Fi­nance – Change how you view money

The fol­low­ing straight­for­ward money i nsights will al­ter how you think about and use your money, turning you into your own fi­nan­cial coach overnight


It’s no se­cret that some women love spend­ing and go about their lives not car­ing much about the state of their fi­nances. Yet, un­der­stand­ing your daily money habits is cru­cial in achiev­ing your fi­nan­cial health and se­cu­rity. Money coach and debt coun­sel­lor Win­nie Kunene says peo­ple tend to believe that money is the most pow­er­ful thing in their lives, whereas it is mainly a tool that should en­able us to un­lock hap­pi­ness in our lives. “It all be­gins with the need to change our mind­set by giv­ing money proper con­text and un­der­stand­ing what it does for us,” Kunene elab­o­rates. She adds that hap­pi­ness is an in­di­vid­ual jour­ney and dif­fers for each of us, and so should our money goals. “Our fi­nan­cial jour­neys and life ex­pe­ri­ences are not the same. There­fore, the first step is defin­ing what fi­nan­cial free­dom means to you and also gauge if this per­sonal de­scrip­tion is in line with your dreams and as­pi­ra­tions.”

The fol­low­ing ex­pert ad­vice will, hope­fully, help you re­ar­range your money thoughts and equip you to han­dle your money mat­ters like a pro.


What we ut­ter with our mouths even­tu­ally be­comes re­al­ity. Ac­cord­ing to Kunene, state­ments like, ‘I don’t know how to make or man­age money,’ will lead to us over­spend fre­quently as we have al­ready elim­i­nated the pos­si­bil­ity of sav­ing to­wards our fi­nan­cial free­dom. “Find a com­pelling rea­son for sav­ing and plug out of the debt sys­tem. Sav­ing is for se­cu­rity and we all need to have a fund that we are able to tap into dur­ing rainy days,” she says.

Mashilo Mat­seke, an in­de­pen­dent fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor, agrees. “I al­ways use this sim­ple logic — the best way to save is to spend less than your in­come so you have some­thing left over for the fol­low­ing month. This is how you can start mak­ing sav­ing a part of your fi­nan­cial goals,” Mat­seke says.


Fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor Mbuso Mchunu says that hav­ing a fi­nan­cial pal — much like a gym buddy — will keep you both mo­ti­vated and up-to-date with your fi­nances. “It is im­por­tant to en­sure your pal’s level of think­ing is on par with yours, so you can both un­der­stand each other’s needs and hold each other ac­count­able. In this way, what needs to be achieved will be ac­com­plished, and the fi­nan­cial jour­ney to­wards reach­ing your spe­cific goal will be con­sis­tent,” Mchunu says. Kunene adds that hav­ing a fi­nan­cial pal will help build your dis­ci­pline so you can en­joy the money you sweat so hard for.


For most peo­ple re­tire­ment means the end of your work­ing ca­reer and sit­ting at home do­ing noth­ing. “It is time we re­de­fined what this means to us as we be­come more use­ful in life when we stop be­ing oth­ers’ ser­vants. We can­not al­low our wis­dom to die,” Kunene says. By re­defin­ing what re­tire­ments means, you’ll be able to un­lock new pos­si­bil­i­ties, such as ac­quir­ing a new skill or start­ing a busi­ness that will plough back into your fi­nan­cial free­dom, some­thing a re­tire­ment fund can as­sist in re­al­is­ing. “So, do not limit the fund to be­ing merely just a fi­nan­cial pot that you draw from for your ev­ery­day liv­ing but as a fi­nan­cial spring­board that can as­sist in un­lock­ing fur­ther goals,” Kunene adds. To help you stay on path, keep in mind how you’d like your re­tire­ment years to be like, Mchunu ad­vises.


One of the best things you can do for your­self is to un­der­stand the pos­si­bil­ity of liv­ing within your means, Kunene

en­cour­ages. “This will en­able you to put money away and start plot­ting out some of your per­sonal and ca­reer goals,” she says, ex­plain­ing that when look­ing into ac­quir­ing debt, as­sess whether the debt will con­trib­ute to­wards bring­ing you money. “A car that you drive to work or use to do busi­ness is a good debt to have but one that stays parked at home most times is not worth it,” she ex­plains.


Ac­cord­ing to Mchunu, credit can help you re­alise your goals, like buy­ing a house or start­ing a busi­ness. How­ever, the best way for it to work for you, is only if you learn how to man­age it. En­sure that you make your re­pay­ments on time, reg­u­larly as­sess your bank state­ments in or­der to track any dif­fer­ences in in­ter­est in­curred, keep track of your spend­ing and min­imise your limit. A credit card can be a great con­ve­nience, Kunene adds, but you must un­der­stand what you use it for. “You pay for ev­ery lit­tle swipe you make, so min­imise its use. Some credit cards of­fer a free in­ter­est pe­riod – try to pay off what you’ve spent within this time frame,” Kunene con­tin­ues.


Most peo­ple pre­fer swip­ing their debit card for pur­chases in­stead of us­ing cash mainly be­cause of the high risk as­so­ci­ated with car­ry­ing hard cash. “Cash en­ables you to con­trol your fi­nances as you tend to spend less and re­main dis­ci­plined. The less you swipe, the less bank charges you will in­cur al­low­ing you to save a bit of money,” Mchunu ex­plains. Kunene also adds that it doesn’t mat­ter how many cards you have, cash is still im­por­tant es­pe­cially when emer­gen­cies arise.


Kunene has only one thing to say re­gard­ing over­drafts, re­volv­ing and mi­cro loans — and that is #Hap­pyPoverty. She ex­plains that re­ly­ing on these prod­ucts to fund your life will only get you into more debt. She cau­tions that we steer away from them. “An over­draft and re­volv­ing loan are a form of un­se­cured lend­ing and their in­ter­est is usu­ally very high. By ac­quir­ing these, you are ba­si­cally bor­row­ing the same money ev­ery month to pay off what you owe. This means not go­ing any­where in terms of free­ing your­self from debt.’’ Kunene ad­vises that we all try to get out of debt and stop us­ing such loans as safety nets as they push you fur­ther down the poverty pit.


Hav­ing a vi­sion board helps you stay on course and re­minds you of the big­ger pic­ture. “This will help you stick to your bud­get and not over­spend. A fi­nan­cial vi­sion board al­lows you to make ad­just­ments if the need arises. If you do well, don’t be scared to re­ward your­self to keep you mo­ti­vated,” Mchunu adds.

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