by Lori Milner: author, entrepreneur, thought leader and founder of Beyond the Dress
In ‘Own your Space; The Toolkit for the Working Woman’, my co-author Nadia Bilchik and I found it imperative to include a chapter on owning your finances. We reached out to author and speaker, Sylvia Walker, to share her insights and guidance. This is a snippet of what she had to say about how to own your finances.
‘Owning our money means owning our future. Sylvia advises we need to be proactive and take smart decisions to place yourself in the driving seat of your finances. Start by asking yourself some rather tough questions. Who is in control of my money? Do I work to enrich my life, and do I have the peace of mind that my future will be certain and exciting?
Or do I work just to service debts and pay monthly expenses? Do I have a rather vague view of my financial future? Depending on your answers, you might want to consider some of these tips:
- Live the life you can afford: Take stock of your situation, be realistic, and live a life that is within your means, not the life you want people to think you can afford. Stop waiting to win the lottery. Realize that the money you have is all you have to work with. Make it work for you.
- Balance your priorities: Avoid living for today at the expense of tomorrow. People often say they do not have money to save. The reality actually lies in how they choose to spend their money. Balancing the wants of today and the needs of tomorrow is key. Understand this, and get this right.
- Plug the holes: Draw up a budget to understand where you are spending your money. You will then be able to make informed decisions about what behaviour to change so that you can utilize your money more productively.
- Tackle your debt: Work out how much interest you are paying monthly on your debts. Now multiply that by 12 to see how much this is in a year. Don’t forget to include your home loan or car repayments in this calculation - a rather frightening picture! Start eliminating your debts by paying them off one at a time. Cut up your cards if necessary, and, with time and discipline, you will systematically bring your debts down to a more acceptable level. You can then use the money you spent each month on paying your debts to save for future goals.
- Draw up a financial plan: Some people say they will do financial planning when they have enough money. Plan with what you have, and you will end up with enough money. There is no one-size-fits all approach; rather, consult a professional financial advisor who will draw up a plan for you, and evaluate and adapt that plan annually to make sure you are on track to reaching your goals. Your plan should include a valid will, medical cover, an emergency fund, income protection (against death, disability and severe illness), as well as investment and retirement planning.
Making changes and taking control may take some time. Do not lose faith or falter. You might have cultivated some bad habits along the way, but stay focused on your end goal. The reward is simple: owning our finances means owning our future, and gives us the perfect platform on which to build success in all other spheres of our lives. We can tick that box, and focus our energy on activities and actions that ignite our passions, knowing that financially we will be secure, no matter what happens down the line.’
Here’s to owning your finances,
LORI MILNER is the engaging facilitator, thought leader and mentor known for her insightful approach to being a modern corporate woman. Her brainchild, the successful initiative Beyond the Dress, is the embodiment of her passion to empower women. Beyond the Dress has worked with South Africa’s leading corporates and empowered hundreds of women with valuable insight on how to bridge the gap between work and personal life. Clients include Siemens, Massmart, Alexander Forbes, Life Healthcare Group, RMB Private Bank and Unilever to name a few. Lori has co-authored Own Your Space: The Toolkit for the Working Woman in conjunction with Nadia Bilchik, CNN Editorial Producer. Own Your Space provides practical tools and insights gleaned from workshops held around the world and from interviews with some of South Africa’s most accomplished women to provide you with tried-and-tested techniques, tips and advice to help you boost your career, enhance your confidence and truly own your space on every level. Own Your Space is the ultimate ‘toolkit’ to unleash your true power. It’s for the woman who wants to take her career to new heights and who is ready to fulfil her true potential.
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