Nathaniel Tomm, Redwood Financial Network’s 2016 Scholarship Winner
“What does financial responsibility mean to you?” by Nathaniel Tomm
Managing and earning my own money has taught me a lot about financial responsibility. By learning these skills early, it also gave me an environment more forgiving to mistakes that I may make. To me financial responsibility consists of several elements. The primary elements consist of the decisions made in the present and the plans made for the future. The things done and decisions made in the present can have huge impacts on future events; however it is also very important to carefully plan for that future, both things that are expected and things that are unexpected.
Financial responsibility in the present covers a variety of different things. For me this consists of things such as having a part time job in the grocery department of Heinen’s to have an income. It also consists of putting away a set amount in a higher interest savings account so that I can make interest off that money. It is also important to make smart decisions when spending money. By having a budget I can, over time, set aside the amount I want to spend on something in order to purchase it while still maintaining other financial obligations such as bills and savings. Another part of financial responsibility in the present is looking for and applying for scholarships in order to subsidize the cost of college. Making smart financial decisions in the present sets me up for future success.
Making smart financial decisions in present is not the only aspect to financial responsibility. It is equally important to plan for the future. In the fall I will be headed off to college at Ohio State University. I plan to major in biology and after
graduating going on to medical school. I know this will be a major financial undertaking but by planning I can minimize the financial burden felt from it. This including things like researching and looking into a variety of loans and financial options. Another aspect of financial preparation for the future that shows financial responsibility includes building credit. Having a credit card and paying it off on time builds a good credit score which can help secure future credit cards and loans. A further element of responsibility in planning is an emergency fund. Unknown and unplanned for events can come up that require money. This can include things such as a car repair, medical tests, or similar expenses. If operating on a budget with slim to no margin, an unexpected event can throw everything out of balance. However, by planning for the unexpected and setting aside a certain amount of money only to be used in such a situation, it allows me to be prepared for things that are not easily planned for.
Starting with small amounts of money from early high school and working up to larger amounts from my part time job junior and senior year gave me the chance to learn important financial skills. These skills help me reach my goals in life while managing my finances intelligently.