Tag: Financial Wellness

Love and Money

Remarks like ‘I want to marry rich’ or ‘I will marry for love and not for money’ are often uttered and as a matter of fact many people end up doing exactly that. In reality it will be difficult to divorce the two concepts of love and money within a relationship. Money does impact on relationships. Sometimes the impact is positive, but sometimes the impact is negative. Money can cause a lot of friction within a relationship. Several marriages end up in divorce as a result of money.

The lack of money can cause serious trouble within any relationship and often love is not enough to carry a couple through the uphill battles of trying to raise children, paying the bills and trying to survive. Another money challenge, potentially causing even more friction than not having money, transpires where couples do have money, but they have totally different views about money.

People’s views about money and how they treat money are to a great extent formed during their childhood. What parents teach children about money and the experience of having money or not having money during childhood years play a big role in how people react towards money when they are grown-up. Beliefs and values, thinking patterns, emotions as well as life experiences also play a role in people’s behaviour towards money.

Partners having different views about money and the value they attach to money will definitely result in friction and often financial stress too. One partner might be selfish or treat money with respect while the other partner might be a big spender. One partner might be conservative by nature when it comes to investments while the other partner is an opportunist and will jump at any money making scheme often ending up losing hard-earned money. While one partner might be comfortable living in an average neighbourhood, driving an average car and going to the beach for holiday; the other partner might consider driving expensive cars, sending the kids to private schools and splashing out on overseas trips and luxuries as a necessity. Different earning brackets can also result in tension. Do you recognise some of these scenarios in your relationship?

Money does impact on relationships and can often supersede love if the problem is not resolved in a mutually agreeable manner. The best solution for couples is to talk about money. Make an effort to understand why your partner is behaving in a certain way and also why you are behaving in a certain way when it comes to money matters. Discuss these different behaving patterns and how it impacts on the relationship and your financial wellbeing. Raise potential concerns when it occurs and don’t wait until it has evolved into a serious issue. Sit together to do financial planning. Involve each other when making financial decisions that will affect the family. Set financial goals that the whole family can relate to and buy into. Finally get everybody on the same bus on your journey towards financial wellness.

Written by Ronel Jooste

CA(SA), Financial Consultant & Coach, Blogger and Speaker

Contact Ronel: ronel@financiallyfitlife.co.za

For more information about my financial wellness programmes visit the website

Treat Someone Special on a Tight Budget

Love is in the air! It is February and Valentine’s Day is probably the one day on the annual calendar with the largest expenditure attached to it. Many people go full out to show their love for that special person on Valentine’s Day irrespective the costs involved. Unfortunately not everybody has unlimited funding to splash out during the month of love. You can still treat that someone special with a tight budget. Here are a few ideas:

  • The majority of people value time and attention more than expensive gifts. Devote your time and attention to that special person in your life.
  • Breakfast in bed is on many people’s wish list. Wake up early and prepare a delicious breakfast and serve it to your loved one in bed.
  • Prepare a candlelight dinner at home with romantic music. Buy the ingredients in advance to avoid inflated prices during this period. Preparing dinner yourself will be more cost-effective than eating out and your loved one will appreciate you for your effort.
  • Due to the commercialised nature of Valentine’s Day buying flowers during this time, is exceptionally expensive. Consider picking flowers from your garden and use your own creativity to make it look unique and special. Alternatively buy a plant or tree for the garden. It will last a long time and will create special memories as you watch it grow.
  • You can have a moonlight picnic in your own garden with delicious food, good wine, candles, playing music in the background and watching the stars.
  • Spoiling somebody with a romantic bath filled with bubble bath and rose petals, surrounded by candles and soft music while enjoying champagne and snacks is always a winning idea.
  • Movie night at home watching a love story enjoying pizza, popcorn and wine.
  • If you partner loves the spa, why not becoming a loving massage therapist for the evening? Aroma oils, creams and candles do not cost a fortune.
  • Fill the bedroom with plenty of balloons; every balloon containing a hand-written, special message.

Enjoy the month of love even if your budget is tight. It is however more important to treat your partner with respect and showing your love and appreciation throughout the year than going over-board on Valentine’s Day.

Remember to book your seat for the ‘Love & Money Finances for Couples’ workshop on 17 February.

