By Laura Jennings
What Does Financial Responsibility Mean to You?
Financial responsibility has many aspects to me. I used to think that I was financially responsible if I did not lose the dollar given to me by my parents to purchase a candy bar. However, the older I get, the more complex the meaning of financial responsibility has become. In general, financial responsibility means thinking about what you want in life and then creating a financial plan to get there. It also means getting the most out of the limited finds that you have and sometimes involves making sacrifices today to get a better outcome later.
As a young girl, financial responsibility meant having a large savings account. I have always been a “saver”. As long as I can remember, I have had a bank account. At an early age, my Dad taught me how to deposit money into my bank account. Whenever I received cash as a gift or an allowance, my Dad would take me to the bank and make me deposit some of the cash. I was proud of my passbook savings account. When asked what I was saving for, I would proudly announce I was saving for my own house. So I had a plan and I was saving for that plan.
Creating a plan and saving for my plan is only one aspect. It is also important to get the most out of your money along the way. My generation is fortunate to have access to the internet, a powerful tool that allows us to easily shop for products. I order to be financially responsible, you must avoid compulsive purchases. It is amazing how much can be saved by conducting a little research online before making a purchase.
In addition to making wise purchases, financial responsibility includes making wise investments. My passbook savings account taught me the value of putting my money in an account with interest instead of my piggy bank. It also taught me that making small sacrifices along the way by saving a portion of my gifts, results in large benefits over time.
As a young adult, my plan is evolving and I must make tougher financial decisions. I have applied to several colleges. The costs are quite large, forcing me to think about my plan and weigh the tradeoffs. Should I go to a big name school at a cost of $65,000 or settle for a state school at a cost that is much less? So today, financial responsibility also means making decisions now that will not negatively affect my financial stability in the future.
I have not yet finished my plan for college. However, my final decision will undoubtedly demonstrate financial responsibility. I will create a financial plan to support my decision. I will make sacrifices along the way. I will make wise purchases when I attend college in the hopes that I will be able to make wise investments when I graduate.
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