In the words of Jim George, “It’s not how you start, but how you finish”. The end of the year is most probably the best time to look back on the year, and reflect on your wins and losses for 2022. What better time to make better personal and financial choices for the new year than the present. A few things to consider before entering the festive season:
Pay yourself first - Whatever you do, remember the most important person in this equation is you. Taking care of yourself first allows you to take care of others around you better, as an empty cup cannot fill another. Thus, put away funds before you pay the bills and continue with your spending. A savings or investment account separate from your transactional account is preferably the best alternative.
Review your Last Will & Testament & Life Cover – This is not always easy to do. But once you are certain that your Last Will and Testament is updated, your Life Cover and Final Expenses’ benefits are adequate, you can break away with confidence that your affairs are in order.
Check your emergency fund – Is your emergency fund account funded, or does it say “insufficient funds”? If the answer to that question is YES, then you should do yourself a favour and take steps to make that account say “sufficient funds”, as emergencies do not ask for permission to enter our lives; they just arrive like uninvited guests.
Budget your purchases – budgeting is nothing more than telling your money where to go; it’s not a swear word. And adding your purchases to your budget will help you see where your money goes. Whether it be school/tuition fees, clothing/school uniform, school supplies, Christmas gifts, etc. If it’s not in the budget, it’s money lost.
Make a List – ever seen how much easier it is when you go shopping with a list? It’s been proven time and time again just how efficient a shopping list is. Once you are done, you would have all that you intended. You feel that much more accomplished because you got what you needed, and you haven’t made any unnecessary purchases. You have saved yourself time and money as you aren’t wandering around in the store, thinking and asking yourself whether or not you need this or that, or what you forgot, and you haven’t bought unnecessary items.
Remember your Why – the choices we make on a daily basis are either for our protection, or alternatively for detriment. Thus, it’s always good to ask yourself why you do what you do.
It’s a very personal thing in terms of the decisions we make as we exit 2022. They will ultimately shape and steer your new year.
The American baseball star Roger Maris said, “you hit home runs not by chance, but by preparation”. He was living proof that preparation is key when wanting a preferred outcome. May you end off 2022 preparing to hit remarkable home runs, and look back knowing exactly why they took place.
*Andolene Diergaardt is a Sanlam financial adviser.