Receiving your first salary is exciting. For the first time, you’re earning your own money. And there’s nothing quite like the feeling when your first paycheque arrives in your bank account. But, of course, you probably won’t earn as much as you’d like when you first start out. You’re starting out at the bottom and your salary reflects that.

Which is why so many young people decide not to pay for health insurance when they first start out. Their income is not yet ideal and they don’t want to see that number get any lower. The thing is, health insurance is the one of the first things you should consider paying for with your first salary. Here’s why.

The future is unpredictable

You may be in perfect health right now. You may not have seen a doctor in years. You may even be perfectly fit and eat a super healthy diet. But that doesn’t mean you won’t need quality health care at some point in the near future. If you drive or even spend time in a car, you could so easily end up in an accident that requires you to be rushed to an emergency room. Or you could end up breaking a bone while playing sports. Or you could get really bad food poisoning and have to have your stomach pumped. You never know what may happen and you’ll want to have health insurance if you fall victim to any of the above.

You probably don’t have an emergency fund just yet

You’ve just started your first job and therefore you probably don’t have much money saved. You certainly don’t have R50 000 for an unavoidable operation. And, if you’re in an incredible amount of pain, you don’t want to have to wait weeks or even months for surgery at a public hospital. Which is why health insurance is so important. You want the best possible medical care and you don’t have the funds to pay for that all at once at this stage of your life.

Stress can weaken your immune system

You’re about to learn a lot about stress. You thought school was difficult? That’s nothing compared to the pressure you will be faced with at your first job. You’ll have to learn new processes, meet deadlines like never before and deal with a boss who may be a lot stricter than you were expecting. This can cause a lot of stress and stress weakens your immune system. Often people fall ill when they’re stressed and doctor’s appointments aren’t cheap. And you can’t just avoid going to the doctor because you’ll need a medical certificate if you’re off from work.

You should become used to paying from the beginning

You’re probably planning to pay for things like health insurance once your salary increases. But once that happens, you’ll find you have more expenses than you have right now. Rather become used to paying that amount every month so you don’t even notice the debit orders when your salary grows.

Health insurance is important and it’s something you should think seriously about when you first start earning.