How brave are you with your money?

PUBLISHED: Fri, 26 May 2017 17:04:25 GMT

Money brings out people’s personalities. How you spend it and how you manage it says a lot about the kind of person you are.

For instance, we all know the “Loose Cannon” who spends cash carelessly; easy come, easy go. This maverick will happily drop a few grand on a night out on the town knowing full well that they’ll be eating toast and peanut butter for the rest of the month. So what! We take the rough with the smooth!

Then there’s the “Circumspect Customer”, who researches every purchase they make before ceremonially extracting their credit card and making that fateful purchase. This person will collect quotes, Google for hours and build spreadsheets of suppliers even if all they’re trying to do is buy a phone cover.

The “See-Saw Purchaser” is a combination of the two. This fascinating individual is generally a prudent financial operator, but has an Achilles Heel. It might be clothes, or sound equipment or mountain-biking gear, but give them a spare moment and they’ll blow cash on it at the drop of a hat.

But all of these money-management attitudes are just fun little personality quirks compared to the big issues of financial management. When you look at the long term, we’re no longer talking personality, we’re talking character.

As we move on in life and more people start to depend on us, our financial decisions become about more than just whether to go to a live concert or if we should buy a new cycling helmet.

We need to think long term. We need to manage the financial resources we create during our productive years to reach our financial goals. Those goals might be a deposit on a bigger house, fees for our daughter’s private school or a comfortable retirement where we’re not a burden on our family.

On an even deeper level, we’d all like to leave a legacy of changing our family’s fortunes for the better. We’d like to leave our people better off financially when our working years are done.

This requires making some courageous calls.

For most of us, our income is fixed, or it varies within a relatively narrow range. We will collect a finite number of pay cheques before we eventually retire. When we set our financial goals, we need to know whether we are on track to achieve them.

Sadly, most of us are woefully exposed financially. Danie van den Bergh, Head of Brand and Marketing at Momentum, says that only 6% of individuals can afford to retire whilst maintaining their current standard of living.

To turn those prospects around, we need to manage our finances better before retirement. That requires some brave financial decision-making.

“People need to have financial courage,” says Van den Bergh. “That might mean admitting to yourself and your family that you can’t afford to buy that big new house. That you need a smaller car. It also means being brave enough to change your behaviour. To implement the right solution.”

Sure, it takes courage to admit you can’t afford to go to the Lady Gaga concert. But it takes inordinately more courage to sit down with your partner and admit that you can’t afford to move to that upmarket suburb for another five years.

But it’s brave calls like this that secure a family’s financial future. Before you ask yourself if you have that kind of financial courage, it’s worth knowing what your options are.

It all starts with the appointment of a financial advisor. An advisor won’t be able to make the brave financial decisions for you, but they’ll certainly be able to explain what the decisions are.

Before the Spartan Warriors went into battle in the movie 300, they first needed Leonidas to show them where the battlefield was. Your Leonidas is your nearest financial advisor. Enlist them in your battle for financial wellness.

The truth is, South African families can achieve their goals over their lifetime, and meet their expenses. They only need to be empowered with the financial advice to make the correct, courageous decisions.

The latest international finance trend is towards outcome-based investing, which measures success by how well investors are able to meet their unique goals. An outcomes-based financial advisor will spend time to understand your goals, and then match them with an appropriate investment strategy.

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