I'll preface this by saying that prior to watching Itaewon Class, I have a very different idea on what investments and financial priorities mean. I've always saved my hard-earned money for fashion pieces that I consider—yep, you guessed it—"smart investments." Of course, with my "fashion first" kind of thinking, I've always tried to justify these purchases. "It's expected of me dress well at work," I would often convince myself as I load my shopping cart. But given the pandemic right now (and after watching 16 episodes of Itaewon Class), I am forced to rethink my priorities.
Below are five practical money lessons that I am sure to apply to my life right away:
1. Save money.
This is probably the most hard-hitting lesson that's practically ingrained in my brain now. Especially with the pandemic that's going on, this rings true even louder. Whether or not you have a revenge plan in place, saving your bucks for a rainy day should be on top of your list when you join the working force.
How to do it: When your monthly salary rolls in, deduct your daily allowance and monthly living expenses first. You can choose to save the rest or further divide your liquid assets into different ventures. (Perhaps you can follow Park Saeroyi's footsteps and open a pub or a cafe later on in life! Who knows?) This way, you'd have enough funds to invest in your dreams or to cushion you when the going gets tough.
2. Get insurance.
I've heard my mom lecture me over and over again about getting one, but it's only after watching Itaewon Class (sorry, mom!) that I have come to realize what they're for and what they can do. Just like the unprecedented accident that suddenly took the life of Saeroyi's dad, you'll never know when tragedy will strike. It's best that you have an insurance plan that could possibly help you get back on your feet or to benefit those people who rely on you.
How to do it: There are many kinds of insurance policies you can acquire. It's best to review your lifestyle and goals to have better insight when you decide which insurance you'll need to invest in.
3. Learn how to invest in stocks.
Park Saeroyi had big dreams. But given his background, he knew he wouldn't be able to earn money that will be enough to realize his 15-year plan. And so, he further diversified his assets by investing in stocks. While it might seem intimidating, it's worth the time to learn! Just take a look at how Saeroyi was able to (realistically) grow his money without working himself to exhaustion.
How to do it: Research, study, and play it safe (at first). The stock market is a very volatile field to play in. So, lest you want to lose your hard-earned money in a blink, learn the ropes first. Don't gamble big bucks in the hopes of gaining more money without studying it. If you're not confident enough to do it on your own, heed our #4 advice!
4. Consult with a fund manager.
Park Saeroyi knows that while he is a determined and an industrious man, his knowledge on money matters is limited. Thus, he employed the help of Lee Ho Jin, a young fund manager, to help him manage his finances better. With the guidance of an erudite person in this field, Saeroyi was able to manage his money better and invest his earnings in worthwhile businesses (a.k.a. Jangga Company).
How to do it: The easiest way to have a fund manager is through your bank or insurance company!
5. Set financial priorities.
One of the most surprising twists in this K-drama was the bus scene where Park Saeroyi made a grand gesture of love to Oh Soo Ah by investing 1.9 billion Korean won into Jangga Company. It's interesting for two reasons: 1) Wow, his investments eight years ago made him a billionaire; and 2) OMG, he's rich?!
This revelation is astonishing because despite having lots of money, he didn't actually flaunt it via material things. What's more, Saeroyi had set goals and priorities far ahead in the future and was disciplined enough to stick to it. He didn't indulge himself with wants until he was able to achieve these goals. If you've noticed, Saeroyi only invested in properties (like DanBam's building) when it's really needed and allowed himself to have small luxuries in life (like a car) when his business went global.
How to do it: Take time to evaluate your long-term goals in life. Ask yourself: In five, 10, or even 15 years, what do you hope to achieve? When you've figured it out, set realistic financial plans and priorities to help you reach your dreams. It's not easy and it's definitely not instanteneous but know that it's never too late for you to have a working financial plan!