by Sylvia Walker, author of SmartWoman
It’s always easy to start something new, but not always easy to stay the course. Starting a new project, a new business or even an investment plan, for that matter, is exciting - you have a vision of where you are headed and you are fired up, motivated and focused.
Then reality sets in. Excitement gives way to routine and other aspects may start taking priority in your life. Coupled to this are the inevitable obstacles. Life will challenge us on all fronts, and when it comes to investing, it is no different.
We live in challenging financial times with the cost of living on an ever increasing upward trajectory. Our currency is worth less and less it seems every month, and we just have to work so much harder to maintain a standard of living. It’s easy to give up on tomorrow when your focus is all about making things work today.
Here are some tips on how to stay focused and how to make smart decisions when faced with financial challenges:
- Don’t forget why you started the investment – draw up a vision board or write your goals and dreams down somewhere prominent where you can see them. I know of people who have notes stuck to their bathroom mirror or other strategic places, so they can be constantly reminded of what their goals and priorities are. Do what it takes to keep your end goal top of mind.
- If you have a genuine financial crisis, such as your business suffering a setback, or you are retrenched, avoid the temptation to cash in your investments. This should be a very last resort as you will battle to make up the growth that you have achieved to date.
- If you need to decrease your monthly investment, consider this first –either halve or even further reduce what you are contributing. At worst, stop contributing, but leave the investment to grow.
- Select investment vehicles that are flexible and will allow you to make changes and adapt as your life circumstances change. Being locked into an investment for a fixed period, with penalties if you change the terms, is not a good idea at all.
Stay true to yourself and your financial goals – never lose focus and reap the rewards. Remember, there is no substitute for the power of compound growth and to reap the rewards takes time. You can rather invest a little over a long time, than a lot, over a short period of time.
Sylvia Walker is highly skilled and experienced in the financial services industry, having spent a large part of her career as a marketing manager for a blue-chip company. During this time, she worked closely with the media, conducting hundreds of presentations, doing radio and TV interviews and writing many articles for publications such as O, the Oprah magazine, Good Housekeeping / Goeie Huishouding, Sarie, The Mercury, Plus 50 and many others. She left the corporate world at the end of 2014 to pursue her interests further afield. She is also a published author. She contributed chapters on financial planning in Mary Ann Shearer’s Take Control the Natural Way and Nadia Bilchik and Lori Milner’s Own Your Space. She authored Dealing in Death – Ellen Pakkies and a Community’s Struggle with Tik and co-authored Steeped in Blood, the memoirs of Dr David Klatzow, which was shortlisted for the Alan Paton Award in 2011. She also co-authored and published Reflections for Old Mutual in 2013. Sylvia is currently a financial planner, writes articles, and conducts workshops on various aspects of financial literacy and planning. She is also the resident financial guru on the Cape Talk Early Breakfast Show, and is on air every Friday morning. Her latest book, SmartWoman, has just been published, and is a culmination of many years of experience in advising women on how to gain financial freedom and grow their wealth. SylviaWalker.co.za
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