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Start Right: Money Matters For Young Working Adults

by Helmy Sa'at

The world is in constant turmoil. Uncertainties plague almost every aspect of life. The worry is real. Inflation. Stagflation. Depression. All these financial and economic terms been bandied around yet most would be at a loss in understanding the meanings, much less realise the direct and indirect implications on daily living. Simple: The point is costs of living are going up, up and up, affecting everyone.

Slipping money out of a wallet.

Still, there are things worthy of celebrations. Congratulations on landing a job! And, receiving that first pay cheque.

However, what is next? Young working adults are experiencing the financial squeeze brought upon by waves of economic instability. Checked! Add student loan to the equation and the road to financial independence seems to be out of reach. Checked! Alas, young working adults in large numbers all over the world have turned to investing as a way to alleviate their situations. Is this really the answer? The wise answer? And, the only solution moving forward?

Start Right: You Are Worth It!

A man doing his financial calculations.

Let’s return to basics and build strong fundamentals when it comes to money habits and relationships.

Before jumping onto the investments bandwagon that has its own set of complexities to grapple with (another headache!), choose to take a step back for a moment. Let’s return to basics and build strong fundamentals when it comes to money habits and relationships.

With so many avenues to shop online, there is a tendency and risk to fall into the instant gratification abyss, that adrenaline rush of spending on lists of needs and wants. Mostly wants to be frank, guided by feelings of wanting to appear successful to others through superficial measures of a human’s worth by tangible social achievements and material gains, both literally and symbolically.

We tend to forget, pay ourselves first. Yes, we have earned that salary yet avoid indulging in hasty spending decisions in order to fulfil temporal wants by trying to preserve a certain facade with the aim of impressing others. We deserve and need to have resources in the form of savings instead of immediately spending our monthly wage on unnecessary material things and other people. Let’s keep in mind: Your intentions and actions will define how you present and practise in front of Allah and the people around you.

Plastic Is Not Risk-free

There are a myriad of credit cards to choose from. Plastic has been proven to not be safe for the environment and it is just as harmful to our financial trajectory in life. Yes, it is convenient and safe, especially when travelling overseas. Yet, accumulated spending on top of compounded interests translate into real world repercussions, including financial ruin, for the long-term. Hands up if you are considering or have already signed up for a few. Good news. It is not too late.

Shelf the nuanced debate on the halal-ness (permissible) and haram (forbidden), opinions with contrary conclusions as the variables are just too many to decide in black and white. Thus, save it for another day by shifting to the immediate concern, which is to take control of our finances, avoiding debts as much as possible, by knowing where our money goes.

A Muslim woman calculating her monthly finances.

Reassess priorities by not being fooled into signing up for multiple credit cards based on the (promised) rewards or freebies attached. Consciously choose to pay with debit card instead. Simply spend what we have within reason. Make purchases if only we could afford it.

Furthermore, as global and technologically savvy Muslims, we have other essential obligations such as paying zakat, sadaqah and muwasaat. Financial planning, first and foremost, comes with Allah in mind. Not on the bottom of the list.

Tomorrow Is Not Guaranteed

A visual graphic depicting money matters.

Do not wait to learn from mistakes, your own or others. The key is to be kind to yourself as the road to complete financial literacy is complex and ever evolving. And, the road to financial independence arduous, but not impossible.

The bottomline is keep learning with an open heart and mind while being prepared to alter some of our established ways of thinking and doing things when it comes to money.

The choice is in our hands. Start right today!