Most people have a moment in their life when all of their financial burdens snowball into something that feels insurmountable to fix. Kids tuition fees, a 30-year mortgage, cars financed, and the looming cost of retirement are all very real things that Kiwis have to face.
The good news is, it’s never too late to get your financial wellness sorted, and there are plenty of things you can action now to help the future you.
In this article, we’ll take you through some of the top trends we’ve seen as catalysts for poor financial health, and show you how to combat these early and smash your future goals.
Causes for Poor Financial Health
- Instant gratification: this is a mindset, that while exciting and satisfying in the short term, can cause financial strain in the future. A lot of people see something they like now and opt to finance big-ticket items rather than saving for them. It’s always tempting to take advantage of enticing offers from lenders, but battling the instant gratification mindset can have a really positive effect on your finances in the long term.
- Rash decisions: impulsive purchases, no matter how big or small, have a negative impact on your finances if they’re beyond your means. Keeping a tab on what’s within your budget and avoiding spur of the moment decisions will keep you in good stride for achieving your goals.
- Poor planning: of course, to keep a tab on your spending you need a budget. A lot of clients, that we see, haven’t sat down to get their finances in order. The first step is seeing the big picture and making a plan to avoid your financial snowball turning into an avalanche.
Identify Your What’s Important to You
The very first thing we get clients to do is to make a list of their goals, upcoming costs and priorities. Often when people hear the word ‘budgeting’, they associate it with giving up the everyday things that bring them happiness - but that’s not the case.
It’s important to keep your non-negotiables and continue to enjoy your favourite indulgences. The planning process is about identifying what you really want out of your money and making your budget work for you.
Often people find that they aren’t aware of what really matters to them, and this is unique to each and every financial plan. Nobody does anything unless they really want to - so it’s important that the starting point of any plan is finding out what you want to achieve with your money.
Once you have a clear idea of exactly what you want to achieve and what matters most to you, it’s time to get a plan together on how you’re going to successfully smash these goals.
How to do it? Plan, Monitor, and Review:
- Create a plan with realistic living costs: work out what you need to spend to get by, but from a realistic perspective. We’re all about making sure that you continue to enjoy the things that are most important to you - from the smaller things like weekly subscriptions to bigger picture things like a holiday. It’s all about outlining what you want and organising your money to work how you need it to.
- Understand what your plan will give you as an outcome: whether it’s a new car, a home or repaying debt - knowing what you get at the end of it will keep you on track.
- Get to know where your money goes: take a look at your outgoing payments, and identify exactly where your money is being spent.
- Monitor your spending habits: ascertain if there are any bad habits that could sabotage your plan.
- Adjust habits to meet your expectations.
- Review: take a look at your plan as you go to ensure you’re getting results.
Getting a financial consultant on board to guide you through the process and hold you accountable along the way will help you achieve your goals, and our consultants provide this help as part of our process.
Watch your Financial Wellness Improve
We’ve worked with clients from all different walks of life with diverse and individual goals; from couples buying their first home in their 20s to people in their early 60’s planning for retirement. No matter what stage in life you’re at, there’s one common denominator in those who smash their financial goals: getting onto it as early as possible.
If you’re not quite sure what’s important to you, what you want out of a financial plan or how to go about it, now is the time to start taking the first steps. You’d be surprised at how much difference making small changes and having a plan in place can make.
If you’re keen to find out where you stand, take the first step and find out your current financial wellness - we can help you with the rest.