Based on what we see on social media, every man is tall, wears slick black suits and fancy watches, drives a sports car and lives in a mansion. But just like Batman, it’s either fantasy or, in most cases, financed with lots of debt. Yet many men still fall into the trap of measuring their self-worth based on how much money they make, what kind of job they have, and the car they drive. Luckily, there is more to being a man than the car you drive.
Here are five tips to help you keep your finances on track while dealing with the challenge of being a man in 2021:
Get the family involved
Men are thought to protect and provide for the family from a young age, spelt out by centuries of tradition. And maybe it was possible 50 years ago but with today’s high pace of life and living costs, you can’t do it alone. Managing your finances is a family effort. You will need to involve your spouse and get your kids on board. And you will have to play open cards with them when it comes to your family finances. Let them know how much you can afford to spend and what is required from them. Your ego might take a temporary dent, admitting there are limits to what you can provide, but love, peace of mind and a good credit score are more important.
Live within your means
Going into debt to appear successful is not the answer. Rather than buying a car or a slick black suit to look wealthy, live below your means, spend what you can afford and save. Being able to put your kids through university will feel a whole lot better than going from 0-100 km/hour in 6 seconds.
Stick to your investment strategy
On any given Saturday where men gather around a fire for braais or shisa nyamas, you will hear stories of how their investments grew by 60%, 80% and even 200%. For some strange reason, those investment returns disappear in the next few weeks, and they never materialise into anything more. And that is most likely because the extraordinary returns were just luck, if they were even real? I am not saying not to invest and try to grow your wealth. Instead of aiming to earn the highest possible return, rather think about whether you’re on track to retire in 20 years, pay off your mortgage, and max out your tax-free savings account. And with a well-thought-out investment plan and a bit of patience, those 60%, 80% and even 200% investment returns could eventually become a long term reality.
Ask for help
Men want to be in control and know (pretend) that they know what’s going on. However, in today’s life, juggling work, family and watching your favourite sports team, who has time to budget, review investments portfolios and set investment goals? Just like with sports, there is no “I” in team. When it comes to finances, you don’t need to know and do everything on your own. That is why everyone, including men, should find an independent licensed financial adviser to help them with their finances. A good financial adviser can assist you with all the calculations, analysis and paperwork while you focus on the more fun things like planning on how you will spend your retirement.
Learn from others
Men can learn from women when it comes to finances, benefiting from a dose of caution and prudence with money – such as being more practical when buying a car, being more cautious of debt, and doing more research before investing.
If you stick to your budget, live below your means and give up on the idea of competing with the guys on social media, you might have to pass on a few luxuries but you will have financial security.