Written by Ronel Jooste

CA(SA), Financial Consultant & Coach, Blogger and Speaker

Contact Ronel: ronel@financiallyfitlife.co.za

For more information about my financial wellness programmes visit the website

Know Your Financial Status

In the previous blogs we have thought about our financial dreams and how to set financial goals in a SMART way in order to make our dreams our reality. To achieve your financial goals, it is equally important to analyse and understand what your current financial status is. Think of it this way: if you want to drive to a certain destination (future goal), the GPS will use your current location (current financial status) to determine the best route (financial plan) for you to take to reach your final destination.

To understand your current financial status, you need to ask yourself these questions at least:

  • What is your net worth (assets less liabilities)?
  • How much is your monthly income?
  • How much is your monthly expenses?
  • How much debt do you have, what are the interest rates and repayment periods?
  • How much do you have available as an emergency fund and how much should you have?
  • How much investments do you have, what are the interest rates and how liquid are they?
  • How much do you currently have in your retirement fund and how much do you need at retirement to retire comfortably?

Write all the numbers down to obtain an overall picture of your current financial status. Spend time getting to know these numbers. To get you from your current financial status to where you want to be, you also need a proper plan. When compiling your plan:

  • Be realistic
  • Do it in detail
  • Set timeframes
  • Include calculations
  • Break it up in smaller milestones

Once you have a plan written down, you are set to go and achieve your financial goals. Like with anything else in life, you need to take action to make something happen. If you don’t take action, your goal will remain a dream. You need to make an effort putting your financial plan into action. It starts with a choice and only you can make that choice. Start small, but make a start. You will not regret it.

To calculate your net worth as well as your income and expenses, download your FREE Financial Goalsetting worksheet here.

Written by Ronel Jooste

CA(SA) and Financial Coach

Contact Ronel: ronel@financiallyfitlife.co.za

For more information about my financial wellness programmes visit the website

Master Finances: Health Terms

Since October was Breast Cancer Awareness month, we will be focussing on mastering financial terms relating to healthcare in this article.

Income Protection

What is Income Protection and why is it beneficial? Income Protection (also referred to as ‘salary protection’) is an insurance policy that covers policyholders who are unable to earn an income due to serious illness, accidents or unemployment depending on the nature of the policy. The policy pays out a monthly tax-free ‘salary’ during a period that the policyholder is not earning an income to help cover living expenses. This type of policy is very useful for people who are self-employed and don’t have paid sick leave or people losing their jobs. Make sure to understand the policy’s conditions and exclusions.

Dread Disease Cover

Dread disease cover (also referred to as severe illness or critical illness cover) is an insurance policy that covers the policyholder in the event of being diagnosed with a specific severe illness by paying out a lump sum. The illnesses that are covered are predetermined and are listed in the insurance policy. Cancer, heart attacks and strokes are typically classified as serious illnesses. Ensure that you do understand your policy in terms of any pre-existing medical conditions; the list of illnesses that are covered and to what extent as well as the exclusions.

Prescribed Minimum Benefit (PMB)

The Medical Schemes Act refers to ‘Prescribed Minimum Benefits’ or PMB. PMB is a set of defined benefits to ensure that all medical scheme members have access to certain minimum health services, regardless of the benefit option they have selected. The aim is to provide people with continuous care to improve their health and well-being and to make healthcare more affordable. Medical schemes have to cover the costs related to the diagnosis, treatment and care of:

  • any emergency medical condition;
  • a limited set of 270 medical conditions (defined in the Diagnosis Treatment Pairs);
  • and 25 chronic conditions (defined in the Chronic Disease List).

Health Insurance

Health insurance (also referred to as medical insurance) is an insurance policy that pays for medical expenses incurred by the policy holder due to illness or injury. Health insurance can pay out directly to the policyholder. Health insurance policies are issued by insurers and are governed by the Long-term Insurance Act while medical aids are governed by the Council for Medical Schemes. The policy will pay out the stated amount and can assist to cover shortfalls not covered by the medical aid. Health insurance is more affordable than medical aids but provides more limited cover. It is a good idea to have health insurance in combination with a medical aid. Contributions (premiums) paid to health insurance policies are not deductible for tax purposes.

Gap Cover

Gap cover (also known as Medical Top-Up insurance) is an insurance product that covers any shortfalls between what service providers charge for a hospital procedure or emergency surgery and what the medical aid pays from your medical scheme hospital benefit. However don’t assume that you will be covered 100% when you have gap cover in addition to your medical aid. There are certain exclusions, read the fine print of the contract.

