2018 New Year Resolution- Financial Freedom
Chances are you did take some time to muse about life, relationships, faith, career and money, as part of the New Year ritual to change the way you look at yourself, and anticipate a better you in 2018. If this is your first time having new year resolutions, then I suggest you start with overhauling your money or financial life. Every day, we make money decisions whether we know it or not. Unlike cars and phones that come with manual books, money doesn’t have instructions on how we should use it. Most of us started using money before we even knew how to spend it or use it wisely. When it comes with money, the reality is there is no aspect of life outside the scope of money. Whether it is paying rent, buying food, paying for college, saving to build a house, or helping a family, knowing what money can do or not do can help you attain financial freedom resulting in a life of meaning and purpose. Without financial discipline, it is possible to lose financial freedom in the golden years of retirement.
Here are a few steps you might consider to help you gain control of your finances:
Start Where You Are
“It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury…” Proverbs 19:10. It is not wise to spend money on things you can’t afford. The first place to start a conversation about money is not with how much money you have or don’t have, but with questions to help you remember your earliest childhood memories about money. Questions like what did your parents teach you or didn’t teach you about money could help you to connect the dots regarding your spending appetites or your savings habits. I personally remember both my parents as savers; my mother had a savings account (I do have her book as a souvenir) with then Zambia National Building Society ( ZNBS) and father used to bank with Barclays bank. By the time I was in grade 7, I opened my first savings account with the Post Office. If anyone gives me the money, I will first put it in the bank before I can spend it. Although it seems rather obvious, I still think that brutal self-examinations is the beginning of change or as Socrates put it-an unexamined life is not worth living. So many people have attained financial freedom without much money to start with and or finance additional investments.
Now it is your turn to look at your past and current money experience.
Open Saving Accounts
If you haven't done so already, it is advisable to have two savings accounts; one for emergency and the other for retirement. You need one account you can easily access money in times of emergency, and you need a savings account with withdrawal options ranging from 9 months to 5 years. Both of these saving accounts offer savings advantages that can add up to a significant amount money over a period of time. The idea is that there is a financial investment opportunity for everyone, from casual first-time savers to more experienced savers. Once you understand the variety of saving accounts available, you can find the ones that can help you reach your financial goals.
Get in the Habit of checking your Bank Statement
Not to sound cliché, but financial knowledge is power. There are so many ways to find opportunities that will help you attain financial success. It is important get in the habit of checking the bank statement every month. This happen and it is possible to have inaccurate transactions posted to the account. The sooner you identify erroneous transactions on the bank statement the easier it is to correct them. Review progress on your savings to identify opportunities for switching to high-yield savings account to earn more interest, and save on unnecessary bank fees. There is no quick fix to attain financial freedom. The important thing is to constantly and persistently find ways to stay motivated to be successful financially. Subscribe in print and online: Tel: +260 977 754 890 / 0967799089 | www.zambiabusinesstimes.com
Start living on a Budget
Start Creating Your Financial Wealth Today
Here is how your wealth will look like by age:
If your financial resolution was to save more money, then coming up with a budget will force you to you to follow through with sticking to a saving-spending plan. The good news is that a budget doesn’t have to be complicated. You can use a note book for easy tracking of expenses or label a bunch of envelopes and fill them with the appropriate amount of cash for each expense or use excel budget templates if you already have Microsoft Excel on your computer or other available online budget tools (PearBudget, Level Money and GnuCash).
In my family my mother and my elder sister (she was good with numbers) were responsible for making a budget and it was a transparent process with input from whoever was available. Looking back at the budget process making in my family, by making the budget as a family affair, my parents wanted to be transparent with us regarding how much income the family needed to live a modest living in the mines. Additionally, my parents wanted us to have the firsthand experience understanding the family’s financial struggles. I am of the belief that our childhood memories of finances, whether we admit them or not still influences us how we relate to money, even today. Allowing kids to be part of the family budget making is a sure way to mentor them to prepare themselves for whatever financial situations life will throw at them.
When it comes to money, it is never too late to start creating wealth. You may not have come from a family like mine with the luxury to learning about finances. The good news is that you can get serious today and take the above right financial steps to control your spending appetite, control your budget and thus take control of your life, live a happy life thereafter. Albert Einstein once was said, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it ... he who doesn't ... pays it.” Whether or not he said, the universe truth about compounding interest has become the bedrock of finance and banking. Start small and keep it simple. For example, by just saving K50 every week from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018, you will have K2,600 in your savings account as itemized below:
By just incorporating these steps as part of your 2018 new year resolutions, you will be joining ranks with millions of people across the globe and probably you will be the first one in your family to have made this important decision on to increase your financial worth, to give you the peace of mind you need in your golden retirement years. Unlike other new year resolutions people make, getting control over your spending habits and by just increasing your savings has immediate visible results. Whenever you (and you will) feel discouraged with attaining financial goals remember, the words of my hero Benjamin Franklin, the man on the $100 bill, “be always at war with your vices (wasting money), at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man.”
Mr. Cecil Nsambila Mbolela, is a Zambian-American a native of Mufulira now based in Chicago with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
For comments or feedback can be reached at Cecil_22_cm@yahoo.com