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A time to spend and a time to save

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When last week’s article was written I had no idea that we were on the brink of a rise in gas prices at the pumps, today that is the reality. As a young person you must take note of such an impacting recent development. In times like these we must try our best to keep abreast of the happenings around us, be it locally, regionally or internationally.{{more}} It is in this light that it is also important that we do not allow ourselves to be fed by much of the unfounded and groundless information which is often hot aired on some of our radio talk programmes, instead we must learn to sift the truth.

Few days ago, I was appalled at the unsubstantiated howling, sounded on the radio by a notable radio personality in an attempt to link rises in gas prices to poor governance and bus strikes. In all the discussions the host of the talk programme made absolutely no mention that the rise in gas prices at the pumps in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is just a single aspect of current global trends. Sometimes it leads one to wonder how soon our Parliament will see it fit to pass some sort of legislation to specifically charge persons who willfully attempt to mis-educate. For the meanwhile however, we must always be aware of those who constantly attempt to pull the wool over our eyes.

In a period where inflation is most obvious, greater care must be placed on the manner in which one decides to address issues pertaining to personal finances. It is clear that regardless the source of ones income, ones financial existence is tightly hinged to the concept of money management. It is almost certain for the most part from our present spending habits that once we have money we will surely spend it. The questions which must be asked however are, firstly, what percentage of your finance do you save, and secondly, whether the money you spend is done so with a high degree of due diligence.

The more a young adult knows about the realities of money as a limited resource, the better it is for his or her financial development. When this article is printed it will be over four days since there was an increase in gas prices at the pumps, but how many of us would have thought it necessary to begin to make the necessary adjustments in spending in order to accommodate the resultant increases which may follow? It is only obvious that if your salary remains the same, but prices for the goods you buy increase that you will have less money at your disposal to either save or spend. What adjustments are you willing to make now? It is now that we must take greater care in understanding some of the real basics of money management such as the difference between gross and net salary, paying taxes and filing tax returns, and the importance of allocating money for tithing, saving, and regular as opposed to special purchases.

Parents and schools should share the responsibility for teaching children about finances from a very young age. Proverbs 22:6 encourages us to “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” That Scripture is as true for money management as it is for biblical instruction.

We must at all times realize that the security of our financial development is not solely dictated by the amount of money we receive on a monthly basis, but is highly dependent on, and in some instances is a mirror reflection of changes in the global economy. That is the extent of the uncertainty of our lives as it pertains to the control that we do have over the cost of our living. Therefore, we must engage ourselves in environments that advocate wise spending and saving, and the investment of money to reach ones financial goals. In so doing, we must not unrealistically draw ourselves into the trap of attempting to live the “American Dream” in a Vincentian context, where the circumstances are totally different. However, I guess that that is one of the negatives of television advertisement on developing countries, in that it makes us think that we are out of fashion if we do not appear to be on par with what we see happening on American television.

As youth we must begin to think as young entrepreneurs. This does not entail an adoption of a ‘get rich quick by any means culture’, but various forms of budgeting on a personal level must be adopted if we are to ensure that our future financial development can be sustained.

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