Brittney's Personal Finance JourneySubmitted by Blue Mountain Investment Management LLC on September 30th, 2020
Hafa Adai means Hello in my native language which is Chamorro. My name is Brittney Nia Hamilton and I was born and raised on the beautiful island of Saipan located in the Mariana Islands. If you are still lost, just pick up your phone and type "Mariana Islands," I am sure you would find my tiny home. I am a senior at Eastern Oregon University and will be graduating with my Business Marketing & Economics degree.
I am the oldest in my family of six. The significance of graduating from college is that I will be the first generation to do so. My mother is my main support throughout my life and is also the breadwinner of the household. She is a branch manager for Bank of Hawaii (located in Saipan). Being the prime example of success in my family, I had to work hard to achieve my goals in order to make everyone proud. My teenage years provided me a lot of experience dealing with money. I have gone through many financial struggles that are relatable to most teens/young adults who are also going through a tough time. Hopefully learning more about my financial story will help you make the right decisions.
The fact that I had the opportunity to learn about money management at such a young age is great. I could remember my first time buying a piggy bank and the excitement I had once I got it. The idea of putting money into it and seeing how heavy it was getting was fun (even though it was just pennies and a few quarters). I ended up filling bottles due to having not enough space in my piggy bank. At one point, I forgot about my savings and at the ending of my fourth grade year I made up to $60 just on loose change.
Once I got to middle school, my mother actually made me open up a savings account to transfer my money into a safer place. I was well disciplined by my mom to start saving money due to her experience working at the bank and having financial obligations that she needed to keep up with.
Realizing The Problem
Although I knew the value of saving, the inner teenager in me wanted to buy things that my age group were attracted to such as clothes, stickers, shoes, makeup, food, etc. Even throughout my high school years, I actually lost track on saving and started to spend more often. I worked as a cultural dancer part-time at night and during the day I had school. I usually would blow my paycheck on things that I just enjoyed at the moment (usually on food or more clothes). I was eager for paydays because that meant I had my own money to spend instead of asking my parents for money.
I realized in my senior year of high school that I needed to start saving again because of college. My first initial thought was there is no way I could save as much before I left Saipan to move out to the U.S. And due to my actions beforehand, I am struggling with financial problems in college--not as intense but I had to take out loans to cover my debt. Although my parents are supporting me, they are only giving me a minimal amount and the rest I have to earn myself. I knew at some point in my life that I had a spending problem and I am not ashamed to admit it.
New Outlook On Personal Finance
I can confidently say that high school was a roller coaster of just being a teen and with that comes poor decisions. To me, high school is the time where teens only live in the moment without looking ahead of what are the possible outcomes due to their actions. Now, as a 22-year old senior who is graduating not from high school but college, I learned how to spend my money more wisely. Knowing exactly what needs to be prioritized first, I actually set myself up towards an efficient savings routine. Yes, I still live how my age group should-- meaning I still go out occasionally and go on mini trips that are well budgeted. However, I take responsibility when managing my money (how it is being used and saved). Due to my actions before, I know that after college I will be paying student loans and reinventing myself in terms of new ways to handle future stress that may come from paying back those loans or to new ideas on how to save more money as I grow older.
Take it from me, there is no better way to build your ideal goals and dreams than to forecast ahead of time what that may look to you and how money can play a huge role in it. Thinking now about how I used to act, I do regret it at a certain extent, however, the learning process and taking those lessons and turning them into the vision I have for myself today, is something I do not regret.