It’s been a while since I touched this series about things my father taught me about money. (Previous installments in the things my father taught me about money series: use credit cards, use Discover, and be frugal.)
Today’s lesson is about one of the cardinal financial rules of pay yourself first.
My father taught it to me a little bit different in the form of his actions. He taught the lesson as put yourself first. It’s a subtle difference but basically it just means in all actions put yourself and your priorities above other people. This isn’t always a great way to have relationships but it definitely helps your financial bottom line.
I’ve translated this into my own life by putting myself first financially. This means whenever I get paid I chose to put myself first. I put my savings goals before anything else. Before anything else happens with my money I save for my future self.
I also put my financial priorities above things like gifts for others and even charitable spending. I still donate to charities and love buying gifts for friends and family, but that is something I do with leftover disposable income. If there isn’t any then I simply don’t do those things for the month. I take care of myself first and then focus on others.
Of course I wouldn’t do this to the detriment of others like my father often did. If someone else really needed financial help I would help before considering my own needs. I would never put money above my relationships.
It is important to both know and acknowledge your own personal needs and take care of them before taking care of others. This is true in all areas of life including finances. I believe this was a good lesson to learn and it’s one I plan to implement for the rest of my life.