File Image: IOL
File Image: IOL

Are you financially free or free-falling? The choice is yours.

By Opinion Time of article published May 6, 2021

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In these challenging economic times, true financial liberation remains elusive, but Megan Harrison –Executive Head of Transactional Banking at Multiply Money – says there is something you can do about it.

It was arguably the most famous psychoanalyst and father of modern psychology, Sigmund Freud, who opined, “Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.” When it comes to our financial freedom, Freud’s theory might hold some weight; it’s true that many of us feel daunted by the responsibility that taking ownership of our finances may entail – however, this is the only path to true financial freedom.

Harrison believes that financial freedom is an attainable goal. “Through arming ourselves with the right tools, actions and mindset, we can start our individual journey to success.”

The last year has had a devastating effect on the personal financial situation of many South African households. In fact, the Momentum/Unisa 2020 Household Financial Wellness Insights report estimates the loss of gross income from South African households to be around R331 billion.

“We are finding that most people feel that they lack control of the situation, yet there are steps that we can take to free our own households from the pressure the pandemic has placed on us.”

For Harrison – and according to the Momentum/Unisa 2020 Household Financial Wellness Insights report – there are numerous things a household can do that will help them manage their finances better and achieve their own financial goals, whatever those might be. These include:

  • Setting short- and long-term financial goals;
  • Coming up with a financial plan, a roadmap that includes your goals;
  • Implementing a financial plan (the journey), starting with budgeting for expenses, savings, and debt repayment aimed at achieving your goals;
  • Obtaining professional advice in the budgeting and financial planning process, as well as with the understanding and take-up of financial products for purposes of lending, saving and insurance that will help achieve goals, and ensuring that payments for these products are up to date; and
  • Empowering yourself through financial education programmes to become financially capable and embracing positive financial behaviour.

“Financial freedom resides in ownership”, advises Harrison. “You need to know what is within your realm of control and address these things. This entails taking responsibility – you may initially find that the path towards financial freedom will place a great deal of pressure and accountability on you. However, rest assured that once you’ve found your rhythm, things like saving and budgeting become much easier.”

When it comes to insurance life cover products, businesses often provide a bit of added value to help consumers through these challenging times. “For instance, if you’re a Momentum Multiply member, you have access to financial advice and free online tools to help you make the most of your money. If you aren’t already taking advantage of these kinds of benefits that exist within loyalty programmes and insurance products, then perhaps you should start,” says Harrison.

While it may sometimes feel impossible, Harrison says that financial freedom is a conscious decision. “We choose to understand our surroundings and to do something about it. Whether it’s a matter of debt, a reduced income, or another issue holding you back, always remember that every journey to success begins with a single step. With the right knowledge and support, financial freedom is fully within your grasp.”

PERSONAL FINANCE

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