Updated: Apr 7
Negociate Credit Solutions - Lauren Heekes
Money doesn’t buy happiness. The answers to many of the financial questions I have had in my life are not written from a script. Each individual person can relate to an aspect of my financial advice, but let’s face it – your situation is personal to you.
You will definitely gain some wisdom from this article and the ability to put that advice into action. But remember to apply the advice to your specific situation.
The fact that having money doesn’t buy you happiness has been researched and this illusion has been shattered. Having more money does not necessarily make you happier.
Money definitely can buy comfort and security. But what happens once you get used to that comfort and security. You will probably be terrified of losing everything if your money isn’t working for you.
There are definitely other emotional triggers that make you happy, the most important being the earning power that your money has. It’s in the bank, but is it making money for you even while you are sleeping?
Your earning power is your most valuable asset
While your home or retirement investment may hold a lot of value, your ability to earn money allows you to build wealth. Your financial life will be drastically impacted if you can’t earn income.
So how to you protect your growing wealth
Consider insurance cover, like medical cover if you fall ill and disability insurance if something should happen to you. Touch wood.
Medical insurance will pay your current medical aid installment for 5 years if something should happen to you and you can’t work. Disability insurance is designed to replace a percentage of your income if you get into a debilitating accident.
So take your health just as seriously as your wealth, by eating more nutritious foods, having a workout plan every day, and getting a good night’s rest.
Time is money
Have you ever considered the cost of your time and actually put a number to it. By doing this, it puts frivolous spending into perspective. i.e. How many hours of work is this item going to cost me. Is spending this money really worth it?
For instance, let’s say you earn R300 per hour and you see an outfit online that will cost R1500. Before you reach for your credit card, realise that that this outfit is going to cost you a full day of work. “No, it’s only 5 hours of work.” Are you sure? What about the tax deduction on that R300 per hour?
After calculating the time is will cost to pay for that outfit, consider how much extra time you are going to have to work in order to make that money back? Will it mean having to take on an extra job, or working overtime this month? How do you feel about that?
Spend less than you make
Treat your life like a business. The only way to get ahead financially is to make a profit after expenses are deducted.
Without a profit, you simply don’t have the ability to save and reinvest into your company (life). Without being able to reinvest money into your company (life) you business cannot grow. Eventually cost of production (cost of living) will outgrow the money you make and you will run into a negative. This will lead to a cycle of debt that will be extremely difficult to recover from.
So cut unnecessary spending and evaluate your financial priorities so that you can start making a “profit”.
Pay yourself first
What does this actually mean? It means that you should always save and invest, no matter how small, before you pay anything else.
Ensure that savings are on a debit order and that you are contributing to your employee retirement fund. What’s left is what you have to live on and that number can definitely be adjusted with discipline. Eventually you won’t take this “missing” income into account and it will no longer bother you that you cannot use it.
Your financial past is irrelevant
If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan, not the goal. So you tried and failed. So you got yourself deeply into debt. What are you going to do now?
We all wish we could go back and make different choices. Feeling sorry for yourself or being regretful doesn’t accomplish anything.
Make positive decisions to move forward based on what’s best for your future and not according to the challenges you may have had in the past.
Investing early is life changing
One of the most important financial truths to understand is that investing early is essential. It isn’t always easy, but it can make the difference between being comfortable in the future or struggling when earning potential is limited by your age.
Start small and start now.
More of the same gets more of the same
Doing the same things you’ve always done will give you the same results.
If you’re not making slow, steady progress to improve your financial life, you may need to rethink your strategy. Downsize your lifestyle, find a better-paying job, or think of ways to bring in a second income.
Your success comes from your choices, like spending your spare time improving yourself or watching illegal downloads. Use your downtime to read, study or to start a small business.
Successful people generally aren’t smarter than everyone else. The common denominator though is that they use their time more efficiently.
The spare time you have should be bringing you closer to achieving your goals.
About the Author - Lauren Heekes
Lauren is currently a registered member of the National Credit Regulator. Prior to that, she worked as a Financial and Technical consultant for McGregor-BFA (Now INET-BFA). McGregor-BFA provided Financial Advice, Trading and Market related data as well as Investment management software to various Asset Managers, University Business Schools and Investment entities. Thereafter experience was advanced to the Property Market working as a Project Manager for Propertyi. But it was actually her career at the IEB in Adult Education that inspired a passion of hers to educate consumers about responsible ways of managing their financial lives and the long term advantages of doing so. It is her belief that financial education should be taught from an early age. By doing so we can create a country that is truly economically stable with consumers that are driven not only by work ethics, but by becoming Financially Independent.
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