20 April 2024

Have you secured your oxygen mask?


Imagine you're on an airplane, and the flight attendant begins the safety demonstration. Among the instructions, they emphasize the importance of securing your oxygen mask before helping others with theirs. This simple guideline carries a profound lesson applicable beyond air travel—it's also a great metaphor for prioritising your financial health before indulging in non-essential expenses.

Much like ensuring your own well-being before helping others during an emergency, managing your finances responsibly sets a strong foundation for long-term stability and financial well-being.

Here’s how prioritising financial management mirrors putting on your oxygen mask.

  1. Self-Preservation:
    Securing your oxygen mask assists you to maintain consciousness and functionality in times of risk and uncertainty. Managing your personal finances with a well balanced budget or plan that includes consistently building your savings and controlling or minimizing your debt exposure, ensures your financial well-being in times of risk and uncertainty.
  2. Clarity and Focus:
    Wearing your mask clears your mind to focus on assisting others. Similarly, effective personal money management provides the clarity and peace of mind needed to navigate unexpected expenses or redirecting of money to other areas when situations warrant it.

  3. Surviving extreme situations:
    Putting on your mask gives you the oxygen you need until the pilot can get the plane to an altitude where you can breathe without it. Likewise, a well-managed budget and financial plan provides a safety net, helping you get through extreme situations like medical emergencies, incapacity to earn an income for a period of time or worse.

  4. Influences responsible behaviour:
    When you live a life of prioritising your finances, you set an example for others of what is helping you succeed, much like how demonstrating the oxygen mask procedure for passengers helps them understand the benefits to them if they follow the instructions. This has the potential to influence family members, friends, workmates and others in your life to also adopt healthy financial habits.

  5. Assistance to others:
    Just as securing your mask allows you to assist others without compromising your own safety, managing your finances responsibly ensures you can meet any expenses of supporting others or funding things you think you need to do that are right now most likely seated in a sense of obligation rather than necessity.


The Importance of Financial Prioritisation

Prioritising financial management before spending on unnecessary items is not about going without but rather about creating for yourself a solid foundation for both financial freedom and security. Here are some key benefits of this approach:

  1. Financial Stability:
    Budgeting and managing finances wisely creates stability for your finances, reducing stress and uncertainty with how much money you have or where it needs to go.

  2. Debt Reduction:
    Prioritising the continual management of your finances will often lead to better opportunities to tackling debts strategically and reduce the amount of debt you have which in turn can save you significant money in interest.

  3. Wealth Building:
    By saving and investing wisely, you build wealth over time. This opens doors for a more comfortable retirement, potential homeownership, funding education for yourself or your children, and other long-term goals.

  4. Emergency Management:
    A well-managed budget includes provisions for emergencies, ensuring you have resources to handle unexpected expenses without resorting to high-interest loans or increasing your mortgage and adding years to your indebtedness.

  5. Peace of Mind:
    Knowing you have control on your finances brings peace of mind and allows you to then turn your focus to other aspects of life without the constant financial stress.


In Summary

If you are not prioritising financial management and budgeting before indulging in unnecessary expenses, it’s like ignoring the importance of securing your own oxygen mask before assisting others.

On a plane, people matter but to help them you need to be positioned to do so effectively and you can’t do that if you run out of oxygen.

In life stuff matters too, the nice holiday, the eating out with friends, the gifts you want too lavish on those important to you but if you give all your attention to these things first at the expenses of not having your finances in order, it’s only a matter of time before these distractions suck the life and its opportunities out of you.  

By adopting this mindset, you not only help safeguard your own financial well-being but also better position yourself to fund the other things in life that bring satisfaction and enjoyment without the stress or risk of your bank account and resources running dry.

Maybe today’s a good day to look at whether your oxygen mask is securely fitted.