The topic of money isn’t one that excites most people, in-fact majority of people would even rather talk about their weight than talk about their personal finances. This is where the problem lies, without facing your finances head on, you can’t be in a position to improve them.
Most South Africans are anxious about money because:
- We are not taught personal financial management from a young age in schools or university.
- Our parents do not discuss money with us from a young age (in hindsight, maybe it is because no one spoke to them about money either) and so the circle continues, creating secrecy and shame around money.
So, if you’re on a journey to get your finances right, how do you stay motivated and excited?
Have a goal in mind
It is impossible to reach any dream without setting a goal. Usually, when people set New Years resolutions, their goals are quite vague. “This is the year I am going to lose weight”, or “this is the year I get out of debt”. Nothing wrong with these statements at all, but that’s exactly what they are, just statements, not goals. A goal has to be S.MA.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound)
So instead of saying I will be debt free, break it down to how much you will have paid off by when, how much will you cut out of your budget etc. What kills goals is that people don’t set inspiring ones that move them to action.You want to set a goal that excites you, a goal you can almost see and feel when you think about it.
Educate yourself about personal finance
Every month pick a topic you want to learn about when it comes to money. Say the first month you learn about methods of paying off debt. Then pick one and do your SMART goals based on that. The second month you teach yourself about the difference between saving and investing, the third month you teach yourself about the different types of investments for beginners etc. By the end of the year, your personal financial journey would not only have impacted your knowledge but confidence too when it comes to money.
The thing about getting your finances right is that no one can do it for you. You have to do the work and know that there is financial victory at the end.
Get yourself an accountability partner
Whether married or single, you need someone you can trust and talk to about money, someone who will hold you accountable to your money goals. This can be a close friend, a family member or your partner. Studies show that people who have gym buddies when they begin their fitness journey are likely to reach their fitness goals more than those who do not have a gym buddy. I believe it is the same with your finances. Having a financial fitness buddy can help you stay motivated when you feel like giving up.
Lastly, sticking to good financial habits over a period of time will always produce financial success:
- Live below your means (spend less than you make).
- Save as much as possible.
- Send your money to work (invest it).
- The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is right now (start as early as possible).