Reaching Financial Maturity
In the medical world, the word mature means being fully grown or developed. I have often used that definition to describe my personal financial growth. When I was younger I was not very financially mature. I bought on impulse. I used loans to get things I wanted without waiting. I made decisions for the short term with little regard for long term goals. I even thought a thousand dollars was a lot of money (boy does that make me laugh now!).
Now that I’m older and (supposed to be) wiser, I make completely different decisions with my money. I often delay the gratification of having something right away so I can use my money for something that will happen in the distant future. I rarely buy anything on impulse because I (most of the time) have a plan for every paycheck before it even hits my bank account.
I even make giving and saving for retirement a priority. I’ve always known they should be priorities in my life but I never followed through and actually made them priorities. Sure I saved some and invested some, but not as much as I needed or as early as I should have.
I do still think a thousand dollars is a lot of money, but the context has changed a little. I think spending a thousand dollars is a lot to spend on anything, and I value situations where I don’t have to spend that much money. On the other hand, I recognize that a thousand dollars doesn’t go very far when you’ve got big ticket items to pay for, like house repairs, car repairs, college expenses, medical expenses, retirement and more. So I make sure I have much more than just a thousand dollars sitting in bank and investment accounts for those types of things.
The point is that as I’ve aged, I’ve become more responsible with my money. I’ve reached a certain level of financial maturity. It’s not fun to do the responsible thing all the time. But it sure is fun to reap the rewards of being responsible. I guess it just means I’ve grown up a little.
Have your behaviors with money changed as you got older? What do you do differently now?