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One paycheck, six people: What payday really means

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A paycheck is more than just the dollars and cents it stands for. A paycheck represents something bigger – all the hopes, dreams, and hard work that are tied up in it. And at the end of the week it can be a little slice of magic.

Money means freedom. The freedom to eat what you want, travel to where you want and make purchasing decisions based on your own wants and needs.

We spoke to six people across the country to learn what a paycheck means to them, and received some surprising answers along the way.

Khalilah

37-year-old business author, entrepreneur, and part-time driver for a ride-sharing service in New Jersey

If we could only choose one word to describe Khalilah, itd be this: hustler. While working a fulltime job to grow her career as a business author, speaker, and entrepreneur, she puts in extra hours with a ride-sharing company. The paycheck she earns from her second job is what she uses to fund her dream.

What makes your paycheck important?

The money that I earn is very important because it provides an opportunity to grow my business. I earn money as driver and I use the money that I make to pay for marketing and to pay for business coaching. I also work a full time job and the money that I earn is very significant because it is funding my future. I look at my employer as my investor.

Tweety

21-year-old student and freelance fashion/beauty journalist in Philadelphia

Her status as a junior in college (and a self-identified Millennial) doesnt stop this fashion and beauty journalist from getting a jumpstart on her career. For Tweety, earning a paycheck is a pathway to her dreams.

What do you do to earn your paycheck?

I earn my money as a freelance writer and graphic designer. Every paycheck that I earn means a great deal to me. It means that I can accomplish the goals that I set for myself whether it is weekly, monthly or yearly.

What do you spend your paycheck on?

I pay my bills, I put money away and then I spend a few bucks to enjoy a little shopping at my favorite boutiques. I work hard for my money and I refuse to hand it all away. I created a budget to get through the week, I save money and invest I make my money work for me. As a Millennial adult, I have to take my finances seriously in order to take care of my future family and my parents.

I learned from my parents that every penny counts, so spend it wisely. I have seen too many of my Millennial friends spend their cash on items that won’t make it to the next trend and end up broke and borrowing from their parents. I refuse to let that be me!

What does a paycheck signify for you?

A paycheck is a job well done. I work very hard for my check and I know that I deserve every penny that I receive. I’m able to pay my bills and save money for my future plans. A paycheck means being in control of your resources and your life. When you are in control of your finances you can make any vision that you have come to reality.

AJ

30-year-old tutoring company owner in Houston

As a self-made business owner, AJ knows that the harder he works at growing his tutoring company, the bigger his paycheck will be and the more he can reinvest in his dreams.

What does your paycheck mean to you?

The paycheck is extremely significant to me because it is the growth of the company. When the company grows, I am able to be rewarded with pride so that paycheck means a lot to me. It signifies all the hard work I have accomplished and the success of my business.

How do you spend your paycheck?

I give myself a paycheck every month based on company income. When the company grows, I use half of the paycheck for entertainment with friends and save the rest in a savings account.

Anne

31-year-old copywriter in New York City

Making a paycheck is synonymous with freedom for Anne, who enjoys all the choices that come with cashing in on what shes earned. It means being able to do more, see more, and spend on things that are important to her.

What does a paycheck mean to you?

Choices and freedom. It means the ability to eat what I want and wear what I want and still remember to work towards goals I need to save up for.

What do you do to earn your paycheck?

Work! Show up on time and do my best. Serve as a resource when necessary.

What do you spend your paycheck on?

Mostly food. Sometimes fun. A lot of trips and gifts. I’m at a point in my life when many people are getting married and having kids, so a lot goes towards celebrating those choices.

What does the phrase “the power of a paycheck” mean to you?

I’ve always thought that the point of money is to make life easier, or at least more comfortable. The “power of the paycheck” is the ability to choose your comfort level. Cabs, direct flights, food delivery, your living situation a paycheck is what lets you order from that menu. Because there are so many pre-tax deductions now, too, the paycheck is what’s left over after taxes and savings have already been accounted for, so by the time that cash reaches me, it’s all mine. It’s my ticket to the world.

Marie

25-year-old freelance publicist and writer in New Jersey

Marie learned at a young age the value of work. From running a lemonade stand as a child and hiring her first employee at age 11 to taking on her first real job in her teen years, the value of a paycheck has shifted and changed with time.

What was your view of money when you first started working?

When I was in my teen years, I got my first real job and didn’t understand the value of money. A paycheck was just to get the things I wanted and to make me feel better about myself. It was a way to compensate for my insecurities and I never saved a dime.

When I was in college, a paycheck was still to get the things I wanted and needed, but the things had to have meaning. For example: experiences, travel, concerts, books, etc. At one time, I was working four jobs, going to school and doing a fashion internship. Still, I didn’t understand the value of a paycheck, and never saved until it finally hit me that I had nothing to show for it.

What does a paycheck mean to you now?

Being self-employed and working part-time, a paycheck and money to me is a tool. A tool to obtain things that will benefit my ultimate goals like happiness, personal development, and future financial security for myself and family.

A paycheck is a tool that should have some return on investment. This ROI is the things I can’t live without, for personal development (ex. skills) or the things that will move me toward my definition of success and benefit my happiness, my future financial goals, and the people I care about.

What do you spend your paycheck on?

Short Answer: Rent, Food, Experiences, Travel and Self-Care. Long Answer: I spend my paycheck on things in the following categories: non-negotiables, negotiables and misc. The non-negotiables would be things like rent, savings/investments, and food/water – can’t survive without those. The negotiables would be massages, muay thai lessons or a trip to the nail salon – these negotiable things I can eliminate or find inexpensive or free alternatives. Misc, is unexpected purchases, but fall under non-negotiables or negotiables.

Mike

24-year-old Marketing Director in Denver

For Mike, the greatest satisfaction about cashing his paycheck each month is that its completely self-made. In business just four months, the marketing agency he owns with a friend is the freedom to pave his own way.

What do you do to earn your paycheck?

I own and operate my own business, a digital marketing agency based out of Denver. I am an entrepreneur through and through. Every week of 60+ hours of work leads to that one paycheck so we can see exactly how productive our work has been over the course of the last month. This paycheck normally goes back into the business to continue the growth and expansion of our startup.

What does a paycheck signify for you?

A paycheck represents my success in my business. Because I started my own business from literally nothing, every dollar that I am able to pay myself is worth more than gold. The ability to be self-sufficient with a job and being able to pay myself is such a complete sense of happiness because I know that I made it happen.

Originally found athttp://mashable.com/