Managing finances can be difficult sometimes; we all want to have money but not everyone is willing to do what it takes to grow the money. The ultimate goal is to secure financial security, ensuring that you are able to cater for your immediate needs, fund your lifestyle and have enough savings for emergencies. As we get older, it becomes clearer that what makes us wealthy is not how much we earn but how we can systematically use a proportion of the income we earn to build assets that pay us overtime.
So what exactly do you want to achieve with your money? What plans have you made to ensure your financial goals are achieved? These 5 smart money tips from the book, Smart Money Woman by Arese Ugwu, can help you restructure your finances and plan for the future.
TRACK YOUR EXPENSES: Many people don’t know where their money goes; it is very important to track the expenses in your personal life – what percentage of your income goes to food, fuel for your car, clothes etc. It’s very important that you become the CFO of your life and learn to take control of the income you earn; learn to spend with intention by allocating your resources to reflect the lifestyle you’re able to afford. If you don’t treat the money you earn with respect, it will leave you with respect.
SLAY YOUR DEBTS: Debts can be very tempting considering how easy these money lending companies have made it look; imagine how excited it feels to see your balance rise from 0.00 to millions within 24 hours. Debts can be a useful tool but how you use it matters – only borrow to acquire assets that will appreciate in value. Smart people use debt as a tool to leverage their investments and grow their cash flow but aloof people take debts to buy things their income cannot support e.g. borrow to purchase vacation tickets that don’t appreciate in value and can’t cover the cost of the debt over time.
BUILD AN EMERGENCY FUND: this is the cushion that serves as a financial safety net that protects your long term investments from short term unexpected expenses. Some people would have spent their entire salary even before pay day because they have given out post-dated cheques to settle debts or to pay for items purchased on credit. What if you suddenly lost your job or source of income? Would you be able to afford your living expenses for at least six months? Don’t wait for financial surprises, you should systematically save towards emergencies because this is the foundation of your financial journey.
DEVELOP A SUSTAINABLE BUDGET: one of the biggest issues people face with money is not knowing how to save. This is not rocket science or anything too serious; a budget is something that helps you allocate your resources to the right places an should reflect what you value starting with the things categorized as top priority in your ‘needs’ list not ‘wants’. You should never allow your money to be pulled in different directions, it is advisable to have a spending plan; with a budget, you will have a full understanding of what your income can support.
YOUR NETWORK IS YOUR NET-WORTH: A person’s ability to attract wealth is tightly linked to how well they are able to grow and leverage their network to take advantage of opportunities. Who is in your circle of friends? What professional organisation do you belong to and how active are you in that organisation? Having an extensive network allows you to maximize your potential. The business or job opportunities you’ll have access to will come from your ability to harness your network and learn how to convert that network into opportunities. The more people you are able to reach and influence, the more likely you are to attract new businesses, gain access to partnerships or raise funding for your business.
Building wealth is not about how much you earn but how much of your income you are able to convert to assets that can provide you with an income in the future.