Your Tonic for Healthy Finances

Many people strive to be healthy. Health refers to more than only having a healthy body. Optimum health includes a healthy body; a healthy mind and healthy finances. There is a direct and indirect relationship between a healthy body and financial wellbeing. Financial difficulty can result in increased stress levels; lack of sleep; reduced energy levels; eating disorders; and alcohol abuse to name a few, which could in turn impact on physical health. A lack of financial resources can also have a direct impact on being able to afford proper health care. The other side of the coin is also true – poor health or illness can ruin your financial wealth.

You often need a tonic to boost your physical health. You also need a tonic to boost your financial health. The following points will definitely act as a tonic to healthier finances:

Monitor your expenses by using a budget

Refrain from over-spending. Compile a budget and keep to it. Divide your budget into the following categories: income; savings (i.e. investments, saving for a holiday, etc.); “cannot live without expenses” (i.e. groceries, water and electricity, medical aid, etc.); “nice to have expenses” (i.e. hairdresser, DSTV, entertainment, etc.) and emergency expenses (i.e. medical expenses which are not covered by the medical aid, etc.).

 

Make saving a priority

South Africa is one of the countries with the poorest saving habits. Saving should be a priority; not something that happen on an ad-hoc basis. Save at least 10% of your monthly income after deducting tax, pension fund contributions and medical aid contributions. If you do not have any debt to repay, increase your savings to at least 30% of your monthly income.

Avoid debt at all cost

Debt is easily available which explains why more than 11 million of South Africans are over-indebted. Stay debt free as far as possible. If you cannot buy it cash, do not buy it. Whenever you have additional cash, use it to repay your debt.

An emergency fund is a necessity

Build up an emergency fund that you can use for unforeseen big expenses. Having funds available to use during an emergency gives you peace of mind especially in a medical emergency. Use the funds for real emergencies and don’t be tempted to use the money for an overseas trip or the latest fashion trends.

Take care of your health

Good medical care is expensive. Don’t underestimate the importance of having proper medical aid cover in place. It doesn’t matter how healthy, fit or strong you believe you are, it can change in a split second. If you fall ill, you want the best medical care possible. You might get away with only having a hospital plan, provided you have an emergency fund in place to cover unforeseen medical expenses.

Protect yourself and your loved ones

Hopefully you will never need it, but rather be safe than sorry. The amount of your life cover depends largely on your dependents and your level of debt. Disability cover and dread disease cover become critically important in the event of an accident or you do fall ill.

Retirement planning is crucial

Less than 6% of South Africans will be able to retire comfortably without having to drastically change their lifestyle. The younger you start planning and saving for your retirement the better. Review your retirement savings on an annual basis and adjust your contributions accordingly. Remember you also receive a tax saving for retirement contributions.

Don’t leave chaos behind when you die

Ensure that you have a will and that you keep it up to date. It is especially important to update your will when big life events happen like getting married, having children or getting divorced. Unfortunately death is a reality for all of us and you don’t want to leave chaos to your loved ones when you die.

Become financially independent

Too many women are still dependent on their partners to financially provide for them and their families. High divorce rates, crime rates, men dying young due to critical illnesses and retrenchments are a few factors that can force a woman to become the breadwinner and having to provide for herself and the family. Set a goal to become financially independent and actively strive to achieve it. You will never regret this decision.

Equip yourself with financial knowledge

Financial literacy will enable you to make good financial decisions without having to rely on partners, financial planners or employers. Read books, attend seminars, do online courses or get yourself a financial coach. You are the only person who will always have your best interest at heart.

You are the architect of your future. You can continue to be stressed about your financial situation or you can actively do something to change it. You need to exercise, eat a healthy balanced diet and get sufficient sleep to improve your physical health. Similarly you need a financial plan, discipline and knowledge to improve your financial wellbeing. Don’t neglect to drink your tonic to boost your financial health.

Unedited version of the article published in SA Womens Health, August 2017

Written by Ronel Jooste

CA(SA) and Financial Coach

Contact Ronel: ronel@physeqfit.co.za

For more information about my financial wellness programmes visit my website: www.financiallyfitlife.co.za/financial-wellness

5 Basic Principles to Healthier Finances

Often coaches and captains of sport teams who have lost will make a standard comment during the post-match interview: “We need to go back to the basics”. This comment holds true and is equally true in our daily lives and when taking care of our financial wellbeing. We often tend to underestimate the importance of applying the basics correctly. When you have a rock solid foundation, you can build any structure on top of it and it will remain solid. Therefore we are going back to the basics of good financial management:

   1. Set financial goals and have a plan

If you don’t have financial goals in life, the likelihood of you becoming wealthy and financially independent is fairly slim. Financial goals can include a variety of things and it will differ from person to person. Financial goals can include: to retire comfortably; to be able to live the lifestyle you dream of; to afford that overseas holiday; to send your children to university; to repay your bond; to start your own business; to buy a new home theatre system or those snazzy high-heels and to be able to provide for your family. Whatever your goals might be, write it down and then compile a plan to get you to achieve your goals; otherwise it will forever remain a dream and you will never realize it. When you have a goal and a plan and you are actively working towards it, you will achieve it. You can achieve anything you set your mind to if you believe it and work hard for it. But you need to take Action!

