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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pay Yourself First

One of the best lessons I learned from my financial journey is how to pay myself first. Well, actually, to be more accurate, it's "pay back to God" first by tithing, then myself second. But for the purpose of this post -- let's talk about setting aside and not touching our earnings for our savings and investments first, then live on what's left of our income for our other expenses. As opposed to spending our hard-earned money paying our bills and buying stuff, then saving what's left of it (if there is something left that is).

Why It's Important to Pay Yourself First

I was taught at a young age that I should not be selfish and greedy. Being the eldest, I learned how to share and be generous with what I have and to put the needs of others first before my own. It comes naturally to let other people pass before me; stop what I'm doing to be of assistance; and to put aside what I want if it means not being a burden to other people. I didn't see anything wrong with it, in fact, this characteristic of mine is often praised by others.

As I grew older, I felt that I have allowed myself to be available and generous for everyone but myself. As much as I highly treasured my friends and family, I have nothing to give myself but cutting words that hurts too deep. I spent so much time in making sure that I please everyone, but I failed to spend time making myself feel good. Ultimately, it brought me to a breaking point and I found myself lost and drained of life.

Now, I am making it a point to be generous with myself and not feel guilty with prioritizing myself first. I learned that when I invest in making myself feel good, this translates to my outside world as well. My relationship with other people is much richer and fuller now than my half-assed attempts before. In the end, everyone benefits. 

The Concept of Paying Yourself First

"Paying yourself first" means that when you receive your salaries, you allocate a certain percentage to your savings and investments first, and make sure that you do not use this money for any other expenses other than what you have saved it for -- your future self.

Let's say your goal in saving money is to have an Emergency Fund. Then one day, the latest iPhone 5 was launched and you wanted to buy one. However, you found yourself short of cash and you've used up all your credit card limit. Even if you are itching to touch your savings -- DON'T. Stop eyeing your savings and just put off buying that iPhone 5, until you have the money to buy one, because purchasing this latest gadget is not an emergency but a luxury. You have to remind yourself that the reason why you're saving is because you want to have a cushion for yourself for emergencies such as job loss or illness.

Ultimately, this is what paying yourself first means for me. You give priority to what you value most in your life. You invest in your needs first, not wants.

A Paradigm Shift

Moreover, paying ourselves first doesn't only benefit us but others as well. In my experience, paying myself first caused a paradigm shift in me that translates and affects my way of living. And I believe that this can also happen to those who practice paying themselves first.

Financial Security. Safety and security is the second basic needs of human beings, according to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. When we have savings, we have something for rainy days. There is a sense of security that even if an unforeseen event strikes -- like losing a job or someone in your family needs medical care -- you know you have savings to fall back on. This sense of financial security lessens our anxiety and helps us have a more positive over-all feeling.

Abundance Mindset. As we see our savings grow, we have a concrete visual of abundance in our lives. As we are continually exposed to this financial abundance, our focus is being shifted from lack to abundance. The Law of the Universe says that "the more we focus on a particular idea or thought, then we will attract more of this idea or thought". This means that the more we focus on abundance, the more abundance we will attract in our lives -- not only financially but in all areas of our lives as well.

Natural Giving. When you pay yourself first, what you are really practicing is generosity. Although you are starting to be generous towards yourself at first, as this becomes a habit, you will find yourself being more generous towards other people as well. It's just the joy and the fulfillment in giving that will move us into becoming natural givers, I believe. And for me, this is the most rewarding of all because I am able to be a blessing for others as much as I am blessed.

These are just some of the paradigm shifts that I have experienced by practicing paying myself first. I'm sure there are others more. If you are already practicing this, I would love to hear how paying yourself first changed your life! =)

On my next post, I will share with you the methods I use in paying myself first.

Praying for your happiness,

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Page Launched: Lessons from My Financial Journey

16 October 2010 -- In my "How to be Financially Free: Introduction" post, I have made a rather daring proclamation that I will achieve financial freedom in the near future. I also declared in that post that I will chronicle this journey in my "How to be Financially Free" series.

