debtfreeThe Mental, Psychological, Emotional & Spiritual Aspects of Financial Freedom

How we behave with money is deeply rooted in how we think, feel and what we believe about money. Fear is the number one culprit and can be very crippling when it comes to our financial freedom. Often it stifles one and stops them from taking action to achieve their goals. However, we must realise that fear is just a paralysing emotion which makes you worry about what could possibly occur in the future.
Often, instead of confronting and facing those money fears, we hide them and avoid them. This is the opposite of what needs to be done, should we desire to conquer them: “What you deny/ignore, you delay; what you accept & face, you conquer”.
I shall focus on the different aspects that contribute to our financial well-being:

Mental & Psychological

  1. Think long term and not short term (do not plan for just the next 30 days)
  2. Refuse to listen to the negative voices in your head.
    a) Be deaf to negative criticism
    b) Be vigilant of the self-talk; feed yourself positive thoughts about money.
  3. You are your own rescue; hold yourself accountable of your financial well-being.
    a) Build your resilience (Bouncing back attitude from your past financial mistakes)
    b) Discipline and commitment on your financial plan and/or budget (not easy but doable)
    c) Are you willing to do something you have not done before i.e. reinvent yourself, your lifestyle to improve your financial well-being (conviction & convenience don’t live in the same house) 
  4. Be realistic and confront your breakdowns. In order for them to breakdown, something has to break down
    a) A break down is something in your life which is not the way you would like/want it. It is important to be authentic and transparent about what is not working in your finances.
  5. Focus on what you can control

Emotional

  1. Do not worry about money alone
    a) Have someone to talk to & discuss with regarding your financial concerns. Get into contact a a financial advisor/wealth planner.
  2. Be specific & get the facts of what is concerning you about money at that moment
  3. Confront personal demons around money which result from childhood lessons and past experiences
    a) Deal with past & current financial fears
    b) Emotional debt (i.e. not wanting to eat cabbage because you feel you ate it too much growing up). Confront the emotions (resentment & pain). The solution is to have a clear financial vision 
    c) Go into your financial story/history and what has led you to where you are financially. Become aware of your relationship with money, what does having money mean for you (i.e. security, love,power, significance) Determine your emotional needs which you need satisfied through money.(e.g. contribution, significance, security, variety, growth etc.)
  4. Cultivate a spirit of gratitude
    a) Celebrate all milestones (e.g. sticking to your budget or paying off one debt, saving a little extra etc.)
    b) Literally, count your blessings. Enjoy and be content with what you have.
  5.  It is important to manage your emotions when it comes to financial freedom
    a) Instant gratification has painful after taste, thus, avoid impulsive buying at all costs
    b) Avoid the “get now pay later” syndrome. i.e. credit purchases
    c) The myth is that emotional spending is only a challenge/issue for females. The truth is, it's equally concerning for both genders (men & women)

Spiritual

  1. Acknowledge the source of your cash inflow. Thank God for the opportunity, ability and capability to earn an income (Deuteronomy 8:18… “always remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth” )
    a) Your salary should at least stay about 24-48hours in your bank account without it being used/touched by anyone. (Romans 11:36… “everything comes from God, everything exists by His power…”)
  2. Honour God first; The principle of tithing.
    a) PROMISE=Proverbs 3:9-10… “honor the Lord by giving Him the first part of all your income and He will fill your barns to overflow”
    b) PURPOSE=Deuteronomy 14:23… “the purpose of tithing is to teach you to always put God first in your lives”
            i. To take care of widows and orphans
    c) PLACE=Malachi 3:10… “bring to my storehouse a full tenth of what you earn…test me in this…I will open the windows of Heaven for you and pour out all the blessings you need”
    d) WHEN= 1 Corinthians 16:2… “On the first day of every week put aside some of what you have earned during the week…”
            i. If you want God to bless anything, you need to put Him first in that thing similarly with your finances. (Psalm 37:4)
            ii. With the act of tithing you are showing God gratitude for the past, Acknowledging Him as the source and symbol of priority and expressing you trust in Him for the future and in being Jehova Jireh.
  3. Plan your spending: Do a budget BEFORE the month begins ON PAPER and live/abide on that written budget. Simple explanation of what a budget is that it is a tool of telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went. (Proverbs 21:5…. “Plan carefully and you will have plenty, if you act too quickly, you will never have enough”) 
    Annual forecasts are great. (Luke 14:28….”Which of you intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it”)
    Avoid impulse buying, emotional & unplanned purchases. (Proverbs 21:20… “…Stupid people spend their money as fast as they get it…”)
  4. Get out of debt and STAY out of debt. If you cannot buy it cash that means you cannot afford it - DO NOT BUY IT ON CREDIT. (Proverbs 22:7… “The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is slave to the lender”) 
    Set up a repayment plan, you did not get into debt overnight, thus you will not get out of debt overnight, but what’s important is to stay focused in the end goal being getting out of debt. (Proverbs 3:22… “Don’t withhold payments of your debts” AND Romans 13:8… “Let no debt remain outstanding”) 
    P.S. An outstanding debt means you are paying the minimum i.e. the instalment prescribed to you by the creditor.
  5. Save money faithfully (consistency is more important than the amount) and invest it (Proverbs 21:20… “In the house of the wise are stores of choice of food & oil”) The bible further states: “...And a foolish man devours all he has”
    When you save money, your money starts working for you instead of you working for your money. (Proverbs 24:27… “Develop your business first before building your house”)
  6. Foster high quality relationships (1 Corinthians15:33… Do not be deceived; evil company corrupts good habits)
    a) Mannerisms rub off
    b) Your income will be approximately 10% of the average of your 10 closest people’s income
    c) Surround yourself with people who you would like to be like and get acquainted with Financial planners
  7. Be generous (1 Corinthians 15:33… “For God loves a cheerful giver”)

