NEW YEAR, NEW MONEY HABITS.
Disclaimer: The advice and experiences in this article are all from a personal standpoint.
How have you fared financially in the first quarter of 2021? I’m glad that I’ve made it this far, for 2020 was quite the bumpy ride financially. On this other side, I have managed to move through these first few months with my bag firmly secured, my emergency fund in check, and most importantly a lesson or two on financial literacy.
In this article, I will share the financial lessons that I learned in 2020, and in the same breath, I will put on paper my financial goals for 2021.
FINANCIAL LITERACY IS IMPORTANT.
It is important to not only read Rich Dad poor dad by Robert Kiyosaki but also to understand and harness the message that Kiyosaki was trying to put out to the world. Financial literacy is paramount, in fact, it should be part of the curriculum in schools. It should be incorporated on the dining table and the bedtime stories should tell a story of how the fictional hermit managed to save a penny or two. Discussions around money should change from being hushed to full-on loud conversations as this is the only way we will sensitize the coming generation on matters of money.
In as much as a good number of factors have contributed to wealthy people getting where they are – such as location, ethnicity, generational inheritance, political organisation – being intentional about educating oneself plays a major role in acquiring and sustaining the wealth. We all need to earn money, this might mean taking a class or signing up for Dave Ramsey’s baby steps or taking a course in financial literacy. Whatever move you decide to make ensure that it will contribute to a proper financial posture for you and yours.
BUDGET LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT.
I’m not used to budgeting because growing up I was not socialised to know its importance. My parents however have managed to wing it in in my early adult years and that has informed my current nature of creating a budget and sticking to it. Is it easy? No, Does it require top tier discipline? Yes. Budgeting has saved my life.
It has saved me more coins than I could have ever imagined. Budgeting has put me in the driver’s seat when it comes to not only my money but also my definitions of needs and wants. It is because of my budget that it dawned on me that I really don’t need cereal in the morning because I never have breakfast. Budgeting helped me to put two and two together and save an extra 500 dollars which were easily allocated to take out when I could easily learn how to make Pizza and do so in the comfort of my home. Budgeting tells your money where to go instead of wondering where it went. It makes you a master, so get yours today.
AN EMERGENCY FUND IS A LIFELINE
Due to the pandemic, we are all somehow acquainted with a person or two who have been furloughed or on unpaid leave. This can only mean one thing, that for the past 9 months these individuals have been getting by without any form of income. It also means that they have been eating away their savings if there was no emergency fund in place. An emergency fund is an armour, a financial bulletproof that we should all seek to put on.
Saving 3-6 months of one’s expenses has got to be the hardest thing that anyone can put their mind to but I did it and so can you. If you are from an African background like I am, this means that your paycheck experiences cases of black tax and unforeseen expenses but despite all this, you need to ensure that setting up your emergency fund is part and parcel of your vision board.
“For Blessed are you who sow. Every seed you so plant will grow into bountiful crops for great harvest” Lailah Gifty Akita.
I’m bouncing into the new year full of energy and positivity for this is the only way I know how. I don’t have a vision board yet, but I have it in my mind, does this make sense? Among the stuff that I’m not only manifesting but also working towards is the number of zeros in my bank account. I have a lot to do and a bag to secure. These are my financial goals for the year.
I will start with my word for the year, which is consistency. This means that I will do what I have to do as often and as repetitively as possible. For it’s only in this sequence that I will yield results. Having said this, let’s jump into my goals for the year.
CUT BACK ON THE UNNECESSARY SPENDING.
I have a list of things I’m no longer buying and a wristwatch comes at number 5. The fashionista in you will try to advise me on why I should get the latest Daniel Wellington, but that timeless piece is not making its way to the cart. My main reason is that I have way too many watches. The second reason is that I own a phone that is always in my hand hence I don’t need another statement piece.
I will wear what I have, yes they might need a repair here and there but I will manage. We all have several items that we don’t need but was still purchased, maybe because it was on sale or for some other reason. Stuff that we are better off without but here we are still purchasing more. I don’t know about you, but in 2021, if it’s not a need then it’s not coming home period.
PAY THY DEBT.
I plan to focus on debt payment this year and I’ll advise you to do the same. Be it a student loan or a soft loan, create a way of ensuring that a substantial amount of money goes towards servicing yours. Loans with high interest come first. My advice would be to sit down and calculate the amount that you are comfortable with. With the said amount you will have to ensure that it goes towards servicing your loans. This will not only reduce the loan limit but will be a step towards getting out of any kind of debt.
BULK UP THAT EMERGENCY FUND.
I will continue to preach about the emergency fund because it is a paramount financial decision that we should all make. An emergency fund is a financial reserve set aside for any financial surprise such as losing a job or getting an illness. It is advisable to have 3-6 months of your monthly expense in your account. If you can add more to the account the better for you. In Swahili we say Akiba haiozi, meaning Savings don’t go to waste. So start today and thank me later.
Investing is how you take charge of your financial security. It allows you to grow your wealth but also generates an additional income stream if needed ahead of retirement. For yours truly, I’ll focus more on bulking up my pension fund as my employer matches my every cent. This is a way of ensuring that by the time I retire, I will have enough financial reserves for myself.