Learn to Pay Yourself first
One of the key reasons to learn to pay yourself first is that you are worth it. After working long and hard for the money, why give it all away with nothing left for yourself? If you sit down and look at how your income gets spent, hardly anything comes to you. You may feel you bought yourself that phone, but hold on a minute and really look at that transaction. Which direction did the money go? Towards you or the store owner?
It reminds me of the funny but sad story I heard from Bishop Desmond Tutu about the white men that first came to South Africa. According to Tutu, “When they came we had the land while they had the Bible. They said close your eyes let us pray. By the time we opened our eyes, we had the Bible while they had the land”.
Learn to Pay Yourself First
Paying yourself first does not come naturally. It is a habit we have to cultivate consciously. Take a second look at all your monthly financial transactions. Which one does the money remain with you? What is the direction of cash flow in your life? Is it one way traffic? Salary in, expenses out and nothing remains or returns. Seriously think about it, can one get rich this way, always giving all your money away? Imagine more money comes in, and all leave the same way, are you better off? You just have a pile of things, stuff that are here today, gone tomorrow.
Are we allergic to money? I mean cold liquid cash, those bits of colorful paper with heads of past presidents and heroes on them. Why do we hate those pieces of paper so much. We routinely empty our salary and savings account and give everything away. Why can’t we hold on to some a little bit longer and put it to work for us. Most of us hate our jobs, and when those employees come to work for us, we send them away to bring us stuff, stuff that does not move us an inch towards our dreams and goals.
We are to love, honor and give to God first and foremost. Next in line is us. Why do we move ourselves to the bottom of the line, giving to others first with nothing left for us? We are to love others as we love ourselves. If we place ourselves at the bottom, how then can we truly love others. If we do not esteem ourselves, how can we esteem others from a position of low self esteem? Can you truly give what you don’t have?
Most of the giving we do weakens the recipients, much like foreign aid to Africa in times past. We dole out fish instead of teaching others how to fish. How can we teach others how to fish we cannot fish ourselves. If all you know if how to work for money, the only advice you can offer someone is to go get a job. Where are the jobs? How sustainable is always bailing out a friend with money for rent, school fees etc? What happens when the next one becomes due? Another bail out? When you turn to a ‘Bail Out Bureau’, can you sustain it? Are you making the recipient stronger or weaker?
When you honor yourself by paying yourself first, you grow stronger financially and your self esteem grows. Few things beat the feeling of progressing consistently towards your goals. As you set and achieve goals, you become emboldened to set bigger goals and achieve them. You become unstoppable. Your word has weight because you have integrity. When you say something, it is done. It is only a matter of time. When you get to this place, you have the power to live your life on your own terms. You are worth it, more than worth it. Not only for you, but also for those that stand to benefit when you take your place.
He also writes for Punch AM Business, Leadership & Lifestyle and Today’s Lifeline magazines.