2. Discipline

Having strict discipline when it comes to your money will hugely benefit building your wealth. Discipline plays a vital role in multiple financial decisions. These are a few easy techniques that can help you to apply good financial discipline:

  • Don’t spend more than what you earn. Prepare yourself a budget and keep to it. If you cannot afford a certain expense refrain from buying it. A budget is an effective tool to help you monitor your expenses and help you not to over spend.
  • Saving money should become a lifestyle. Set-up automatic debit orders to deduct your savings each month when you receive your salary and transfer it to an investment account. By transferring the money out of your operational account, you won’t be tempted to spend the money. Sooner than later your pocket won’t even feel that you put money away.
  • Develop a mind-set of ‘cash is king’. If you cannot buy it cash, don’t buy it. It is not always possible to buy houses and cars cash, but avoid using debt to pay for luxury items like bigger TV’s, holidays and clothes. Teach yourself the discipline to wait until you have saved up sufficient money to buy it cash.

3. Time equals more money

The younger you are when you start taking your financial future seriously, the more you will gain from it. Very few people make mega bucks overnight. Most people build up a solid wealth portfolio over a period of time. This is where the principle of ‘time value of money’ comes into play. Over time your money will start working for you. You will start earning interest on interest. You will earn maximum return on your investment in unit trusts, shares, off-shore investments or properties when you wait until the specific markets are performing at a high before you cash it in. Time also plays a crucial role when it comes to retirement planning. Don’t delay putting away money for retirement because you believe you are still young and very far from retirement age. You have limited time to save sufficient money to retire comfortably one day. Make proper use of the time you have left by starting today.

4. Start small

Often when I coach people, they will say “I don’t have lots of money”. That is not an excuse. You don’t need thousands to start saving or to put away for retirement or to pay additionally on your debt. Start small but at least make an effort to start. Every little bit helps. I can guarantee you if you track and analyse your expenses on a regular basis, you will most likely find an expense that you can live without. Use that money to start working towards your goal; no matter how small it is. If you read the life stories of the very wealthy people, you will know that very few of them started off with lots of money. The majority of wealthy people started off small, but they had a goal and a plan and they worked hard to achieve it.

5. Plan for the unexpected

Those unexpected emergencies are often the root-cause for derailing your financial position. When you think this month I am going to have extra money; an unexpected emergency appears from nowhere and there your extra money disappears again. It is crucial to build up an emergency fund as soon as possible. Put away money that you can utilize when those unexpected emergencies creep up again. Those unexpected emergencies can include for example: your car breaks down and the motor plan doesn’t cover the costs; you suddenly get sick and the medical aid doesn’t pay for it; your geyser bursts; your laptop crashes or your child needs money for a school tour. It is important that you have access to money that you can use for these emergencies rather than using debt to fund it.

Go back to applying these basic principles and your financial situation will definitely benefit from it. If you build a solid financial foundation; it will become a lot easier to create financial independence and a wealth portfolio on top of it.

 

This is the unedited version of the article that was published in Shine Magazine, April 2017.

Written by Ronel Jooste

CA(SA) and Financial Coach

Contact Ronel: ronel@physeqfit.co.za

For more information about my financial wellness programmes visit my website: www.physeqfit.co.za/financial-wellness

 

Be Healthy, Happy and Wealthy

We all want to be the best person we can be. We want to be healthy and happy. Health plays an integral part in striving to be the best we can be, but being healthy doesn’t refer to a healthy body only. For you to be the best you, it is important to take care of your overall wellbeing.

