My friends and family rarely call and ask what I'm up to these days.
That's because they know one of two things, either I'm in route to work or I'm just getting off of work and heading to the next gig. I'm met with gasps if they hear that I have an actual off day. There's no denying that I'm a workaholic. I work a little over 60 hours a week. This originated when I wanted to pay off all of my debt: student loans, car note, credit cards. Once I reached that goal, I didn't stop working the long hours. Why?
The truth was that I was scared to stop.
Financial stability and maturity is a good thing. It comes with the territory of adulting, but not everyone was taught how to save for a rainy day and retirement. Luckily, I was. Once I was debt free, I was scared to spend large amounts of money. Yes, I was conscious of every dollar that went out of my account, but I was reluctant to casually reward myself. Before I knew it, I was operating in terms of merely saving everything just in case something happened.
I was afraid not to hustle.
Always being on the hustle is glorified. People brag about not getting sleep. But let's be honest, not getting adequate sleep only leads to exhaustion and poor health. There's a thing called balance and many of us lack it. Even more, how do we balance a healthy ratio to hustling and making the most of our time to enjoy life?
For me, I had to get to the root of the problem. As a single woman, all bills are solely on me. There is no splitting the rent, cable bill, utilities, etc. The talks of social security being scarcely available when it's time for me to retire frightened me. A backup plan was mandatory. It was my goal to not have to live paycheck to paycheck if I didn't have to. And the recent government shutdown only increased that anxiety. But my proactive thinking slowly snowballed into reactive thinking. Would any number in my bank account be enough for me to feel comfortable?
Slowly but Surely, I've Learned the Following:
1. Make a financial plan. Pay attention to what you make, what you spend, and what you plan to save for the future. Creating an excel sheet of your expenses can help with this. Learn to live below your means not at nor above them.
2. Make healthy career choices. Most of us have taken jobs that we wouldn't have considered to be our dream job, but we had to pay the bills. It probably didn't pay nearly what we are worth, hence hustling doing several jobs to make up for it. When looking for employment, look for something fulfilling as well as something that can financially sustain you. Don't be afraid to negotiate salary when you know what you can offer.
3. Don't compare your hustle. There will always be someone that has more than you. You can let it be an inspiration for you to work harder at your financial goal, but stay in your own lane. Just because they sell bundles doesn't mean you need to as well.
4. Be realistic. Yes, you will want to go on vacation or enjoy time with friends, family, and your significant other. It's important to save, but put money aside for leisure activities.
5. Educate yourself. There are ways to make money in your sleep. Educate yourself on stocks and investments. Seek out financial planning books and workshops at your local library or online.
As I continue to hustle, I am learning to balance my time more effectively. Valuing myself and my well-being comes before the hustle now.
There are days and even weeks to hustle hard, but at some point you must enjoy the fruits of your labor.
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