So the money is flowing in… or maybe arriving a little bit at a time. Either way, you have a source of income! But what are you going to do with all that money? It’s time to develop your Money Identity. There are probably some things you will need to purchase in addition to the things you want. You also may want to pay off debt or save up for something big! Now that you are making money, you need to focus on four different things: values, needs, wants, and goals!
First, you need to focus on your values, because values are what guide your needs, wants, and goals. For example, you may value education, or family, or quality food. Everyone’s values are unique and shaped by many different things – your values may not be identical to your friends’ or your parents’.
Now that you understand what you value, it’s time to decide needs versus wants. Needs are essential for life, such as food or shelter. So, if you buy your own groceries or have to pay rent, those could be examples of needs. Wants are not necessities but are things you desire, whether it is a cell phone upgrade or a designer purse. These may seem obvious but needs and wants can vary among a person. A house can be a need for somebody or a want for someone who lives in an apartment. When needs versus wants are established, the money you earned can allocated to pay for certain things.
Once all of that is figured out, you then need to establish goals. What do you ultimately wish to accomplish with your money? There are many different kinds of goals you can go for. Financial goals are devised in order to save money or pay off debts. Education goals are those set to help you be successful in a future workplace, such as earning a high GPA or participating in extracurricular activities. Whether it be educational or financial, goals are either short-term or long-term, long-term meaning longer than one year.
And you shouldn’t just make any old goals – make sure your financial and education goals are SMART, meaning Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Bound. Don’t be vague or ridiculous when setting a goal. Make sure it makes sense and it is something you can actually accomplish!
So break out a calculator, grab a pen and paper and do some math! Sometimes accomplishing a goal may be challenging, but keeping your money organized by setting goals helps you become more responsible and will make you feel better and more accomplished!