Financial Literacy: Paving the Way to Financial FreedomEmployee Journals
We all have to start somewhere and more often than not, we all start small.
My name is Danielle, but most people in RareJob call me Dani, and I have been working for RareJob for more than 5 years now – in fact, I had my 5th year anniversary in July of this year. I started out as an evaluator in the Applicant Evaluation Team – evaluators decide if a tutor passes or fails their application interview to be a RareJob tutor. However, I’m glad that my superiors helped me realize that my strengths lay in coaching and helping current and would-be tutors meet their potential. After several years as a coach for Onboarding Team 1, I am now a coach in the Skills Development Team. In our team, we help tutors improve their teaching skills by conducting practice lessons, and creating informational materials and online courses.
As a holder of an Education degree, and as a Coach, I believe that learning is important, and the knowledge that is most important for people to have is financial literacy. Everyone should be financially literate because we all handle money every day; since it’s a necessity, having financial freedom would definitely lessen stress. Whether you open that shopping app on your phone for a bit of online shopping, pay those dreaded monthly bills, or even just put one coin into a piggy bank, there’s money involved.
To be honest, my journey into financial literacy has probably been easier than most. I am lucky and blessed enough that even though I am already working, I still live in my parents’ house. This means that for the first few years of having my own money, my earnings were just to help a little with the household expenses, and the rest – a healthy majority of it – was simply used for leisure.
But because I do not live in a vacuum, time passed and I met different people in RareJob who were more responsible in the handling of their money than I was. It was not instantaneous but after a few hours of thinking in the middle of the night, I came to a few hard realizations. First, with every day that passed, I wasn’t getting any younger. Next was that as much as they loved me, my parents deserve to eventually retire, and that meant they couldn’t and shouldn’t support me forever. Lastly, and perhaps this is the most important point, I was thirsty. Thirsty to find a me who could stand on her own two feet. So, as scary and daunting a task as it was, I knew that it was time to start ‘adulting.’
Before adulthood, we were kids, and as kids, our minds would focus on that one thing we wanted, whether it was the latest game or the trendiest toy only the cool kids had. It was easy enough to save the allowance we got from our parents (and wait for Christmas for our ninongs and ninangs to give us ‘pamasko’!) and then use that money to get what we want. But that is a very childish mindset to have. Yes, we can still set money aside to save up for something we really want to buy, but that shouldn’t be the end all and be all of money handling.
As an adult, it is important to understand the value of investment. To all of us, this is a scary word that brings up images of men and women with serious looks on their faces while looking at incomprehensible graphs and numbers on their computer screens. But if the pandemic has taught me anything, it pays to be prepared, and making an investment simply means putting money into something that can help with the future. I want to be ready to help my parents with any needs and emergencies like medical bills, or when I eventually have a family of my own, I want to be able to do as my parents had done for me and give any children I might have a comfortable life, and be able to send them to school.
I started out by reading books and articles to get over the scary hurdle of understanding being an adult who could handle money. Next, I attended seminars and, in fact, am glad that I work for a company like RareJob, which has enough care and consideration for their employees to invite guest speakers and host something as educational as a Financial Literacy Week. While I would not say that I was wholly ignorant about money matters, I was surely able to learn more on how to not just work for money, but how to make my money work for me.
But, it was also important for me that investment would not be boring or intimidating. My need to be able to stand on my own two feet and to handle money matters is because of my drive to have my own business. While RareJob is my bread and butter, my passion lies in developing my baking skills. A business partner and I are running an online bakeshop which I consider an investment in upping my skills. I make cookies, cakes, pies, and many more. I’ve burned some cookies, messed up the measurement of the ingredients now and again, but every step, whether they’ve been successes or failures, has taught me one thing – I can keep moving forward. Apart from that learning experience, baking helps me earn extra, it keeps me sane in the midst of this pandemic, and as an extra treat, I have easy access to freshly baked goods.
Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t and still isn’t easy. I had to do a lot of research; there were nights I barely had any sleep when I had to finish a big order, and I had to make hard decisions between playing my favorite game or practicing baking instead. What really helped is that my business partner, who is an HRM graduate, shared with me a lot of practical knowledge. So now, even though I did not learn all the business and culinary terms in university, I at least know how to learn. I taught myself how to bake and my partner helped me finalize recipes. And for the first time, I had to learn to budget! It was important to keep in mind the cost of the resources like the ingredients, packaging, utility, and even labor. Thankfully, I am blessed to be surrounded by friends and family who support and believe in me.
And, as luck would have it, I, too, am blessed to work for a company that supports and believes in its employees as well. This year, my business was featured in RareJob’s Halloween event and I, along with other small business owners, was able to promote my business. It was a great platform for me and I was also inspired by the hard work and dedication of my co-employees in RareJob. I even joined the Halloween treats contest where I made cookies with eye decorations. That was a perfect melding of two of my favorite things – Halloween and sweet treats. But the treats contest was just the first of many fun activities during that event. There was a costume contest for adults and even one for the adorable kids, a caption contest, and a fun video making contest. And for those who didn’t join any contests, the chance to win items in a raffle! Even though I didn’t end up winning there, the fun and exposure were enough of a victory for me.
We all have to start somewhere and more often than not, we all start small. The help we receive from those around us is important and inherently valuable, but the most important thing to remember is we have to help ourselves first. I have invested in stocks, tools, and I’ve even tried NFTs, but the most important investment I’ve made is on myself. I’ve learned that investing in yourself is the best form of investment because you can educate yourself, learn a new skill, or polish an existing one. And the best part of such an investment is that it’s something that you can take with you for the rest of your life. After all, no one can steal your skills from you. Just remember that it’s never too late to start investing. As the saying goes, the best time to start investing was yesterday, but the second-best time is now. So seize the opportunity and start the journey to be the best you, you can be!
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