I had a great chat with Terence Tobin recently on personal finance basics. Some of the basic aspects that you can look at right now. Watch the recording and read as I elaborate on the topics discussed.
Have an accountability partner
I love the analogy that Terence uses in the chat. We all know how to do push-ups and pull-ups and the basic physical fitness exercises. But, when we pay a personal trainer at gym to show us these things, we not only take it more seriously, we’re really committed and focussed. We sometimes just need someone to help us relook at what we’re doing, and make sure we’re doing things properly.
An accountability partner could be a trusted friend or family member, or an independent financial adviser. The important thing however is that the person you choose is qualified to offer financial advice, and be independent.
You can book a free introductory session with Terence if you are interested to find out what he can offer.
Do you need a budget?
People cringe when they hear the B-word. Budgeting.
Budgeting however is one of the crucial personal finance basics. If you can get this right, you’re well on your way to financial success.
Budgeting is simply making a plan of where to spend your money based on what you know now, your priorities and upcoming expenses. It’s not meant to be restrictive and painful. The point of a budget is really to help you know how much money you can spend on various things in order to make it through the month.
Take a look at this Budgeting 101 series which will give you perspectives from different people on their own budgets, as well as a workbook to help you get started.
Insurances are one of the basics of personal finance that are often overlooked. They’re a “grudge” expense. Something that we don’t want to pay as we may not ever get the benefit from it. However, not having insurance can cost us dearly!
When thinking about insurance, it’s
- Life Insurance – a payout that you will never see, but which will hugely assist your family after death,
- Short-term insurance (car and household insurance),
- Income protection for if you lose your income or are unable to earn an income,
- Disability cover,
- Dread Disease cover,
- Medical Aid,
- Gap Cover
Personally I prefer to use an independent financial advisor to assist me with these products. I don’t have the time nor expertise to find comparative quotes on all of these.
You may not need all these insurances right now, but it’s worth chatting to someone to understand your circumstances and get proper advice. You may possibly even be over-insured if you have bought several policies and this may be a place to save some money.
Planning for the inevitable
Death and taxes are said to be the only certain things in life (Benjamin Franklin). So, let’s plan for death and make it as simple as possible for those we leave behind.
Firstly, you need a Will. Without a Will you essentially allow the government to dictate how your assets are distributed. Why would you do that?
You also need to have a folder that contains details of your Last Will & Testament, all your investments, important contacts, and other important information. Let your family know where this folder is stored. It may sound morbid, but it will really make things simpler for your family afterwards.
It’s also useful that someone can access your emails and social media accounts so that accounts can be closed and your online presence be deleted.
It’s not nice to think about what happens when you die, but it’s necessary every now and then.
Common sense about money matters
Some common sense matters are to let your spouse or partner know about any cryptocurrencies you may have and how to access them. If no-one can access your Bitcoin after you die, they will simply lost is the cyberspace. Sounds weird but it’s true. So if you have any cryptocurrency investments, even if they are not worth much, document the details of how to access them. I like to use the Luno app – why not give it a try?
Personal finance basics
These are some of the personal finance basics. Nothing too hard or too complicated. In fact, nothing about your personal finances should be too complicated.
While you’re here why not take the Financial Health test ands where you need to improve.
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Good round up – I prefer to use the term “allowance” over budget; psychologically it is freeing vs the restriction of the budget. Something that most financial advisors won’t talk about, because their job is to help people with savings and investing, is that saving is more important than investing until you reach a certain level. You need about $100,000 before investing makes a difference. So when you are starting out don’t worry so much about how much you make. Concentrate instead on how much you keep.