While at work, I see first-hand the impact of thoughtful personal finance. It’s given me a lot to think about, and I’m working hard to find ways to save at the grocery store, through buying in bulk, and in repairing rather than replacing. I’ve used the extra money to get ahead on a new series of car payments. After six months, we’ve taken almost $15 a month off the minimum amount due!
A lot of what I’ve read lately, however, is focused on the impact of energy use and the environment. Those stories are everywhere in light of the oil spill in the Gulf, but I’d been focused on my energy use for a while.
Maybe that’s why this article about the money you can save by saving energy caught my eye.
Do you know where your money is?
I spent the past week starting training at a financial services company. Most of the 30-plus people going through training will be performing some version of customer service, and comprise a cross section of the area. The training began with an overview of the industry, and one of the interesting parts of the training was watching the questions that were asked of the trainers.
I remember being taught how to figure interest while in high school math. Reflecting on my memories, I remember the senior seminar teacher was much more concerned with teaching us how to write checks and balance and checkbook. Beyond teaching us where to sign our names, write the date, and how to make out a check, the focus on personal finance lessons in my school was an emphatic dictum to read everything in a mortgage agreement carefully. That may not have been much of a waste – high school students may not be ready to really learn personal finance.
It’s scary to realize how many people struggled to figure out how to compute interest. I was surprised that there were both younger people and older people who didn’t seem to understand the concept. It made me wonder what people actually know about personal finance. I turned to the Internet and spent a few minutes searching Google and Bing to see what turned up. I was looking for a study that showed how much people know about personal finance. Maybe I was using the wrong keywords, but the closest that I came were the studies that show that people aren’t saving enough money for retirement. (I wanted personal finance studies – you won’t have enough money to spend at an age that you may never reach stories. I believe it’s important to save for retirement, I just think it’s difficult to understand what standard of living I’ll expect, what my living situation will be, and what will happen with tax rates, inflation rates, etc.
More interesting was the people who offered their personal finances to the world on their blogs. It’s an interesting idea, but one I don’t expect to do. Perhaps I’ll keep reading their blogs for an idea of what people in the world know about the money they spend and save.
Image is Creative Commons licensed content from Flick’s borman818.
One of my grad school classes this semester is focused on leadership. We’ve talked about the ways that leaders act and communicate, and we’ve covered some of the best-practices to build and demonstrate leadership.
We’re reading and reviewing The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner for the assignment that’s due next week. The book is very outline heavy: It has a five-part framework; each part has two practices; each practice has two focuses. Each practice has three action steps… You get the idea.
I was glancing through some of the underlined and starred passages today while getting ready for the project. One of the highlighted sentences stuck in my head and connected to a running conversation I’ve had with a few people. “If work comes to be seen solely as a source of money and never as a source of fulfillment, organizations will totally ignore other human needs at work….” The authors go on to mention all sorts of needs they see – self-worth, learning, pride, service, etc.
Yikes! I hope nobody derives their self-worth solely from their career. That’s a sign of an unhealthy work-life balance. I spend more time at work than I do on anything else in a week. I hope to always have a job that’s stimulating. I hope I take it upon myself to learn and to volunteer without being told by a boss though. That’s just something you do to excel – just like busting your butt for your employer.