The festive season is known to be notoriously expensive. Gifts for friends and family, holidays and, of course, the entertainment all come at a price. For many of us, it is difficult to resist the temptation of tapping into our bonuses or spending the money needed to cover January’s expenses so we can live our best lives. The good news is that a little planning goes a long way, and a December full of celebrations doesn’t need to lead to a ‘Janu-worry’.
More than just a perfect time to embrace life and time off from work, it is also a good time to take stock of your life and make changes if you need to. Are your finances in check? Are you and your family protected should you be faced with an unforeseen circumstance?
Lance Solms, Managing Director at Itransact Investment Platform, provides his top four tips to ensure that you are able to give yourself the best gift of all this festive season: an investment in your financial future.
If you are lucky enough to be living debt-free and get an annual bonus, consider investing it as the power of compound interest will help your money outperform inflation. Whether you want to buy a house in a few years or save for your retirement, investing is about taking a long-term view with your hard-earned income to provide for years to come.
There are plenty of investment options available that don’t require you to have millions. How much you save depends on what you want and what your goals look like, but there are investment and savings options that require as little as R150 per month.
Secure your financial future
While you deserve to treat yourself and your family, the best gift you can give yourself this festive season is a brighter financial future. Reducing debt and investing may seem boring compared to indulging in luxury clothes, fine dining and the latest gadgets but by saving now, you will be building a firmer financial foundation for the years ahead.
Ultimately, making smart decisions about debt can be more important than making smart investing decisions. Avoid accumulating credit-card debt and keep your credit record in the best possible shape to qualify for the lowest interest rates on your car and home loans.
One of the biggest mistakes people make during the festive season is forgetting that they still have to live off the December salary in January. This makes a 31-day month feel like the whole year, so don’t get caught up in the excitement. Put away the funds you know you need to “survive” (for transport to work, groceries and the like) in a secure account that you will not be able to access until needed.
“It is unreasonable to expect that you won’t spend some money friends and family, and you deserve to after working hard all year. The idea here is to make sure you do it responsibly. With just a few weeks left until December, check in with your financial adviser and make sure you are on the right track. Investing in your financial future should not be a daunting process, but rather one that allows you to enjoy your life while still leaving you and your family secure,” concludes Solms.