By Natalie Bett
Financial responsibility means living within my means, understanding my goals and the resources it will take to achieve them, and creating opportunities that give me the means to achieve my goals.
Living within my means is not complicated, but it is not always easy. I have learned a few things from my parents, and as I have grown up, I have put some into practice. When I was younger and received a weekly allowance, I learned that if I spent all my money on candy, I would not have enough left for the things that were important to me, such as music, clothes, and books. I know that when I am older, I will have the same concerns, but also have regular bills to pay, so I will need to set a budget, spend wisely and not waste money. Like my parents, I will need to be aware of things such as how much I eat out and how much I eat at home, and make sure I pay bills on time to avoid wasting money on late fees, finance charges, or interest.
I am a goal-oriented person. One of the most important goals in my life is to have a career in dance and I have spent 13 years working towards it. Right now, I am a competitive dancer at my local studio. Every year, my parents pay thousands of dollars for tuition, costumes, shoes, makeup, competition fees, recital tickets, and more. I know that as I get older, these prices will go up, and soon I will have to pay for it all on my own. I also know that jobs in the arts often don’t pay well and can be fragile and hard to find. Even though I don’t know what my future in dance looks like yet; I do know that having financial means to achieve my goals will be challenging.
I have a plan to create opportunities that give me the financial means to achieve my goals. The first part of my plan is to pursue an engineering degree. While I hope to find a way to combine my interest in math and science with my love of dance, I know that an engineering degree can lead to a stable, well-paying job that can help support my dancing goals and the financial challenges that come with them. I hope that by earning an engineering degree, I will get a job that will allow me to do what I enjoy while allowing me to live a happy and healthy life (which is the second part of my plan).
To practice financial responsibility, I know that I will have to understand and define my goals, create opportunities for myself to achieve these goals, and find ways to live within my means to allow myself to live comfortably while still being able to afford the things that are important to me.
The Freedman Financial Associates Inc. Scholarship was created to heighten the awareness of personal financial planning, and fiscal responsibility among graduating high school seniors. Now in its 20th year, the Freedman Financial has collectively awarded more than $20,000 to past winners.