Looking to improve your financial resolutions for the new year? Here’s some practical advice that will stick.
At the beginning of the year, we’re eager to get our health in check, lose the holiday weight, and start saving money. If your goal is to have more money, less debt and greater peace of financial mind, follow these tips.
“Most people aim to get on top of their finances or save more at the beginning of the year, but come February, and these well-intentioned resolutions have long been forgotten,” says Kosie Jansen van Rensburg, co-founder of Hero Life, a company that helps parents with their finances. “There are practical ways, however, that can help you see your goals through, so that you reach the end of the year feeling financially fitter, and with your resolution ticked off,” he says.
Kosie explains how to do it:
Reassess your insurance policies and will.
It’s always good to start off the new year by reviewing things such as your will: have your circumstances changed, do you need to add assets, are you happy with the beneficiaries?
Check your life insurance – do you have enough cover? Have your circumstances changed and do you need to adjust your house and car insurance, as well as medical aid? Adjust these if necessary.
If you don’t have life insurance, get it.
Did you just get married? Or have a new baby? Or buy a house? If so, that means it’s probably a good time for you to get life insurance as it’s designed to provide families with financial security in the event of death of a spouse or partner. To find out the proper amount of life insurance you need, you can use an insurance calculator, like the Hero Life insurance calculator.
The next step is to find the right type of insurance policy with the right provider. Shop around on the internet as there are quite a few quality insurance companies offering life cover (with more affordable premiums, less medical underwriting) or permanent (whole) life cover (more comprehensive and more expensive in some cases).
If you don’t have a will, get one.
Writing a will is not the most pleasant of tasks, but it’s probably one of the most critical things you can do for your loved ones. Putting your last wishes on paper helps your family and loved ones avoid unnecessary hassles during a traumatic time and it gives you peace of mind knowing that your family will be looked after when you’re no longer there to do it yourself.
You can have a will drawn up by an attorney or you can do it yourself online these days. But before you do, think carefully about:
- who must get what (of your assets and money)
- who should be the legal guardian(s) of your minor children should you and your partner pass away
- what you want to happen with your body once you’ve died
- who should be the executor of your will (the person who will make sure your assets and money are divided according to your wishes)
The hard fact is that you can only save when you spend less than what you earn. One of the richest men in the world, Warren Buffett, said the following: ‘Do not save what is left after spending, instead spend what is left after saving.’
Drawing up a budget to track monthly spending can be an eye-opening exercise that helps you understand your financial habits – good and bad.
Budgeting removes financial anxieties – you’ll know exactly how much money is coming in and how much money is going out, and exactly where the money is going. This helps you feel in control of your money and so you’ll feel more in control of your life.
If this all sounds like too much work, there are a number of useful apps to streamline things. Look at your banking app for example, as this will be integrated with your account for easy monitoring. An app will give you a nudge on where to cut spending and where to save.
You will need discipline too, and lots of it. Luckily you can ‘outsource’ this, as most banks and savings institutions offer the option of setting up an automatic debit order depositing directly into a savings vehicle.
And the most important tip? Just start!
Still not sure? Just ask Hero Life to point you in the right direction – their advice is free.
Hero Life offers a free online will, helps you to start saving for your kids’ education, and offers life insurance, designed specifically for young parents.
Hero Life is an MMI Group initiative, and underwritten by Guardrisk Life Limited (Reg no 1999/013922/06), an authorised Financial Services Provider (FSP license number 76).