piggybankAugust is Women’s Month. Many celebrated across the country last Tuesday in honour of the women who marched in protest to the Union Buildings on 9 August, 1956.

While strides have been made, each year, as a nation, we reflect on the work still to be done in overcoming the challenges women face.

Financial literacy amongst women is one of these challenges. The negative consequences of this are compounded by the fact that:

  • On average, women earn less than their male counterparts
  • Many women will, at some or other stage in their career, take time off work to care for family
  • More and more households are headed by women, who are the primary breadwinners

In certain circles, successful career women are still frowned upon instead of being celebrated.

These challenges will take some time to resolve. The first step is to empower women through promoting financial literacy and enabling them to become financially independent. The necessary information, resources and expertise are available. How can women more readily access and take advantage of them?

Consider the following:

  • Ensure you have a financial plan that suits you; if you don’t have a plan or are following one created by a partner, you may well not achieve your desired goals
  • Create a budget that works for you and stick to it
  • Women typically live longer than men and, as a result, need more retirement savings to see them through their sunset years
  • The time women spend out of employment while caring for young or elderly family members can have a significant, negative impact on their ability to save for short and long term goals. For this reason, this needs to be considered when creating a financial plan.
  • Sound financial advice from a suitably accredited planner will go a long way to ensuring you avoid costly mistakes and put the necessary steps in place to ensure you become financially independent.

women financeProverbs 31 speaks about “the virtuous wife.” The three important lessons to be taken from the passage about women and finances are to:
I. Take initiative
II. Be diligent and hard working
III. Spend and invest your money wise

Looking at how far women have come in our country in terms of achieving equality, we have many successes to celebrate. As we look to the future, women need to further empower themselves in many aspects of life, finances included.

Susan .B. Anthony said “I think the girl who is able to earn her own living and pay her own way should be as happy as anybody on earth. The sense of independence and security is very sweet”. Become the independent financial woman you are meant to be.

Lesetja Madiba is a Financial Wellness Consultant at Citadel.

u growthWe are well into the second half of the year. Tax season is in full swing. Savings Month has come and gone. The much anticipated local government elections are behind us and we eagerly await to hear the results. Watching the election campaigns of the various parties, there was a strong focus on the future and how we can move our country forward. This is something we need to reflect on ourselves as well: if we want to be financially independent in the future, we need to make that choice today so that we can put the necessary steps in place to make it happen.

The same process that we apply when choosing a local government official applies in personal financial planning as well:
1. Reflection. Review your income and expenses for the past few months and identify where you can cut back and where you can save.
2. Planning. Create a budget, stick to it and review it regularly to ensure you can meet your needs both now and in the future.
3. Support. If you are married, ensure your spouse is involved in the budgeting process and get the support you need from those around you so that you can be held accountable for doing what’s necessary to achieve your goals.
4. Execution. The best financial plan in the world is worth nothing if it is not implemented. Ensure that the decisions you make every day are in line with your plan

Having a financial plan is not only for the elite. In fact, studies have shown that people of all income levels can benefit from a financial plan.

It has been said: “If you fail to plan you are planning to fail”. Avoid financial failure by making the necessary plans today; it is a “vote” for your future well-being.

1 Corinthians 4:2 says: “Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy”. We need to be good stewards of our finances because not doing so will lead us into financial distress. While following a sound financial plan will not remove all financial stress, it will go a long way towards reducing it.

Lesetja Madiba is a Financial Wellness Consultant at Citadel.

How to Save Money While in CollegeIt is National Savings Month and in our last discussion we talked about some of the more important reasons to save. The importance of getting debt to manageable levels and then budgeting and monitoring our spending was highlighted. With consumers under pressure at present, where does the money we know we should be saving come from?

The answer is that you will find it when you start distinguishing between your wants and needs. Look at your budget and identify the little “luxury” purchases that could be sacrificed to enable you to save for your future or pay off your debt faster (and in this way reduce the amount of interest you owe overall). Here are a few ideas to help you on your way:

  • Cut back on entertainment. This is one area that can quickly drain resources which could otherwise have been used more wisely.
  • Eliminate “bad habits”. For the sake of your pocket – and your health – cut back on such habits as smoking, drinking, and consuming sugary sweets: your wallet and your waistline will be all the better for it.
  • Shop with a list. This way, you are less likely to fill your basket with unnecessary items, which are typically the biggest culprits when it comes to inflated grocery bills.
  • Avoid “retail therapy”. Don’t use spending as a way to relieve stress or please people, find healthier ways to relax and make people happy.

A wise man once said, “Wisdom does today what it will be happy with tomorrow”. While spending money may feel good, you need to consider how “good” you will feel about your choices in the future.

Proverbs 21:17 says, “He who loves pleasure will be a poor man. He who loves wine and oil will not be rich”.

In this passage, the Bible speaks against wasting your finances and spending unwisely. Some people go to extreme lengths in order to save money. In all likelihood, you don’t have to turn off your car engine when travelling downhill or sit at home in the dark in order to save money. Reviewing your recent purchases and eliminating wasteful spending will go a long way to getting you there. Make the sacrifices you need to today in order to reap the rewards tomorrow.

Lesetja Madiba is a Financial Wellness Consultant at Citadel.

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Finance on Friday

Personal Financial Coaching with Lesetja Madiba

IMG 3437Lesetja Madiba is a Financial Wellness Consultant and has a B.Comm Statistics.
He discusses Personal Finances live on a Friday during Changing Gear at 17h00.
Podcasts of these talks are also available.
Click HERE  for Lesetja's Profile and contact details.
Click HERE to read Lesetja's latest Financial Advice Blog.

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