The world’s economy is changing, bringing many financial challenges. We’re seeing the effects of rising inflation, which means our money doesn’t go as far as it used to. Higher interest rates make borrowing more expensive. Petrol prices keep going up. Load shedding still disrupts our lives and businesses. On top of that, the ups and downs in the investment market make it tough to predict returns.
With all these challenges, the pressure on our wallets has never been greater. Now, more than ever, we need our money and our banks to work hard for us to ensure that we get maximum value.
The arrival of spring is the perfect opportunity to take a fresh look at our money matters and ensure that we’re getting all the value we can from our finances.
A financial spring clean is the perfect way to reset your financial situation and re-evaluate your goals. But the real beauty is the power it gives you to assess the value your money is adding to your life.
So, to help you get the best results from your spring clean, here are a few useful activities to include:
- Re-evaluate your financial goals: As seasons change, so do life’s objectives. Whether your objective is a new home, retirement, or your child’s education, now is a good time to recalibrate your financial strategies to mirror your aspirations.
- Audit your monthly expenses: It’s important to understand where your money goes each month. Highlight areas where savings are possible. Making these adjustments will not only remove anxiety from your monthly budget, but improve your long-term financial health as well.
- Consider debt consolidation: If looming debts are clouding your peace of mind, consolidating them can be a fresh start, leading to better financial health. This involves applying for a personal loan to pay off a number of existing loans, leaving you with only one payment to make every month, at one interest rate.
- Start (or top up) an emergency fund: This is a valuable financial safety net for managing unexpected expenses and maintaining good financial health. Your goal should be to save enough in this savings account to cover at least three months’ worth of living expenses.
- Track your credit score: Your borrowing potential hinges on this number.
- Update your financial beneficiaries: As relationships evolve, ensure your financial accounts, retirement plans, and insurance policies reflect these changes to avoid future complications for your loved ones.
Remember, the financial spring-cleaning process might take some time, so don’t rush it. Prioritise the tasks that are most important to your financial wellbeing and take steps towards improving your financial situation.
Buli Ndlovu, Executive Head of Retail and Business Banking Marketing at Nedbank.