Spring is finally here! Time to spruce up your finances
It is important to make the time to review your financial commitments at least once a year, and attend to your personal finances in the same way you would your home. Reviewing your finances can help you to face your financial reality and be a great tool in ensuring your long-term financial wellness. How about starting by spring-cleaning your finances?
Here are five things to do on your financial spring-cleaning day:
1. Evaluate your budget. Budgeting has negative connotations for many people, who see it as something that deprives them of spending. A budget is simply a plan for your money and is often a good place to start, as it shows you what you are receiving and what you are spending your money on. Creating a budget is the best way to help you allocate future funds optimally.
2. Review your debts. Compound growth works for you when you’re investing but can work against you when you’re borrowing, so make sure you review your debts too. Being in debt can feel like you are drowning and unable to come up for air. By reviewing your debt, you can prioritise paying off your most expensive credit first, so that you service your debt more efficiently.
3. Update your will and retirement fund documents. Many of us overlook this important document. Having an updated will is a key part of having your financial affairs in order. A will should be reviewed and kept up to date, reflecting your current financial situation and chosen beneficiaries. If you do not have a will, use this opportunity to write one. You should also update the nominees listed in your retirement fund documents, so that the claim process is efficient, and your dependants are looked after, in the event of your death.
4. Check your insurance cover. It is a good idea to assess your insurance needs annually to make sure you are adequately covered for life’s eventualities. You may even find that you are paying for insurance cover that you no longer need and may be able to renegotiate and reduce some of your premiums.
5. Take stock of your investments. Checking your statements regularly and chopping and changing between investments is never a good idea, but every now and then it is a good thing to take stock of your investments. This may also be an opportunity to automate some processes, such as setting up debit orders if you do not have any in place.
Whatever your financial situation, you need to know where you stand in order to determine how best to achieve your financial goals, so use your financial spring cleaning day to help you establish this. Managing your finances should be organic, it is not about making permanent changes at one point in time. The sooner you create structure, the sooner you will gain control of your finances.
If you need to speak to an expert, schedule time to visit an independent financial adviser who can help you look at your finances holistically.
Lettie Mzwinila is a business development manager at Allan Gray.