I am not a worrier by nature. Shit happens. Move on. Deal with it.
I am also not the best when it comes to managing money. Sometimes I save. Sometimes I spend. I know where my weakness is – a fabulous meal with great wine. I pay for that.
I am also not one to force my advice on others. I have opinions. Oh yes, I have opinions – very strong opinions in fact. But they are mine. I know that. I know that I’m not always right.
So what is it that keeps eating at me, making me want to save my friends from their mismanagement of money? Why do I feel the need to pick them up by the ears, give them a good shaking, and direct them to the nearest bank, investment, or coffee can?
Perhaps it’s the aging process. As I age, I realize that I have not saved enough for a rainy day. I have not saved enough for my retirement. I have not saved enough should I become very ill. And that is without having to save for a child and a child’s education. I don’t know how people do that!
So please forgive me if I seem cheap to you. I just don’t do 16TL beers, 60TL dinners unless it’s a special occasion, 30TL dinners just because . . . especially when it’s not good. I would rather save the money for something I want or need.
I worry. But, I have yet to stick my toe out there, wiggle across the line of friendship, and tell others what to do with their money. So I worry instead. Things are different here. Maybe I don’t need to worry?
Nah. Things are different here, true. But that actually brings up additional points for both Turks and foreigners to worry about.
Let’s take a look at Turks first. Let’s say you are applying for a job and you happen to be a 40-year-old woman with two children. Good luck to you. Your photo and age are expected on your resume. You will be asked about children in your interview. You will likely take it as an interest in your family. It is. It is an interest in how often you will not be at work because of your family.
While Turkey is becoming a very modern country by leaps and bounds, there are still a lot of hurdles to face, ones that the U.S. and most European countries faced long ago.
And now, the foreigners. My assessment of foreigners here is that since they are usually making more money than their Turkish counterparts, they believe they are making a lot of money. It’s so not true. For one thing, a foreigner usually travels overseas more often than the average Turk. The travel takes money. And then you spend money while you are away at higher and faster rates.
In addition, there is always the chance that a foreigner will move back to their homeland. So while you may not need much now, you may need much more one day soon. Cars, houses, schools. They don’t come cheaply.
These are things foreigners need to consider when looking at income vs. expenses. Just because the salary is good here, doesn’t mean you can have a great living without forfeiting something else.
I have heard many here say that 2000 TL is a good monthly salary and that 3000 TL is a great salary. I couldn’t disagree more. A great salary is when you have enough that you don’t have to think about what happens next year if you are unable to work for that year. While many things are cheaper here in Turkey, other things are not. Cars are not. Gasoline is the highest in the world. Housing is not extremely cheap and buying a home is very difficult to do considering the very different mortgage process here.
A 2000 TL salary is good when you have no one else to care for, you already own a home, your home will never need any major repairs, and you have no worries about future health issues. I know many women who consider this a great salary because it is fully theirs to spend. Their husbands take care of everything else.
So that brings me to the big one – relying on a spouse for the basics. It’s a good gig if you can get it. And as much as we love our partners, beware. They are not always perfect. Spouses sometimes do things they shouldn’t. Spouses will sometimes, even leave you. Be safe. Be sure. Follow your instincts. Protect yourself.
So, if you are a friend of mine, male or female, young or old . . .
If you are not a friend, but have similar worries . . .
Heck, if you are reading this .. .
Take a piece of advice from me. Save a penny. Put it in the bank. Find a good investment. Buy a piece of land. Put it in a coffee can an bury it in the back yard. In Turkey we have a great option, buy a gold coin every month. If you are in a situation where your spouse provides everything, I don’t judge you. But do try to find a side gig, if for just a little freedom of not having to ask for spending money all of the time.
Remember that big coin jar you used to have? Seemed like millions of pennies right? Well, I have news for you. A million dollars is only a hundred million pennies.
And a million dollars doesn’t buy much.