Bertie Nel, Head of Financial Planning and Advice at Momentum
Holistic wellness has been a popular topic in recent years. Mental, physical, and spiritual health have been at the forefront of our wellbeing, but how good is it if we are suffering in one fundamental way? In many households, financial wellness often takes a backseat, resulting in a potential cascade of added mental, physical, and spiritual struggles.
According to Bertie Nel, Head of Financial Planning and Advice at Momentum, financial wellness is essential to our overall wellbeing. A lot hinges on understanding your finances, controlling spending, cultivating healthy saving habits, and planning to achieve your financial goals.
“It is not about having a lot of money at your disposal, but rather about how you manage your finances to align with your financial goals. Becoming financially healthy may seem daunting, but with the right mindset and approach, it can be achieved,” Nel says.
Nel notes that physical and financial health work hand-in-hand. A solid financial plan requires a foundation of good health because when you are physically healthy, you are more likely to make sound financial decisions.
He shares the following four tips for improving your financial health.
Set financial goals
One of the first pitstops on the journey to financial success is setting clear and achievable financial goals. This is a yardstick for saving, investing, and spending and helps cement what you want to achieve within a specific timeframe.
“Numerous factors, such as circumstances, environment and values, can influence financial goals, which are unique to the person and can be short-, medium- or long-term goals depending on the situation,” he says.
Whether it is paying off debt, saving for a home, or building an emergency fund, he says clear goals help you to stay focused and motivated.
Create a budget
A budget is a powerful tool that can help you take control of your finances. By tracking your income and expenses, you can identify areas where you can spend less and save money. This can also help you to avoid overspending and accumulating debt.
“Setting up a budget puts you in control of your finances. Having a budget ensures you know exactly where your money is going, and you don’t have to worry out about running out of money before the end of the month. Additionally, saving becomes easier once you’ve set a budget. It is also important to factor in your physical wellness journey on your financial plan,” he says.
Live within your means
Living within your means is spending less than you earn. While this may sound relatively easy to achieve, the latest Momentum Unisa Household Financial Wellness Index reveals that too many South Africans are living beyond their means.
The index indicates that almost 70% of financially distressed households struggle to cover monthly expenses and pay bills. More astonishing is that even financially well households find it difficult to pay their bills and service their debt.
“It’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of consumerism and overspend on things you don’t need. Living within your means is crucial to achieving financial wellness,” he says.
Save for the future
Saving is not only essential to achieving your financial goals, but also to wellness overall. Regardless of the financial goal you are saving towards, saving money can provide financial security and stability.
“Even a little can go far in the long run. Don’t be afraid to save what little you have and be prepared for a rainy day, or whatever comes your way,” he says.
These are four easy steps to follow to improve your financial health. “If you feel you are financially unhealthy, it is never too late to redesign your financial future and financial advisers can help you with that. Remember, your financial journey to success is in your hands. You are the architect of your financial future and can change the narrative anytime!” Nel concludes.