It is true what they say.
Money does not bring happiness.
Money buys freedom.
Freedom to leave a job. Freedom to manage an economic recession. Freedom to take a leave when you feel burned out. Freedom to leave a country. Freedom to own a house. Freedom to leave an abusive (non-)official relationship.
My daughter, having your own emergency fund should be your top priority.
You are buying a part of your freedom with an emergency fund.
Read this article that renamed emergency fund to a “f*ck off” fund, and what motivated it: physical abuse from a partner and sexual harassment from a boss.
I will drill this idea down to you right from the age you will control your full child benefit allowance.
Note: In Ireland, the monthly child allowance is 140 euro. This amount gives plenty of room to experiment and learn to have a good financial education from an early age.
Usually, it is recommended to have saved enough to cover essential expenses for three to six months.
To survive an emergency, frugality is key.
Depending on your risk appetite and your future personal profile, an emergency fund of a young and single-earner will be quite different from that of a single income family with children.
Trust your judgement.
N26 has a more in-depth guide, with differences between an emergency fund and a rainy-day fund. The gist of building these funds is:
I am not a financial expert. Do your research, assess what works best for you:
Pay off any high-interest debts first before saving money.
Save money first just so to cover any potential emergency for which you would have to borrow money and pay a higher rate of interest than you might otherwise accept.
Do not stop until you have this financial safety net. If you need to thrift, work extra hours, decline going out invitations, so be it.
It will not be forever.
And if your friends may sneer condescendingly at your frugality, be thankful. You have a golden opportunity to sieve friends in weeds and grains.
You do not need to fall prey to lifestyle inflation. Just because your income will be growing, that does not mean expenses should also be growing. You will enjoy life much more vividly when you know you have strong roots.
I also do not want you to become stingy or idolize money for more than it is. Money is just another means to an end, pure and simple. Although, there is nothing pure, nor simple when money is involved.
"The urge to show off is less strong with people who feel good about themselves. The experimenters found that simply writing a short essay describing a moment when the person did something she or was proud of reduced the demand for platinum cards." - Good Economics for Hard Times: Better Answers to Our Biggest Problems by Abhijit V. Banerjee, Esther Duflo
Do not chase brands. The world is already far too full of ego. It is more ethical to try to remember the country of fabrication than the brand name of your things (and make future purchases accordingly).
"There is a vicious cycle, with people who feel economically vulnerable being particularly eager to demonstrate their worth through useless purchases they can ill-afford, and an industry all too ready to provide these services for a handsome fee."
Finally, remember that chance, Louis Pasteur once remarked, favors the prepared mind.
Previously published on my blog.
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