What Will You Do?
Here we are again… another year over, just like that! Honestly it does not feel like it has been 365+ days since I wrote this Happy You Year blog post. Reviewing this post helped me put things into perspective with regards to how far I have come.
What did I do? In a nutshell, I found strength in reading, writing, sharing, listening, showing up when my body did not feel like it but my mind felt like it. I found strength in challenges, being present, not having my way, through the good, bad and ugly.
It is challenging to reflect over a year back without something to guide us. I remember when I looked at my 2016 W-2 and could not understand it. I graduated in August of 2015 and started working by April 2016 as an Occupational Therapist (for those who may not have read my intro post). When I went to file my taxes in February 2017, I was informed that I may have to pay the state. It felt like I blanked out for a few seconds, then when I returned to reality, I blinked back tears.
I wasn’t actively saving then, so I could not understand where the amount reflected on my W-2 had gone to. Neither could I understand how I took out $X amount of money in school loans, was in school from 2006 to 2015, saw how much got deducted bi-weekly from my paycheck only to possibly have to pay the state back??? Simply because I was in a certain tax bracket, filing single with no dependent. So, I get penalized for being an educated citizen? Only to hear/read stories of people claiming $x,000 amount in tax return? Yes, I was comparing! Comparing because I needed to understand what I was missing.
What will I do? Someone asked me recently; On Sunday Dec 30th 2018 to be precise, “what will you do differently this year?” Well I had not thought about that because I interpreted it to mean “what is your new year’s resolution?” which was not the intent of the question. So after clarification and understanding, I pondered for a few minutes and said, “be more present in the moment.” I went further to explain in relation to growing spiritually, interpersonally, financially and healthwise as those are my recurring areas of improvement. A few days later, on January 2nd 2019, I came across this article! It turns out that Oprah Winfrey commits to being present in the moment instead of setting new year’s resolutions. I was elated to find that out, especially because she inspires me.
What will you do?! Anyone thinking about financial management?! Yup, Me!!! So back to my tax filing experience in February 2017... I couldn’t return the borrowed school loan nor the degree unfortunately. Definitely not the knowledge even if I tried. I couldn’t go back in time to do certain things differently. I left the office feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in self-pity. I however allowed myself to feel my feelings rather than wish it away as that is where the quest for knowledge and self-growth begins. Our most memorable lesson comes from our most challenging experiences.“The expected keeps us steady. The unexpected changes our lives”~ Shonda Rhimes
From that experience, I was driven to read/learn more about taxes. Prior to this experience, all was steady because I expected a tax refund but the unexpected happened... I very well could have sought a second opinion but I did not want to go to someone else without getting some basic understanding. I did not want a situation where I got a tax return only to be audited and be in trouble. The last thing I wanted is to be on the IRS’s radar.
After that experience, applying the basic financial strategies I mentioned in the Happy You Year blog post mentioned above got me to a good start and took me through 2017. For 2018, in addition to the multiple articles I read about financial management, the following enhanced my knowledge in a significant way; the SitMpodcast interviews with Sakinah Tillman and Xavier Epps
Then came the book that pulled my brain apart and rearranged it in a different way. Yes, I could not end without mentioning a book! Wink! Is there a blog post I have written without mentioning a book?! (thinking out loud!) This book had been on my to read list for a while. Probably since 2017 but I had been postponing it because reading books about financial management is just too overwhelming. Too much information to understand and sometimes contradictory. That’s why I resulted to short online articles which provided basic information.
The book is Rich Dad Poor Dadby Robert Kiyosaki. I probably would still have been postponing reading this book if not for the book club; Beyond The Book , which I joined towards the end of last year. Discussing/sharing ideas about our understanding/perspectives and experiences in relation to this book was very enriching/enlightening.
Some highlights that stood out to me in this book include:
“Build your assets of which your MIND is your greatest and most expensive asset... Great opportunities are seen with our mind not our eyes... An untrained mind can create poverty and crush a family for generations to come. If it is trained well, it can create enormous wealth seemingly instantaneously” How can I vs I can’t
“Mind your own business … Working overtime or getting a second job doesn’t necessarily solve money problems. It is a liability unless you are using the additional income to build your assets.”
“Learn to welcome change by saying ‘how can I versus I can’t…’Ask, how can I use this change/situation to my advantage rather than complain. Asking ‘how can I…?’, opens our mind, meanwhile complaining closes our mind. Work to learn, don’t work for money nor work to earn. Make money work for you. Develop financial intelligence.”
“You are one additional skill away from great wealth... You should know a little about a lot... What you know is your greatest wealth. What you don’t know is your greatest risk.” The chapter on the history of taxes was really eye opening. It gave me a different understanding on how I now look at my paycheck. Thanks to this book, I have a different understanding about money/numbers.
What will you do this year? First, I’ll recommend reading this book if you haven’t or rereading it before this year runs out. In addition to that… have this conversation, ask yourself this question and or better still ask someone. Share your ideas, you just might inspire someone or be inspired by reading/listening to someone else's!