A "how-to" series seems a little daunting because it kinda gives off the impression that this will be an instructional series. That I have some sort of expertise on the matter, in which others could follow and expect to succeed.

I don't really consider myself as a teacher and I definitely don't have the expertise to teach anyone just yet. With this, I came up with a more appropriate title for this series of mine -- Lessons from My Financial Journey. I believe that this captures more accurately my purpose for writing this series (and really my purpose for this blog). I wanted to share my stories and journeys in hopes that through my sharing, others will be blessed. That they can take away something from my personal stories and apply into their lives as they see fit.

To be Free!

"Lessons from My Financial Journey" is where I share my own personal journey towards financial freedom. Here is where I hope to share what I have learned from books, mentors, articles, and most importantly, from being a member of the Truly Rich Club. Here is where I will share the steps I have taken, am taking, and will be taking as I embark on my journey to being financially free.

My hope and prayer is that as you read my posts in this series, you will also be moved to start your own journey towards financial freedom. For you, I pray a life free of debts; a life free of financial worries; a life free of financial limitations. For you, I pray a life full of generosity and charity; a life full of giving; a life full of blessings received and blessings shared. Amen!

Now on to the posts! ;)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Visiting My Sacred Ruins

"I want to die….I’ve always known I am a good-for-nothing person…I really should have killed myself a long time ago…I am just a burden to my parents, to my friends, to my family…I cannot offer anything to anyone…This world is better without me in it…Not that my existence now matters…

I just don’t know what to do anymore…It’s seems like every time I try to get back up, something will happen that makes me stumble again and again and again…It just gets tiring…They say this world is fit for survivors…What if I am not just a survivor, then? Should I just…"

~ tight ~

While I am searching for a document on my electronic files, I came across some past compositions of mine. I can't believe how dark most of them are, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Writing has always been an outlet of mine, especially during the darkest years of my life. What I should be amazed of is the fact that by God's grace, I am very much alive and grateful to be alive right now.

About 6 years ago, I decided that I will finally choose to live my life to the fullest. I chose to be re-born and live this second life of mine following God's will. I had high hopes and great optimism during the first year of my second life. However, as the days go by and reality kicks in, I found myself falling into a fit of despondency and self-doubt again . I asked myself if it's worth it to go through the ups and downs of everyday living...To one day feel good about myself and feel positive about life, and then go through the pain again whenever I feel inadequate for failing to do something. But praise God for His love, mercy, and providence! Thank God that because He is a God of many chances and infinite patience, I am able to start my life over and over and over again, as many times as I choose to.

My Blue Bird of Happiness

Now, I am very grateful that I did not give up from the many set-backs that I've encountered so far in my second life. If I had, I would have never realized my purpose in life and I would have deprived myself and the world from the blessings and joy of living my life purpose!

Yes -- you've read it right. Finally! After long years of searching, I now realize why I am here on earth. Now I understand why they say that it's easy to know what our purpose in life is -- that you just have to look at your passions and potentials to know. When I realized what my purpose is, I cried and laughed like crazy because what I've been desperately searching for is something already innate in me but have failed to acknowledge.

Whenever I look back and remember what I've gone through in life so far, I am so amazed to see how the events and people in my life fit perfectly in this jigsaw puzzle of my life. They have helped me become the person I am today and to prepare me when I finally answer God's specific calling in my life (whatever that is). Suddenly, it all makes sense. Before, I only know and just say that there is a reason for certain things to happen and that in time, they will serve their purpose. But now, I understand this in my heart and my faith in God's perfect planning and design strengthened.

In a few months, I am about to start the next chapter in my life. I am about to embark on a new journey that follows the path of my purpose in life. I am very excited and I can't wait to the many blessings that will surely come my way. But more importantly, I am looking forward to being a blessing to others by living out and fulfilling my life purpose!

My Prayer for You

My prayer for you today is that I hope that you will be able to discern your purpose in life. May God bless you with the spirit of courage so that you'll be able to answer His call and bless the world by living out your life purpose. When you look back into your past -- both the good and the bad -- may you see these events as your sacred ruins that have served its purpose to who you are today and who you will become in the future. In Jesus' mighty name, Amen.

Praying for your happiness,

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