Priya Naicker, Advice Manager at Old Mutual Personal Finance, says to be fair, you may not have anticipated the impact of a 1% increase in a VAT, or an 82c increase in the petrol price.
Rising prices can make it harder to stay on track. Yet according to Naicker, making financial planning a part of your lifestyle can help overcome the challenges associated with fluctuating prices and uncertainty.
“This essential financial health check can also serve as the motivator you need to adjust your spending behaviour and priorities along the way,” says Naicker.
“Revisit your goals or create new ones and allow yourself to be inspired into action towards achieving them. Set yourself up for success by not only planning for short-term goals, but also medium- and long-term aspirations.”
Naicker suggests the following steps to spring-clean your finances:
Things change – check in with your goals
Refer back to the financial goals you jotted down at the start of the year, and decide if these are still relevant and practical.
“Life is a journey and as we move through it, our needs and ability to fund these change. If you’ve changed jobs or married, for example, it’s important to talk to your financial adviser about adjusting your financial plan accordingly.”
Consistent check-ins will allow you to make a step change early on.
Pause and reflect
Knowing what you want to achieve and why are key to keeping yourself on track towards achieving your goals.
By pausing and reflecting you give yourself time to detach from the part of your brain that acts on impulse. Instead, it becomes a time to objectively identify achievements or learnings and what these mean for your plan,” says Naicker.
You are also likely to realise that setbacks are opportunities to fuel lasting behavioural improvements and resilience.
Turn inspiration into action
“Take action towards setting your goals in motion. Create a financial plan and begin putting solutions in place that help you achieve your dreams. Whether it’s protecting your income, investing for future holidays, properties or retirement, or even taking a sabbatical, get started as soon as possible to give yourself the best chance of success. Building consistency is key.
If you’re unsure about where to start, or what the most appropriate financial vehicles are, get advice from an accredited financial adviser.
Leverage tools and technology to stay alert
Having the right tools in place can help you identify and maximise opportunities such as year-end top-up contributions to retirement annuities and tax-free savings accounts and your free annual credit record report.
The free 22seven app will deepen your insights into your own spending while also helping you keep track of your daily finances. Leverage these tools to kick-start your journey to financial wellness or sustain the momentum.
Make the rest of the year count
According to the 2018 Old Mutual Savings & Investment Monitor, if you are saving for emergencies, you are part of the responsible 43% of people who are. However, if you are part of the 57% who are not, Naicker says that it’s never too late to incorporate an emergency savings plan into the rest of the year’s financial to-do list. “Talk to your financial adviser – they’re a close ally on this journey toward achieving your financial goals,” says Naicker.