Saturday, December 10, 2005

It took a while to learn

I recently came to a realization that took more than 6 years. This has to do with personal finance. I had read a book titled The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason. This book is a classic amongst the personal finance books. There is one lesson in there that has eluded me. The lesson is that a part of what you earn is yours to keep. It's a simple lesson. I understood the idea very well when I read it years ago. It is only recently that it not only makes sense. It actually means something to me. I don't know how you do it. I learn things the hard way, usually. Here is what I mean.

Typically, I would cash my meager paycheck and separate 10% into savings. For a while, I stashed cash in a safe deposit box. The stash was basically meant to cover emergencies. And it often did. I would have to pull out money from savings to cover a big bill, or to avoid overdrafting. The net result would be that I would have spent all the money I had worked so hard to earn. So, when an emergency cropped up, I'd be penniless.

I have learned that I must define what an emergency is. From now on, emergencies are health, housing and food, and car repairs. An overdue bill, or other payment is not an emergency. I have discussed this with Alma, and it made sense to her too. She's onboard with the plan. Life is good.

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