What does financial responsibility mean to you?
The older I get, the more I come to understand the true value of a dollar. It began when I was a toddler and first learned that money was what bought us every tangible object we owned. At that point in my life I viewed things such as toys and candy bars as prized possessions. Just five dollars, a number that now seems nearly useless to me, was capable of bringing me loads of happiness. As I grew older, these sources of happiness began to come with a larger price tag. What were once Barbies and board games were now cell phones and trendy clothes.
Now, as I prepare for the next four years of my life, this price tag grows exponentially. Secondary education leaves millions of Americans in debt, and most students find themselves paying off loans decades after they graduate. I am well aware of the fact that I may be joining this population, but by practicing financial responsibility I hope to counteract some of the negative effects that debt could have on my personal life.
To me, being financially responsible means separating my needs from my wants and prioritizing what I believe will help me reach my goals. Upon graduating from college, I hope to spend a few years working hard to pay off a majority of my loans, then saving up enough to be able to independently support myself. Prioritizing my loans might mean sacrificing some of my wants, such as moving away from home right away or buying myself nice items. However, a short period of sacrifice and hard work will be worth the rewarding qualities it brings in the future.
Throughout my high school years, I put much effort into being financially responsible. I began working at the age of fifteen, and by the age of sixteen I was holding down a full-time summer job. Although it is easy to spend all the money you make as a teenager, I have always made sure to save and shop wisely. Looking back, I am thankful that I chose not to spend my money irresponsibly, because it has helped me save up for my needs in the future. During college I plan to continue working and saving whenever I can, preparing myself for my expenses after graduation.
Sometimes financial responsibility is not the most attractive approach to handling your income.
There have been times in which I turned away from purchasing things I thought I desperately wanted but knew I would not need in the long run. I am sure that in years to come I will run into similar situations, but by saving the amount I need and aiming my spending money towards the things that truly count, I will set myself up for a life of financial stability and success. Hopefully this plan will benefit me not only in the moment, but also throughout the rest of my life and into retirement.
Freedman Financial 2018 Scholarship winner: Tracking # 1-726064
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