In a life filled with overdrafts, credit cards and the Bank of Mum and Dad, it’s easy to become complacent when it comes to our finances. Gone are the days for many, of saving up for something and earning the opportunity to buy that piece of jewellery, new bike or go to study at University. But are we losing something by being able to have everything ‘Now’?
I am from the generation of Student Loans, getting people used to borrowing to fund their present self’s desires. We’re told we need the degree to get a job, but many students end up disillusioned, with degrees in fields they don’t end up working in or leaving before graduation because the course isn’t right for them at this time. And with the cost of study not being cheap, and student loans only being available once in a lifetime, are we rushing into things too soon just because we can?
I used to say I wouldn’t want to win the lottery because I’d rather save up to buy the home, car and furnishings I want, knowing that I’ve earned everything I have in life. These words came back to me lately as I had the opportunity to pursue an avenue that could have given me a well paid job in an office meaning security, both in terms of employment and finances, an easy way to fill up my bank account, and the opportunity to forge a career with a well known local company.
So they were the pros. What were the cons?
I’m currently working to create a cake business, self employed and trying to get the business to a point where I can say it is making a profit and will continue to do so. This would have to go by the wayside, or on the back burner for a few years. I lack a reliable income and security of finances and employment. But that is exciting and provides motivation to keep promoting the business and creating products people will want to buy and talk about.
I have always dreamt of having a camper van, especially after hiring one for our wedding last year. Such a job would enable us to buy a van within a year if we continue to run our finances as we have been doing. But would it mean the same just being able to go out and buy one, or would it become just a materialistic purchase?
Making cakes means working whatever hours I have to in order to fulfill orders. Often, this means baking or decorating until 2am and beyond. But what price can you really put on the freedom to be creative, see the difference your care, effort and attention make and being able to organise your day however you like? It may be 9pm-5am, but you get to see the garden in the day and spend time with family at the weekends. Flexibility and freedom are things it’s very hard to put a price on, and to give up once you’ve experienced them.
Added to that, being able to just go and buy a camper van would be instant gratification, but would it be as precious as the van we had to save up for, wheel by wheel? Would it mean as much as the journey of deciding exactly what sort of van we want and dreaming of the places we could go in it? Or would we be mortgaging our future to satisfy our present selves?
Well how about sticking with the business and borrowing the money to fund the purchase? Fantastic idea! Best of both worlds! But hang on; in order to run the business, because it’s something that makes me happy, we’re making financial sacrifices. Running one car is enough, without another lot of maintenance, insurance and fuel costs. And what use is a camper van with an empty fuel tank? I’d rather not have a camper van than be unable to run it, seeing it sitting there with the potential to bring happiness, and a reminder of the fact that we moved too soon and should have been patient.
I’ve always believed that you should live for the now and enjoy life to the full. But that doesn’t mean having everything you want right now in an instant. The journey to achieving something is worth so much more than it is often given credit. The places you go, the people you meet along the way.
If you are living for the now, don’t sacrifice a moment of happiness now, just to be able to have what you think you want. Do what you know you want. And if you really want something, you’ll get it one day. You’ll make sure of it.