Well, firstly, this will be my third time writing in. Your advice has really helped me figure out a few things and while my life is taking an unexpected direction I'm starting to look forward to a fresh start. However, I find myself in the position of needing advice from someone older; someone who doesn't have a stake in my life and has been through the process of establishing themselves, if that makes any sense?
In my last letter I was mentioning family problems; I was very heavily financially tied to my family for far too long and when my mom and stepdad decided to split it was a total halt to my life as I knew it.
They got together again, but I took some time to really think about my situation and decided it was time to change things. I've been working for the family business since I was in high school and I've lived in a rental property of theirs for almost as long. While they've reconciled, they've decided to stop the business, sell the properties and retire. That's fine by me; it gave me the motivation to figure out how to get out of this situation for good.
I think I've made a major step towards that goal. I applied for a bunch of different jobs. I decided to shoot for the stars and figure out where I would land. I didn't hit the stars, but I feel like I hit the moon. A few days ago I accepted a job offer in a field that I am very much interested in. This could quite easily turn into a very nice career; my foot is in the door and it's my time to show the world what I'm made of. Between better hours and pay, I'm going to be making roughly twice what I used to.
I'm not saying that to brag. I'm saying that because this means one thing to me: independence. I'll be able to afford a decent place without taking on roommates. I'll be able to quickly pay off the debts I owe without any serious fuss. I can finally free myself of worrying about whatever happens to my family dragging me around the country. The shocking part is that I managed to do this all myself, with no inside contacts. I'm nervous about this, but I'm also excited.
Sorry for the big lead-in, but I have one huge question. How does one go about establishing themself? I'm going from living on my folks' coattails to being able to live independently and comfortably on my own. I already know I need to watch my expenses and not blow money needlessly; as it stands I have everything I need materially and most of what I want. I've unexpectedly found a major source of personal stability, so what now? What next? What can I do with this newfound freedom? I've never had this kind of stability before at pretty much any time of my life, so I'm completely confused as to what I can do with it. I'm scared to death but also very excited. What can I do to make a new life out of this?
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Glad I have helped you some in the past :-3 Papabear is very proud of you for finding you can not only be successful but actually flourish after breaking away from being dependency upon you family. Good for you! You also appear to have a mature appreciation for the value of work and money, so doubly good for you :-)
The first thing you do in your newfound situation is create a budget of income and expenses, and take at least part of the money left over each month and start a retirement/rainy day fund. It’s never too early to plan for retirement, and definitely not too early to plan for an emergency such as losing your job (try to set aside at least 6 months’ salary for that particular contingency). Also, if your employer is not providing medical benefits, search for a reasonable medical plan with not too high of a deductible. Hopefully, once Obamacare starts to kick in next year, that will become an easier process. It probably would not be a bad idea, especially because of your inexperience, to make an appointment with a financial planner to advise you on the above.
If you like this new job and want to turn it into a career, then the thing to do is work very hard to excel at your job. Hopefully, there is opportunity for promotion, and you can continue to work toward better and better jobs. Also, don’t rest on your laurels. If there is opportunity for furthering your education or just getting more training of any kind in your field, do so. And never believe that your company will always be there for you. It could be bought out or go out of business without notice, so always have a plan in the back of your mind as to what to do should that happen.
Okay, so, that is all the practical stuff. Now for the stuff that is more fun :-)
Up until this point in your life, your worry has always been things like having enough money to get by and just survive. Now that you are finding yourself in a more comfortable position, take some time to think about the things that really matter to you. Do you wish to marry and raise a family? How about your spiritual life? Any artistic or inventive ambitions in your life? The good thing about money is that, when you have enough of it, you can start broadening yourself as a human being. It’s no longer a question of “Will I have enough to eat tonight?” but “What path should I take to have a spiritually and emotionally satisfying life?”
Ask yourself these questions and listen to what your heart says in reply. Then see what you can do to fulfill your heart’s wishes.
Congratulations! Good Luck! and Blessed Be!
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