By Jerry Roker for Bahamas Press
It is a fact that the salaries of our public service workers, particularly teachers, the police and nurses, are not comparable to the workload they carry. This makes living difficult for them, who like everyone else, have bills to pay — rent, in most cases to finance, because so many are struggling to afford homes of their own; and they have children, whom they need to nurture with what little they receive. Therefore, there are many public service workers who borrow to supplement their incomes.
As a result, some of them develop a habit of borrowing, which leaves them saddled with debt to the point where their net pay is zero dollars. Instead, it is financially prudent for them to develop a discipline of frugally managing their finances, despite the size.
Wealth is a discipline, not something only a few people are born into, as we often seem to think. It takes focus and stick-to-itiveness to harness wealth, and many people who earn less than you do have achieved it.
It is not always bad to borrow, however, credit should be used to invest only in assets that will provide a return at some point; or can be liquidated to repay the debt.
Borrowing to supplement your income is not a sustainable measure, and it will lead to an uncontrollable habit that will result in very negative outcomes for you in the long term.
Instead, look at ways in which you can expand your income by using your talents and skills to earn more from, for example, engaging in private tutoring for teachers, and care-giving for nurses.
There are so many ways in which you can earn, if you just spend a little more time to think about it.
You should start the journey to wealth creation by adopting and vigorously applying the 80/20 rule in the management of your salaries.
The rule calls for people to: Save 10 per cent of their income; tithe or give 10 per cent to charity; and use the remaining 80 per cent to meet their obligations and other expenses. Begin by paying yourself first. Set aside your 10 per cent in savings, prior to doing anything else, so that you don’t even have to consider using it. Put it into an account to which you have very limited access, so that it becomes inconvenient for you to touch those funds.
Consider channelling that 10 per cent into a fixed, long-term savings account at any deposit-taking institution, such as a bank or credit union. Choosing an instrument that provides maximum returns, would be good.
To get the most out of your income, you will also need to sharpen your financial eyesight and acumen. Read more financial literature to raise your consciousness about money management.
Take the time to explore prices and shop where you can get bargains, or consider alternatives for goods that won’t cost as much but will provide the same function, taste and quality. You should live within your means, no matter how much money you think you have. Don’t try to fit into other people’s lifestyles.
It is extremely important to have life and health insurance to protect against sudden life challenges, which can impact on wealth.
While it is beneficial to have a credit card, it must be managed wisely to avoid exacerbating debt.
There is no point in getting a card that provides travel miles if you don’t travel very often. Use a credit card with a limit and rate you can manage, which helps to build your credit worthiness. A credit card, if you stop to think about it, is really a free loan if you use it wisely. It must be serviced on time, and not used to purchase items which you could not pay for, if only cash was available.
Once you achieve financial stability, you should consider raising your level of investment, real estate is one good option.
As your financial position improves, move on to thinking about ways in which you can invest your money. Not in a new car, or any other depreciating asset, but in some real estate — whether a piece of land or house — or perhaps stocks and bonds. In other words, consider only assets that will provide you with a yield, or other assets, which will grow in value over time.