Sunday, 13 January 2013

A New Year’s Resolution for 2013

At the start of every calendar year, we take the opportunity to look at the past year and decide which things we wish to change. We then call these promises we make to ourselves “resolutions” because we promise to stop doing a negative habit in the future. For 2013, I want you to not only think of your bad habits you want to change, but also add a new “good habit”.

For the year ahead, promise yourself to “Mind Your Own Business”.

On the one side, this advice means that you should not poke your nose into the affairs of others or to put it better, “If it is not your business, do not make it your burden”. The second meaning is for you to look after your money affairs wisely – as if YOU are your own business. It is this second meaning that I wish you to take to heart this year.

Many of us are very hard working and conscientious towards our employee and make doubly sure that we look after the “boss’s money”. It is this same attitude we need to have towards our own money. Start with a simple exercise. Make up a table of four columns with the headings Month, Income, Spending and Saved. Now write down how much you earned every month of 2012, with the amounts you earned, spent and saved. If you are anything like me, you probably have very little in the last column. That is why we need to change our habits for the year ahead. We want to put some away for our holidays at the end of the year, and more importantly so we can have a January 2014 with some money in our pockets.

If you have good financial discipline, you should be able to save around 10% of your monthly salary and in this way be able to save the equivalent of at least a month’s salary by the end of the year. In other words you will be able to give yourself a thirteenth cheque.

If you struggle to save and not touch the money that is left in your account, consider opening a unit trust account through a financial advisor. The benefits are that the money can be directly debited off your account every month, you can increase the amounts quite easily and it takes around 2 working days to get your money after you inform the institution you wish to sell your unit trusts. Keep in mind, though you are able to get this investment amount out easily, it is suggested you use unit trusts as a medium- to long-term investment strategy for the best results.

With a small start (and less risk of failure because of small steps at a time), you can soon be seeing an improvement in your bank balance and in your mental health because of less worries.

Mind Your Business Online
As the New Year started, the newspapers have been reporting an increase in cyber-crime.
As we become more involved with online and mobile banking remember the following advice to ensure your personal business is protected:
·         Never reply to emails with personal information. No matter how good the email looks, no bank or financial service provider will use email to check your details.
·         Never click a link in an email to go to your banking web site.
·         Use a unique (and different) password on every site.
·         Use 2-factor authentication whenever possible. For example a pin code device in addition to your site password.
·         Be careful what you write online. You never know when a possible job interview can turn out bad because of what you wrote on Facebook or elsewhere.
·         Password protect your devices such as your cellular phone and computer.

I wish all the readers of the Namibian a prosperous, healthy and wealthy 2013. May we all work together in making our country more consumer friendly for the benefit of its residents and all its visitors.

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