There's this horrible radio commercial that basically goes like this:
"Graduates! Now that you're out in the real world, it's time to reward yourself by investing in high tech gadgets!"
My eyebrows shot through the roof when I heard that insipid piece and was all set to tear it apart with a stinging blogpost and lecture on the importance of financial responsibility at a young age, when I suddenly remembered how I was at that age.
When I graduated from college, I took a year off before starting law school and during that time, my work involved driving my nephew to school and teaching part time at my old high school's adult night high program. The stipend I received for teaching then went towards my mall habit.
Fast forward five years later when I had my first job out of law school, my salary as a law firm slave went towards my mall habit.
Notice how financially responsible I was back then?
This was part of my "poor student" mindset, where I felt the need to make up for all those years where I subsisted on an allowance, and when I finally had cash to burn, promptly burned it with pomp and pageantry. Oh the joy of having a new pair of shoes every month!
Thankfully, my parents stepped in and gave me a car....that I had to pay for myself, so all that wanton spending had to stop. And eventually, the thrill of acquiring stuff lost its appeal.
I learned and appreciated frugality and living simply because I went through a "galit sa pera" period. I experienced maxing out my credit cards and had to scrimp, save and go all out creative in wiping out my credit card debts in less than a year. I did it and the lessons I learned from doing that were immense and will never be forgotten.
Really, there's nothing like being in the trenches yourself to permanently sear a lesson in your head.
So dear graduates, go ahead and "invest" in a gadget that will go obsolete in a New York minute. And when you're tired of mindless accumulation, act like a responsible adult and take the necessary steps to educate yourself on personal finance and financial responsibility.
Jeez. I sound like such a thunders in saying that:P