small, as I compare it to what I’m earning right now, and yet I was able to survive for at least a year and a half. Then I changed careers, had a slight increase in what I’m earning, and still, I’m able to provide for myself, pay my bills and sometimes give when I have that spare. I keep on changing careers since I was not productive with the change and I had that need eventually to shift again. Again, another increase in what I earn, still not able to compensate to what I’m earning currently and yet everything is provided, I have all my necessities. Then came an opportunity to work in a company that offered me a salary that, for some might not be that high, but for me it’s already more than enough, almost twice as what I’m earning with the past three companies I am affiliated with, and yet I had that moment where I had nothing, I don’t have a penny in my pocket, that I was so ashamed of myself. I earn more than the others and yet I’m broke.
I remembered a conversation with somebody who told me that that person finds it incomprehensible how others can be comfortable in being broke all the time, in waiting for the next pay out just to live for the next 15 days. I know we have this saying of living life to the fullest, of live while you’re young, of living the day as if it’s your last but what if it’s not? What if the next day you wake up, without anything, with no money to pay for rent or to buy food?
A recollection of a conversation I have with my mom as well when she was telling me and my sister that maybe we need to learn to feed for ourselves, that others are better off selling scraps, taking trash and asking money for the service provided and so on and so forth. Then I realize, these people, those blue collared workers, would survive when things get difficult, that they will take any job just to feed their hungry stomach. And yet, not generalizing, but most white collared people would find it difficult to do physical jobs, those that require you to be in the bottom of the social pyramid.
What I’m trying to say is that before we ask for our increases in our resources, before we ask for a raise in salary, we should be able to manage our finances, our needs and most importantly, the unnecessary wants that society tells us as part of what we need instead of being a part of the ‘wants’. Because not having this, not having the knowledge and the resolve to actually manage them, we’ll still be stuck to what we are.
A financial pyramid that has been used by most financial planners in their consultancies with clients points five stages that create our personal finance management. It is important that we know we are able to provide for our basic necessities such as food, shelter, utilities and clothing. Education already became a necessity but basically, food, shelter and clothing are the most necessary things that we need to acquire first and to ensure that we have them. That becomes the foreground, the bedrock of the financial pyramid.
After we have all our basic necessities, we have to think about our safety, of the future (and not just think that tomorrow you might die so you have to spend everything today because that kind of mindset is foolishness) and so there’s a necessity for us to have insurances, budget, emergency funds and most importantly a permanent job that can provide us a stable income that will keep the sustenance for our basic necessities.
In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, people have that need of love and belongingness. In financial pyramid, we translate as something in which you give, you share and you contribute something to the community. A cliché statement, one that we often hear, reminds us that no man is an island and so we have that implied responsibility to give back to the society, one that the corporate calls for us social responsibility. It’s not a responsibility per se but it’s something that we ought to do.
Given that you have already established your basic necessities, security and that sense of love and belongingness, man in his nature have that need to improve his self-worth. That’s where your savings and investment comes in. You have to capitalize on something which is your own. It brings a surge of overwhelming and swelling pride when you have put up something for yourself. It makes you be inspired to do more and have more, not just for yourself but also for others, to put up something not just for you and for your family , but eventually for those less privilege as well.
And eventually, you achieve your self-actualization translated as financial independence, that sense of freedom where you don’t wait for the next payout, or check your pay slip once in a while or resort to borrowing from those who put so high interest because it’s your only option.
Quoting someone’s words, “I want us not to be limited in what we want. I want us to be free. I know I might be talking a lot about money, finances and freedom but I want us to achieve our dreams and goals and not to realize them just because our resources are holding us back.”