I Remember Breaking Past The $10,000 Savings Mark
Published 1/14/08 (Modified 3/8/11)
I've had numerous financial milestones in my life, but one still seems to stand out in my relatively young working life. From the time I eventually emerged from under my parent's financial wing to finally working and fending for myself, I still remember when I finally saved and banked that first $10,000. Everything else accumulated after that just seems to pale in significance to that first ten grand.
Crossing the $10,000 Milestone Signified the Mature Transition From Paycheck Living To A Forward Looking, Savings Oriented Lifestyle
During college, I was financially spoiled and completely under my parent's financial protection. Whenever I was low on funds I simply received a parental handout. But as time passed, the funds began to dwindle as my parents started to reinforce the importance of keeping spending habits in check. At the time, my spoiled mentality prevented me from realizing that my parent's growing refusal to give in to all my financial demands was due to their desire to teach me the importance of frugal living. At the time, I was childishly bitter when my handout demands were rejected. Looking back though, I now feel very lucky and grateful to have had parents who had the love and care to teach me important life lessons I would need in the future, as well as the financial means to help partially subsidize my education.
When I graduated and started working for the first time I began to face the harsh financial realities of the real world. My first legal job was a low paying judicial clerk position I took on for resume building purposes. I had always naively thought saving money was a piece of cake and never realized until I started working just how big of a bite Uncle Sam took out of my bi-weekly paychecks through federal, state, and social security taxes. The taxes methodically dwindled my already paltry take home pay down next to nothing.
Starting out, saving money was tremendously difficult and I floundered many times, crossing in and out of credit card debt to keep afloat. I still remember moments when I took on 0% APR balance transfer offers for a few months to make ends meet. Perhaps not necessarily the wisest of approaches but I quickly paid off the credit card principals on my own with some limited assistance from my parents.
It was tough but I longed for the day when I could finally break the magical $10,000 savings mark. At that time I didn't have much of a financial plan, but I knew I wanted to save at least that much. To me, having that tangible and symbolic amount of money at my disposal represented accomplishment and security - at least enough to live on for a few months if all else failed. Eventually I reigned in my irresponsible spending habits, and confidently stormed past that $10,000 milestone. I know it's probably not all that much for most people today, but it was a tremendous confidence booster that set the tone for the rest of my financial future. With that in the bank, I was able to move on up to better housing and away from the crime, roaches, and rats prevalent in the area where I lived and went to school.
Lots Of Important Financial and Life Lessons Learned
Now, several years have passed since I crossed over the symbolic $10,000 mark and I'm still looking to meet many more financial objectives. We all need to set financial goals and checkpoints in our lives. Remember, even those who have a lot of money had to start somewhere. I've come to greatly appreciate every cent I've saved since then and not just because it's money, but because it shows that I've worked hard and practiced fiscal responsibility, centered around a more frugal lifestyle. Cutting the financial umbilical cord was the best thing that ever happened to me. It forced me to mature and prepare for that day down the road when I myself would need to financially take charge of my own family and pass on my financial experience to my own kids.