Putting Your Finances on Track for 2019 4


Happy new year my dear readers! (Hope it’s not too late to say that, lol) Another year has gone by in a blink of an eye and time for the whole “new year, new me” shindig. Some of us have come up with resolutions for the year and that’s great! Things like “lose weight” or even “keep my finances on track” are good things to look into but setting goals is only part of the battle. Most of the work comes from being disciplined!

When it comes to money, it’s important to pause and review. That’s why accountants and auditors have a pretty hectic time when it comes to checking and closing the books! So what should we be looking at when the new year just rolled over?

Money goals for 2019 – Are your finances on track?

Honestly, I just thought of this little titbit (weeks ago by the time this is edited). We get our wages, bank takes a cut for loans and we buy stuff we want; that’s the normal cycle of life, right? Now, the question is, can there be more to this? It’s a good time to sit down and reflect on how you are financially for the last year and if you’d want to do anything different for this year. These goals will be your roadmap to improve on not just your money matters but overall life goals as well!

So what should you look into?

1. Savings plan

If you’ve been following me along, I’ve always talked about saving up. So what can you improve on your savings?

a. Savings rate

Savings rate is the percentage you put aside every month as a Type A saver. Assuming you already have a habit of saving up, consider this: is it possible to up the savings rate slightly more?

b. Savings goal

One way to visualise your savings is to think about how much you’d want to save within a timeline e.g. by December 2019. Think of what you’re saving for and what you’re going to do with it! Could be for something nice and shiny, or simply having an amount set aside for a rainy day?

2. Splurging habit

Surprisingly, a lot of people “can’t save”! Many people can save up short term but once we see a large sum sitting in the bank account, we start thinking “wow, I could buy x with this amount!” and the temptation monster starts scratching at us. And frankly, I’m as immune to temptation as the next guy.

One way to counter this is to have a “fun fund” which may consist of 5-10% of your pay to basically spend on anything you like; guilt free! So now you have a way to satisfy with small, controlled splurges and your savings will thank you for it!

3. Investment plan

We all want to invest. I’ve heard it countless times from friends, families and acquaintances alike. But what to invest in; that’s the million dollar question (sometimes literally). Think about what you should invest in, in terms of:

  • Returns desired (how many % do you want?)
  • Risk appetite
  • How well you know the investment vehicle

Learn and research, ask financial professionals, absorb and process the information. This will allow you to pick and invest in what’s right for you.

4. Debt status

We’ve always thought Bruneians are pretty comfortable (sometimes too comfortable) with debt. If you got some overdraft, personal loan or credit card debt, it’s time to have a look at how much you’re owing. The reason being you should think about paying these down because of their interest rates:

  1. Overdraft = ~7%
  2. Personal loan = ~7%
  3. Credit card = 18%

The percentages are considered quite high so even if you’re investing regularly, at the end of the day, any profits would be nullified by the debt interest!

5. Financial goals

Things that we dream about should be revisited too. Is that dream still viable? How far are you from it? Goals like buying a car or house is pretty simple to track; basically saving up for down payment or cash purchase. What about plans of retirement; how much do you need to invest to get to a good enough state to retire?

Regardless of our goals, without monitoring we’re feeling around blindly and hoping we will reach it. Imagine going on a diet and not weighing yourself or checking your body fat percentage; how would you know it’s working?

Conclusion

Checking and realigning ourselves is pretty important. If monitoring is the key to success for things like weight loss, career progression, learning skills and so on, why not keeping finances on track too? Remember that where we are will also determine the route to get to where we want to be!

Cheers to an amazing 2019 ahead, my dear Readers!

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About Fox

Founder of The Savey Fox. I am interested in how money works and makes the world go round. Borne from picking up a personal finance book when I was unemployed after University, I strive to continually learn and share about finance. Other than the big $ signs, I am an avid gamer, coffee lover and seasonal gym rat.

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4 thoughts on “Putting Your Finances on Track for 2019

  • Naz

    I like your content, keep up the good work! I wish there are more people here in Brunei who can share these kind of good stuff or experience with money especially money mistakes for young people to avoid. It is easy to fall into a debt trap and it is difficult to get out from it especially when people around you are comfortable with it and it feels like you are doing things right. You are weirdo if you dont have debt 😐

    • Fox Post author

      Thanks Naz!

      I wouldn’t call people with no debt weirdos but maybe unicorns! It’s pleasantly surprising and I’m all the more happy for them. There are good debt and bad debt to bear in mind though so even if someone has debt, it could be for the greater good! The sad trap is that most people fall for bad debt.

      • Naz

        It would be nice to have conversation with these ‘unicorn’ community.

        I agree with you on good debt and bad debt, just like what R.Kiyosaki said use debt to buy asset that generate cash and not to buy liabilities that will cost u even more money. I personally have that 18% p.a interest debt (credit card) u mentioned above, it took me lots of research before I have courage to apply for it because lots of people said credit card is the worst debt ever. Now I use credit card for my monthly needs and business expense, but I always pay it off every month to utilize discount and cashback, and I never pay a dime on interest and annual fees. The principle is simple ‘use it just like you use debit card, only spend when you have money in bank to pay it off back’, I wish I knew it earlier. Its funny that Financial Planner always tried to sell insurance instead of teaching stuff like this, or maybe it was just my bad luck to meet that kind of Financial Planner. To be honest, I don’t hate insurance but for me term life plan insurance is sufficient to do its job just like what it did for my car.

        I apologize for my ranting in your page. I’m grateful to see useful financial blog. I wish you goodluck and keep up the good work!

        Note: It will be nice to know your opinion on passive income and side hustle to increase our income that applicable in Brunei.

        • Fox Post author

          It’s great that you are utilising credit cards to the max! Remember that having a credit card is not having high interest credit debt. The credit debt refers to someone who swipes the card and just pay the minimum at the end of the month (thus accruing debt and charges). The principle you follow to clear at the end of the month is admirable!

          I think it’s quite unfortunate that you’ve encountered planners like that. Financial Planners usually will do their best to educate the individuals on their financial status. However, they most likely will represent a financial institution like a bank or insurance company so they also do and likely will recommend proper courses of action. These recommendations may be a mix of different tools, insurance being one of them. Term is great; I personally have it but you could be missing out on some products that can serve you better on the whole, doesn’t hurt to shop!

          Don’t be sorry for the comment! I do appreciate and enjoy you taking the time to write your thoughts on here!

          As for passive income, over time, I seem to believe there’s no truly “passive” income. It can be passive to a certain extent but something you “set and forget” seems to be something I haven’t encountered yet. Oftentimes, you would need to check in and see how everything’s going and adjust when needed. Unless you’re investing in a startup and taking part of the profits, maybe that’ll be passive. Another example is investing in fixed income investments that pay out over time. Side hustles on the other hand is a whole new ballgame. There’s just so many things that can be started and opportunities seized with the right skills that I can’t seem to contain it to a paragraph!

          Hope this answers a bit of what you’re wondering!