It’s not difficult to grasp the value and pleasure money can bring to our lives. We need money to cover our basic needs. Money allows us to take nice vacations, send our children to high-quality daycare or hire household help so that we can be freed to pursue other interests and hobbies. The list goes on and on.

James Glattfelder’s groundbreaking study of how control flows through the global economy, and how concentration of power in the hands of a shockingly small number (about 700) leaves us all vulnerable. I’ve been following the gun control reform and am becoming increasingly disheartened as time goes on. The reason that we are not going to see any common sense and effective gun control laws passed any time soon is because politicians are backed by NRA’s money machine.

So Jane, you got the picture: money is good, money is powerful but money can be dangerous. Hopefully the following will help you enjoy the benefits of money but not enslaved by it:

1) Give money its proper place in life. Don’t set money making as the primary goal. If you do, you may end up with making the wrong choices for marriage, career and other important relationships. Because our desire increases exponentially, chasing money can never make us truly happy. Studies repeatedly show that after a certain safety net is reached, the effect any additional income has on personal happiness is marginal. Most lotto winners end up worse off a year after hitting the jackpot.

2) Start saving early. If everything works out, you’ll be in the workforce full-time next year. Being away from home for the last couple of years, I think you’ve figured out how expensive everything is: apartment, car, gas, grocery, insurance and entertainment. Spending carelessly, you’ll find yourself in the hole pretty quickly even with your big paycheck. So work out a budget and stick to it. Enroll in the company’s 401K savings plan immediately. My company matches 50 cents on every dollar I contribute to my 401K and it caps at 4% of my salary. In other words, I have to put away at least 8% of my earnings in order to get the full 4% company match. It’s a great way to save and your contribution is tax-deductible. Not taking advantage of this awesome benefit from day one would be foolish.

3) Learn to live within your means. I have been in the credit business for many years and found it appalling that so many people revolve on their credit cards, paying an annual interest rate of over 20%. Remember our family vacation to Hawaii 5 years ago? If I only made the monthly minimum payment on that balance, it would have taken 20 years to pay off that 1-week dream vacation. Isn’t that crazy? So pay off your credit card balances at the end of every billing cycle. If you don’t have the funds to purchase something you think you have to have, wait till you can buy it without borrowing money. During the last financial crisis, many Americans were forced to give up their homes due to the mounting debt they had accumulated when times were good. As soon as these people lost their jobs or their small businesses showed the first sign of slowing down, they began to struggle with keeping up with the debt payments. My grandma taught me to always be prepared for rainy days and her advice has served me well.

4) Generate additional income streams. There are two ways to live a debt-free good life: cut cost or generate more income. One of the challenges modern families face today is the difficulty to make ends meet even with the dual income because of the rising medical, energy and education costs. Having a side business will help alleviate some of the financial pressure. Real estate is the proven sensible investment that yields steady returns. You want to buy low, sell high and collect rent in between. Being informed of the fluctuations of the real estate market through the news media or local friends will enable you to make timely and rational decisions. The recent housing slump actually created some fantastic buying opportunities. If you have the ambition, inspiration and persistence to launch your own business and make millions, by all means go for it. You’ll increase your happiness index in addition to reaping the financial rewards if it’s something you love to do.

5) Donate money to worthy causes. It may be hard to believe that at your age, Jane, but money selfishly spent on oneself creates fleeting pleasure instead of lasting happiness. Connecting your life with higher causes turns a pleasant life into one that is meaningful. So remember to give up your time and money generously and intelligently to enrich the lives of others.

Money made with honesty and used wisely is a wonderful thing. I hope you’ll work hard and enjoy a fulfilling life relationally, professionally and financially.