Valuable Realizations About Money Of 25-Year Old Gay Man
This year I just turned 25 years old. It was something I am both happy and sad to think of. I am happy because I already reached a stage I can consider the “silver year” of my life (well if in case that I will reach the age of 50) and sad because this age seems to be the age that all my immature alibis can no longer be tolerated because I am a full-fledged adult–in terms of numbers. But turning 25 is different not because I am lagging behind the pack in the corporate world, not because I am not yet losing weight for the longest time, not because I still don’t have a car, or not because I am not yet even able to finish my graduate studies. But because I am 25 and I am gay.
Yes, it’s different turning this age when our straight counterparts are already having family and raising their kids while I have the liberty to better myself and my financial capacity. After all, the money that I earn only goes to my pocket and later on onto some things that will merit me a deeper worth in our society.
Since I have started working here in Manila after graduation, I have noticed how my priorities in life have transitioned from futile things to things that make my other priorities vain in a sense. I can still remember how I have been so excited getting my first salary when I was 21 and spent those on clothes and enrolled in law school. When I was 22, I remembered booking a vacation trip to Boracay and other destinations I haven’t been into yet. At 23, I got my postpaid plans in Globe and had my credit card and splurged on online shopping. At 24, got loans for my mom not once but twice. And now at 25, getting quite problematic on the debts accumulated in my credit cards and the lasting impression that I want to avoid every time I tell my mom that I can’t send money to her on my payday because I needed to pay off something first. So basically, life has been quite knotty with me with the things I have done incorrectly and immaturely for the last couple of years.
Even how and what I search online has already changed. My younger 20s was spent mostly on gay porn sites and looking for deals that I can buy using my credit card while my phone is filled with dating apps and games that I use to kill off time. But now I always catch myself reading blogs online like how to pay off credit cards, how to save, and the like. I barely even have the time to check the unique features of my new phone because I only use it as a calculator every pay day and download free audio books like Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” that I later on deleted because it actually made me face realities of my finances making me sadder with what I’ve done.
Nevertheless just like any mistakes that are not too late to correct, I am assessing myself right and I am trying to rectify the things that are within my reach. So here are the simple ways that I am currently doing and the things I will be doing as a gay man in facing managing my money.
1) Pay off debt
This is perhaps the number one most important step that I can do in managing my finances. This is both applicable for straight or gay people. No one is an exception. I have used my credit cards in the worst possible way. I looked at it as a goldmine of endless possibilities while not thinking that, just like miners, I can be trapped in the trail going there. And it really made sense that in the process of saving, we cannot save if part of our income only serves as payment for the interest of the bad debts that we have accumulated over the years. One lesson that we must also stick with: never spend money before you have earned it.
2) Good debt vs. Bad debt
I wouldn’t come clean. I am, in one way or another, not financially literate. One of my Chinese friends told me that we Pinoys are so “bobo” (dumb) when it comes to money. I was kind of hurt at first, but the truth is, we are. I mean, our parents might not be able to provide us the lessons that we need in terms of money when we were young. We were just told to earn our college degree for us to be able to find a high-paying job. And that’s it! Even in school, there are no concrete subjects that would give us the know-hows about financial literacy. And I have learned about good debt and bad debt the hard way. Just take how I use my credit card as an example. Let me first say that credit card is not something bad. But we make the evil out of it when we use it in a wrong way. When I used my credit card, I bought things that are just satisfying my whims–my short-term whims. But never did I think of the whims that can really help me in the long run. On the other hand, there are the good debts. Good debts might include are higher education, real estate, start-up business, and investment. But for us millennials, especially gay men, our good debts can be attributed to loans to pay off debt to start anew, our health, and the investment that we can give ourselves especially in adding market value in an obviously gay-friendly and the tolerant Philippines. I know that some of these are not yet proven and tested, but it is worth the try.
3) Getting to know your HIV status
The old adage “health is wealth” has been overly used since time immemorial. But this is definitely true not just for our parents on the dawn of their lives but also for us young adults who have the power to make ourselves ember in life’s scorching sunrise. As a gay man, it is very important that we look for our health especially being known as the “kings of sex.” Please don’t get me wrong but we (majority if I must say) have an easier access to sex compared to our straight counterparts because of the dating apps that we use like Grindr and the consensus that we often get from other gay men because we don’t think of unlikely circumstances like getting pregnant or having kids in an early age or by accident. But what we should be wary about is the rise of HIV among MSM (males having sex with males). Would you believe that in September alone, there are 692 news cases of HIV in the Philippines? While abstaining from sex is far-fetched on our case, we must do away with risky behaviors that can lead us to acquire the disease. There are even free HIV testing sites like LoveYourself Inc. that we can go to for free HIV screening. After all, getting to know your status is the first step in combating HIV and knowing one’s status, whether reactive or non-reactive, is the key in living a quality life as a gay man.
4) When you’re 20, love conquers all, when you’re 30, a good credit score does
Our generation is known as the “generation y.” A generation that epitomizes the term ‘digital natives’. We have grown up in the world where we are surrounded by technology, technology that has developed at a faster rate than ever before. Thus, most of us have definitely are subscribed or are planning to subscribe to a postpaid plan to keep up with the demands of our “digital needs” apart from other things. And I often hear some of my friends getting plans from different telecoms and just run away with the phones with them. I mean, we know how some of these telcos are giving us services that are misleading and are not as described. I, too, experienced this with one of the telcos that I have been with for more than 6 years. But tainting our names with just the latest gadget and not paying for it will cost us our credit rating. And by the way, it’s a pain in the neck receiving demand letters from telcos about your obligations for them. So one better option to do is to choose a service provider that can satisfy your needs and budget and terminate your contract with a graceful exit, as they say.
5) Make use of your talent and weekends to earn
One of the characteristics of gay men is being creative. And our creativity is something that sets us apart from our straight counterparts. More so, we work twice as hard as them because we live in a society where we need to prove ourselves more not just be tagged as “salot sa lipunan” because of our sexual orientation and gender identity. In this regard, we can actually make use of our talents and our free time in earning more. On my part, I have a steady income in my full-time work in a global financial firm. I also earn outside being a pro hair and makeup artist for my friends. Add up the blogging gigs that I am getting with my gay-themed website focusing on the purchasing peso of the LGBT community. The list is endless and is on a case to case basis. If you love photography, then go on for it. Be a freelance writer. Or go on with fashion. It only boils down with the interest that you have. Besides, most of us do not have kids to look after on weekends, right?
Turning 25 is the full realization of being an adult. But circumstances, like financial literacy, will also prove our immaturity. However, the good thing about turning on this age is knowing that we have the power to correct things moving forward. And as a gay man, there is more than I can think of in making myself more aware not just in coming out from the closet but indeed getting the elusive pot of gold in every rainbow’s end. You, too, can also find yours.
Valuable Realizations About Money Of 25-Year Old Gay Man
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