Now that South Africa is back at work and dealing with the realities of daily life including load-shedding and another interest-rate hike, it could be a good time to reflect and start setting achievable financial goals in 2023.
Studies show that health-related goals, such as exercising more, eating better and losing weight usually top the list of popular New Year’s goals, with rising food prices, higher interest rates and a constrained economy it is likely that financial well-being is likely to feature high on most Mzansi top lists.
Yaasin Nordien, Chief Operation Officer at specialist loan provider, DirectAxis says that even if your resolutions did not include any monetary goals, it’s not too late to set some and work towards improving the state of your financial health in 2023.
He says before doing so, it’s important to be realistic.
“One of the main reasons that people don’t stick to their resolutions is that they set unrealistic or unachievable goals. When it becomes apparent that they’re not going to reach these, they give up. It’s more beneficial to set achievable goals because the sense of fulfilment when you reach these will encourage you to keep going.”
Together with some of the in-house experts at DirectAxis, Yaasin has come up with some ideas to help get started.
Draw up a budget: Although it may sound difficult it is actually relatively easy to do and an important step in taking control of your finances. It allows you to see where your income goes each month. Importantly, because it breaks down all your income and expenditure it allows you to set other financial goals, such as cutting out unnecessary expenses and saving some money each month.
To prepare your budget draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper. List all your income on the left and all your expenses on the right. You should be able to get most of the information you need from your bank statements.
Alternatively, there are plenty of online budgeting tools that will guide you through the process, such as: www.directaxis.co.za/make-a-plan/set-financial-goals-and-manage-your-finances-like-a-pro
Improve your credit score: Your credit score is how banks and other financial services providers, retailers and even landlords find out how financially reliable you are. A poor score will limit your ability to get loans or may mean you pay more interest because you are considered a higher risk.
By law you are entitled to one free credit report a year from any of the credit bureaus, but there are a number of online tools that allow you to check it for free as often as you like, simply by registering on the site. One of these is www.directaxis.co.za/pulse
Most people can improve their credit score by 20 points by reducing the number of credit facilities they have and making payments on time. The benefits of a better score include access to more financial-service offerings as well as potentially saving money on interest.
Increase your financial knowledge: Taking control of your finances is your responsibility and there’s plenty of information available online, although it’s sensible to credible websites from recognised companies or respected journalists and advisors.
There are so many topics, tips and videos available that you may want to decide on a few subjects you want to know more about and start there. Compare different websites and news outlets to find the ones that best suit your needs and preferences and to make sure you’re getting sound, accurate information. There’s an array of information available here to help you get started.
“These are three achievable, basic steps, but implementing them will provide a foundation on which you’ll be able to start building a healthy financial future,” says Yaasin.