It’s been said that having a high income does not necessarily make you rich or wealthy. Real wealth comes from spending less than you earn. An important facet of taking charge of how you spend your money relates to planning. Having a good financial plan will help you attain your financial goals. We’ve set out a few things to consider when setting your financial plan.
1. Take Stock
Look back at the past year and think about your financial progress. It’s important to be honest with yourself and to write down your thoughts. Your findings will be a handy reference for your next planning session.
Did you meet your financial goals for the year? If not, what were the main reasons for not meeting your goals? If you did not have any financial goals, it is important that you have goals to move forward financially. We will cover goal setting later.
Did you develop any good financial habits over the year? Any bad ones? Write these down. Reward yourself where you succeeded in meeting your goals, but be careful not to undo your hard work in the process.
Take out your last three financial statements. Group your spending into broad categories e.g. transport, housing, eating out, debt etc. This will show what you are prioritising most in your spending. Is this in line with what you expected? If there were unexpected events that affected your financial progress, take note of these and decide how you will cope with them in the future.
Look forward to the coming year and create a list of things that you will need to spend money on. It could be something big like planning for a wedding or saving for a car or house. It could also be something smaller like the costs of moving house, gifts for friends and family etc.
Related: Making good financial decisions
From the goals you did not last year, are there any you are carrying forward? Are there any new ones that you are striving for? Add these to your list.
Now that you know what your goals are and what other events you expect during the year, think about how you will achieve each goal. For example, if your goal is to create an emergency fund, you could write the following:
Goal: Save R6 000
By When: Dec 2018
How: By saving R500 each month
The goal must have an amount, a deadline and a realistic means of meeting the target.
If you are unable to meet all the goals, keep only the ones that are the highest priority. You could also lower the amount of spending on the lower priority items.
This is probably the hardest part. Having a plan is great, but if you do not have the discipline to put it into practice, you will not progress financially. Track your progress each month and adjust as you go. You can also keep yourself accountable by sharing some of your goals with someone you trust.