ABOUT 11 months ago, I wrote a piece on how I shared the habit of savings with a friend’s son who had just started working.
I had worked out a suggestion and plan for him to save 10% of his gross pay monthly.
I told him that if he had the discipline to do so, every month, for a period of years, he would be able to gain some measure of financial freedom — especially if he was also able to invest his savings wisely.
Unfortunately, the chap, whom I met recently, was not able to do so. By his own admission of the failure, he said he started out well for a few months but he lost the momentum to save.
His plan for financial freedom got derailed by purchases he deemed important at the time, but which he now saw as unnecessary.
Among the items he regretted buying included a second-hand foldable bike which he thought he would use to cycle to work but did not. The contraption had been sitting in his store-room since and gathering dust.
He was also thinking of selling it now. However, he promised me that he would start saving again in 2016 — which is just hours away.
When that story was published, I remember some readers responded positively to it and said they would give it a try.
Some said it could not be done because of a host of seemingly logical reasons. If you are one of those who had successfully kept 10% of your gross pay, and had done so religiously, despite the temptations and challenges, I will congratulate you.
By now, you would have an equivalent of about 1.2 months’ salary, earning fixed deposit in your bank, or invested somewhere to earn even more in passive income.
Should your employers not give you any bonus this year due to bad times, at least you now have that amount of cash in hand for any financial contingency that often presents itself with the new year.
However, if you had not saved a single sen, due to whatever reason, then you will have to start praying that there will be no expenses outside which you had budgeted for when the year begins.
Otherwise, there will be another worry to shoulder, apart from the economic gloom already hovering around us.
The point I am making here is that 2015 is as good as gone, as did the same 365 days of years past.
In the same number of days allocated to us, and to others around us, did we make good use of it or let it slip through our fingers?
In many ways, I have always treated time like cash — how many of us are actually bothered about our “spending habits” until we run out of either?
I am sure you will remember the many occasions this year when you had spent money on unnecessary stuff or had given your time to petty people and trivial matters, which did not bring any good to you or the lives of people around you.
If you look back at the things you could have done the past year, I am sure there had been opportunities to better yourself or improve the welfare of your dependents.
Some of these opportunities were missed because you were not there when they presented themselves.
Others you overlook with regret because you did not have the skills or financial means to grab them. Either way, hopefully, you will not let the same trap catch you twice and be wiser on hindsight, so to speak.
When I was much younger, it was customary for me and my peers to meet up on the eve of each new year to take stock of what we had achieved that year and what we wanted to accomplish in the following.
Each of us would present a list of five things that mattered most to us and what we were going to do to achieve them.
At the end of the year, we would gather again to take stock.
However, over a short couple of years, the resolution-making sessions ended up in empty banter because most of the things we wanted to accomplish were not achieved because we did not aim reasonably well enough or simply did not have the discipline or stamina to go the distance to achieve them.
Finally, we decided it was better to give up making resolutions altogether. We knew then that if we wanted to do anything, it had to be now — not tomorrow. Or, next year.
Happy New Year!