Hello ekoyou followers, it’s nice to be with you for the first time.
The end of the 2015-16 festive season is upon us and it’s a great time to think about words like financial-house and order. Putting one’s feet-up and contemplating the next 12 months can be cathartic. For some anyway. Maybe not, if like many, you spend 120% of your annual income. However, if that sounds like you, you will have been in great company over the years alongside the likes of the New Zealand Government or Jonah Lomu (RIP).
This old cliché is actually true – ‘fail to plan, you plan to fail’ or at least under-achieve. Much more is realised by reviewing, prioritising, recording and reviewing again, and it is never too late to start.
Take it from an old head, 25 years in the financial services and planning area in New Zealand, and accountancy before that, that the basics have not changed and, also, life is full of twists-n-turns. If you have a process and structures in place you will be better prepared to navigate the financial storms and life’s events.
Money can be a difficult issue for some folk, even to talk about. Today a myriad of online assistance, calculators and apps exist, but for some you cannot beat having a good old-fashioned conversation over a coffee.
Right now is a great time to focus the mind. Boxing Day ‘week’ sales have finished and the retail fix has been satisfied. But how about drawing a line in the proverbial sand and preparing to knuckle down for 2016?
We advocate the concept that a person’s values are integral in any holistic financial planning or life planning (such as EKOYou). It is really important to have clarity of purpose and direction and this can start with a small uncomplicated question around understanding your values and feelings about money. You know, couples may have never have had this kind of conversation, even after 30 years together and being at the doorstep of retirement. Because direction allows you a better grip on how to manage money, and assists greatly making everyday spending decisions, it’s a good conversation to have.
As I thought about how to support you to be able to start your financial conversations I was reminded of this… A great kiwi icon, the CEO of Team New Zealand, asked this question of his team: ‘will this spending make the boat go faster?’ So here’s my challenge to you:
Start your money talk (with yourself or together) by examining how you’re spending your hard-earned money. If there are decisions to make as to whether you should spend it in a particular way, or next time you’re faced with an impulse to buy, ask yourself this question: “Will it help to live life on purpose?” Stopping to think about your answer to that should guide you towards the best decision about whether you should continue to, or choose to, spend in that area.
For sustainability over the long-term balance must be achieved, whether it is about diet, love, life, or budgeting. Ah, that ‘B’ word… I can hear you saying it! Yet revisiting your expenditure over 2015 could be a great way to kick-start your planning for 2016, as it provides personal benchmarks on where the money went.
Also, by downloading to Excel (or other specialist software) this can be super quick (for the competent) as a way of looking at the whole picture. Compiling a list of where your money comes from and how you spend it may be disturbing for some, but combined with an understanding of your ‘Net Position’ (assets/liabilities) this reality provides a launching pad for future progress – if you’re willing.
Generally, supporting financial literacy is poorly done in New Zealand. Westpac’s 2016 New Year Resolutions Report (Aust) shows that 70% of our neighbours across the ditch in Australia will make financially-focused goals and pledge savings of Aus$21billion in 2016. Very impressive, but what about retirement? Savings goals ranged from travel and holidays, home renovation and rainy-day funds. Given that saving is not easy for most, and spending opportunities bombard us daily, it’s time to get smarter about planning for financial wellness long-term.
Life is full-on but a quick review of your 2015 spend and application of funds can be a good benchmark to go forward for the year.
I hope I’ve given you something to think about and a refresher of some things you may have heard before but have forgotten. Please feel free to share with me in the comments under this post, and let me know what other topics you might like me to talk about, so I can best support you to better financial wellness.
See you soon, and next time I’ll bring you tips on better cash management.
Until then, get talking money!
All the best,