Financially speaking

Jam of the week: “Upside Downslide” by Dorian Concept

As I’ve grown, I’ve overcome a number of primal fears. I no longer lie in bed with my eyes wide open after particularly scary shows about ghosts. I can lean just over the railings in the observation deck of Willis Tower, which most people still know as Sears Tower, with Ferris Bueller-like bravery. I’m not afraid to use only two examples to prove a point in a column.

One fear that has grown as I age is one that others have as well. I am terrible with dealing with finances. While I only had to worry about saving money to see a movie or buy copious amounts of energy drinks in high school, it became more important and more daunting as I went through college.

With odd jobs financing some of my living expenses through college, I found myself afraid to even look at my bank statements. I wasn’t wasting money left and right, but I was certainly not forward with using my money as wisely as I could have. Of course, there was no logic in that fear. I’m sure I expelled more sweat worrying about my money than I would have if I just took a proactive stance on my finances.

Coming out of college and living on my own forced me to deal with my financial ineptitude. Once I had the income that I knew I could deal with food and bills, I sat down and took a few hours to budget out my income and how much money I could spend and save each month. It was very liberating and it was certainly much easier than I expected. I’m sure any math teacher I had could have knocked me over the head and told me the same thing long ago.

While I got over that fear and immediate problem, I now worry about saving money. I’ve had plenty of family members, teachers and other people wiser than I tell me that saving at this point in my life is much more important than down the line. I understand how interest works, but I still find it hard to find the money to save at this point.

Saving might be something I have to put off a little while until I have the money for it, but I know now that I need to be proactive about my money. I often put things in the Lifestyles section that I would like to go to but don’t have the time for. The smart investing class at the Kendall Young Library is one that I will make time for.

The class has an orientation session on Jan. 31 at 6:30 p.m. at the library and offers online coursework through February to March 6, with a wrap-up session on March 7. I can’t even remember the name of the class I had to take in high school, which was basically a home economics class, that taught me about finances. I think that shows about how much I retained that knowledge. However, I don’t blame the teacher, I blame myself for not taking it more seriously and taking that information to heart.

I owe it to myself to be proactive on this front. Not only because I think the living room television set is old enough that I call it a television set, but because the sooner I learn about how to invest well, the sooner it will pay off.