This article is part of an ongoing series of basic financial education brought to you by financial industry professionals curated by PocketFin – The Financial School of Real Life. CNBC Africa provides content from PocketFin as a service to its readers but does not edit the articles it publishes. CNBC Africa is not responsible for the content provided by PocketFin.
The COVID-19 pandemic has and still is hammering the global economy. More than 33 million people have lost their jobs, businesses across the world are running on fumes or have had to close their doors, and a major drop in interest rates have shattered the returns of cash investments.
If anything, what this pandemic has taught us is that financial planning is an extremely important aspect to our financial wellbeing and we need to adequately prepare ourselves for if we were to find ourselves in this situation again.
“What have you learnt from your habits with your income and your expenses pre pandemic and now?” Asks Kayembe Gilles Ilunga, a director of PocketFin , the financial school of real life.
“Many people neglected aspects of their personal finances such as budgeting, managing debt effectively and saving and investing, perhaps this pandemic was the financial wake up call many people needed” says Ilunga.
For some people the pandemic and harsh lockdowns actually enabled them to save more as regular expenses such as dining out or travel was limited or non existent but some people will revert back to these spending habits as the pandemic ends, there is however a major opportunity to start living by more responsible financial practices going forward:
Do a detailed budget:
As per one of the most popular PocketFin courses “how to budget like a boss” , it’s important to get honest with yourself and comb over your bank statements so you can get an indication of your spending habits. Stick to this budget and review it at least twice a year to make sure you stay on track.
Build an emergency/safety net fund:
It is absolutely critical to start building a safety net of 3-6 months of your monthly income incase of retrenchment or any type of unexpected expense comes up. Ideally you want this safety net to be invested in a conservative cash fund that doesn’t have any major fluctuations.
Although interest rates might be the lowest its been in years to help the consumer through this tough time, it is of the utmost importance to chip away at your high interest debt such as credit cards or short term loans. Any debt repayments that you can minimise will enable you to save more.
The Covid-19 pandemic is the third major financial disaster to hit the world in the past 25 years, firstly with the dot.com financial crash in 2001, followed by the 2008/2009 financial crisis. Many people have only recently recovered from the 2008 financial crisis, and they are now finding themselves wondering how they will recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is important to acknowledge that this will not be the last major financial calamity in our times and we should do our best to be ready for the next one, by implementing and maintaining good financial habits, you’ll be better positioned to get through challenging times such as the Covid-19 pandemic.