2017 RFN Scholarship Winner

“What Does Financial Responsibility Mean to You?” By Sharyn Tomm

Senior year has opened my eyes to the need for financial responsibility. As I have applied to various colleges, I have seen the immense amount of money that is required to complete a degree. Just seeing the total amount has helped me to realize the necessity of managing my finances with a different perspective.

I started saving up babysitting, Christmas, and birthday money since I was young. Saving my money has given me flexibility in my spending and giving. I believe that it is essential to have savings on hand to pay for emergency expenses, whether that be spending money to fix a household item, car, or unexpected medical expense. I believe that it is essential for a financially responsible person to save up extra money as a safety net if an unexpected event occurs. I have also seen the importance of balancing and following a budget in order to stay out of debt. Financial responsibility requires a person to be able to manage and appropriately disperse their money in a way that guarantees the payment of expected expenses with a margin to include the unexpected. Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. I think that in finances, if a person neglects to plan out their money to cover their expected and unexpected payments, they will be more likely to accumulate debt from their lack of planning. Planning and budgeting is a critical aspect of financial responsibility that I plan to devise and implement when I start my career. Being content, delaying purchases, and placing money aside for essential purchases has helped to realize the vital role that budgeting can play in my life.

Investing is another necessary aspect of financial responsibility. While it is beneficial to budget, the investment of money doesn’t simply put money aside, but helps it to grow with interest. Investing is a pro-active way to plan ahead for many of life’s financially draining expenses. Saving money in separate accounts for college or retirement can save money later in life that would have been spent on loans. I also believe that diversification while investing can keep one’s money safe-guarded against failure in stocks, bonds, or various annuities. Although you can never predict the financial fluctuations of life, it is prudent and responsible to disperse money through various investments that will compound interest over the decades.

I believe that financial responsibility hinges on hard work. I think that it is essential for a person to work hard to not only earn money from a career, but to also work diligently to effectively manage a budget for that money. When in college, it is necessary for me to work my hardest and strive to get good grades in order to make the best use of the money I am putting forth. Financial responsibility does not exist without hard work.

By budgeting my money, creating emergency funds for unexpected payments, avoiding debt, investing money for future expenses, and working hard in what I do, I can use my financial responsibility to give back to the community around me. Through my current service in my community, I can utilize my growing financial responsibility to give my money and time back by serving those around me.

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