LISTENER Q&A OCTOBER – NOVEMBER 

qa1. In a relationship, what is best, to manage money together or separately? (Lerato)

  • This is one of those questions that there is no easy answer to. The financed need to be managed together you cannot have two people in one relationship pulling in two different directions
  • I would like to say that the level of financial intimacy depends on the level of the relationship. If you started dating yesterday then there is no point in sharing the intricacies but when you have been together for some time and especially as you are preparing for marriage then the finances need to be discussed
  • It is up to you as a couple if you would like to have a joint account or separate accounts. Some have said that they feel that is a little invasive and some have argued that it has helped to keep them accountable because they then think twice before spending
  • It is a difficult conversation but one that needs to be had. Remember that a relationship is a partnership, love shouldn’t be given in exchange for monetary rewards.

2. Any advice on how best to make use of the 13th cheque? (Themba)

  • Themba thanx for such a question. It is a question with a wide range of answers. There are quite a few things that one can do with that 13th pay cheque. However ultimately it should help relieve some financial pressure
  • .One of the things I have emphasised in the “Surviving the Festive Season” Series is proper and careful planning. 
  • The 13th pay cheque shouldn’t be seen as a license to spend more or to make larger purchases.
  • Think of how your 13th pay cheque could pay for school fees in January for the children, stationary or uniform
  • You could start an investment with some of it
  • Pay off debt or at least reduce the debt

3. So I recently got a lump sum of money from my shares. I have a dilemma. I got involved in a car accident a few months ago, car was a write off and didn’t get much out of it. I need a new car, hence my dilemma, I have enough to buy cash a second hand car using money from my shares money, or should I use the money to put in a huge deposit for a brand new car? (Ashton)

  • The short answer is avoid debt.
  • If the shares were cashed with the sole purpose of getting the car and that was the plan so be it
  • You just have to be very careful to take your time in looking and make sure you get value for your money
  • Remember that your need is Transport don’t cloud it with fancy optional extras, it often happens we have a legitimate need and then want to add things we shouldn’t be adding.
  • Things like mag rims, leather seats and music systems are all great but sticking to the essentials will save you money and might even leave you with change

4. When times are tough, which often is the case, is it wise to borrow from one’s savings or should just one get a separate loan? (Simba)

  • Before one thinks of borrowing the day to day finances should be managed with a strict budget and what we can a daily budget diary. Once those things are recorded and you know exactly where the money is going you can look at cutting back
  • No matter how much one has discipline is required
  • If it does happen that one needs to borrow then its better to avoid a paying interest, as long as you will then make changes in your finances to pay yourself back
  • Loans and debt are made so glamorous and at times people would have survived without the loans. Before borrowing you should have exhausted every other cost cutting avenue and it should be an absolute last resort
  • While a loan may provide temporary relief, you don’t want to get into a cycle of debt. Always remember that the money needs to be paid back. Not making loan repayments has other implications

Lesetja Madiba is a Financial Wellness Consultant at Citadel.

SURVIVING THE FESTIVE SEASON PT 1

Christmas Savings 149x225Christmas decorations have started coming up, summer is in full swing just about and most of us are quite ready for holiday. We look forward to the Christmas season but it can quickly become a financial obstacle course. As we will be trying to dodge all the different expenses.

If we are to survive the festive season and come out of it financially well there are quite a lot of situations we need to navigate wisely. The festive season sees consumer spending reach a maximum and research in the past has shown that despite negative economic outlooks South Africans continue to spend. If you are to survive the festive season, here are a few things one has to consider and watch out for:

  • Start to plan your finances. Be it the Christmas lunch or a few days away plan these and budget for these things.
  • Decorations go up, the store layout changes and so does the music. All of these things are in an effort to keep you in the store longer. The longer you stay inside a store the more likely you are to make a purchase.
  • It is the season of “Sensational advertising”. After seeing/hearing certain adverts we often feel we can’t live without the products advertised. You have survived so far, don’t fall for it
  • The festive season and special occasions don’t change dates, we know they are coming so do the wise thing to have a plan for them, start saving the money for them as soon as possible and avoid the last minute rush

Proverbs 12:11 says “He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, But he who pursues worthless things lacks sense”. A salary nowadays is hard earned, the bible speaks about having plenty finances (bread) if you work for it. Therefore making unnecessary purchases and wasting money is senseless.
After all if you don’t have a plan to spend your money someone else will. Start to discipline yourself heading into the festive season and come out of it financially well.

Lesetja Madiba is a Financial Wellness Consultant at Citadel.The Festive Season is Upon us

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