According to Wikipedia the definition of wellness is: ‘a healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit that results in an overall feeling of wellbeing. Wellness is much more than meeting the basic needs of food, a place to live and the absence of illness. It is a dynamic process of change and personal growth; an active process of becoming aware of the importance of wellbeing. Wellness is not a one-dimensional concept but consist of the following dimensions that all require similar focus and attention:

  • Physical Wellness: maintaining a healthy body.
  • Emotional Wellness: understanding and acknowledging your feelings and emotions, as well as coping effectively with life challenges such as stress, anger, fear, etc. For purposes of this article, emotional wellness also includes: spiritual wellness (set of values and beliefs that give meaning and purpose to your life in the form of religion, yoga or meditation), social wellness (positive relationships with family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances), intellectual wellness (developing an open mind when encountering new ideas and life-long learning), occupational wellness (personal fulfillment through your job and career) and environmental wellness (respecting the environment that you live in and making a positive contribution towards conserving the environment).
  • Financial Wellness: managing your financial status in an effective way to create wealth and become financially independent.

Taking care of your wellness and becoming the best you, starts with a choice. Choose to live a healthier and more fulfilled lifestyle and take action to actively live it. We all know to maintain a healthy body we need to exercise regularly; eat a healthy balanced diet; go for regular medical check-ups and get sufficient sleep. But what action steps can we implement to enhance our financial and emotional wellness?

Although the saying “money cannot buy you happiness” is true, we cannot ignore the role money plays in society and our daily lives. We need money to pay for our daily living costs like food, accommodation, electricity, transport and school fees. Financial independence has become a necessity especially in these days where retrenchment is a cruel reality that can happen to anybody no matter who you are or what your qualifications are. Also do not rely on your partner to take care of your financial needs, especially when you take into account the high divorce rates and people dying at a young age due to life threatening diseases.

Important action steps to improve your financial wellness:

  • Keep a budget to effectively control and monitor your expenses. Divide your budget into the following categories: income; savings (i.e. investments, saving for a holiday etc.); ‘cannot live without expenses’ (i.e. bond instalments, water and electricity, groceries etc.); ‘nice to have expenses’ (i.e. hairdresser, DSTV, entertainment etc.) and emergency expenses (i.e. maintenance on your car which is not covered by the motor plan, medical expenses which are not covered by the medical aid etc.).
  • Save, save, save! The general rule of thumb is that you need to save at least 10% of your monthly income after deducting tax, pension fund contributions and medical aid contributions. If you do not have any debt to repay, increase your savings to at least 30% of your monthly income.
  • Become debt free and stay debt free as far as possible. If you cannot buy it cash, do not buy it. Always repay your more expensive debt like car instalments, credit cards, personal loans and clothing accounts first.
  • Whenever you have additional cash, use it to repay your bond.
  • Build up an emergency fund that you can use for unforeseen big expenses. Use it only for emergencies and don’t be tempted to use the money for that big-screen TV or that trip to the Greek Islands.
  • Retirement planning is crucial. The younger you start planning and saving for your retirement the better.
  • Ensure that you have a will and that you keep it up to date. Unfortunately death is a reality for all of us and you don’t want to leave chaos to your loved ones when you die.

Furthermore, don’t neglect your emotional wellness. Your state of mind has a direct impact on your health, your energy levels, your appetite, your relationships, your productivity and what you achieve in life. Your partner, children, boss, job or hobbies cannot make you happy. Happiness comes from within yourself. To become the best person you can be, you need to be positive and believe in yourself and your abilities. A few important action steps to enhance your emotional wellness:

  • Surround yourself with positive people who will support and uplift you.
  • Schedule time in your diary to do things that you enjoy.
  • Spend time with your loved ones. Tomorrow might be too late.
  • Continuously look for opportunities where you can expand your knowledge.
  • Give and you shall receive. Learn to give without expecting anything in return. That feeling when you know you made a difference in somebody’s life is priceless.
  • Spend a few minutes every day writing down all the things you are grateful for. It will teach you to appreciate the smaller things in life.
  • Create a vision board of your life goals and put it up where you can see it every day. Believe that you will achieve all of that and much more. Have a plan and take action to achieve your goals in life.
  • Pray more, laugh more and love more.

In conclusion: your wellbeing is your most valuable asset and only you can take care of it. Choose to live a healthy, happy and wealthy lifestyle and take action to achieve it. Become the best you, you can be. You deserve it and owe it to yourself!

By Ronel Jooste

CA(SA) and Financial Wellness Coach

ronel@physeqfit.co.za

This article is the unedited version of the article that was published in the GetIt Pretoria Magazine in March 2017.

Why is Money Important?

 

By Ronel Jooste

CA (SA) and Financial Coach

Contact Ronel: ronel@physeqfit.co.za

 

Money cannot buy happiness, time or health. Yes that is true and we all know that, but we can also not discard the important role money plays in our lives. Taking care of our financial wellbeing is as important as our physical and emotional wellbeing.

 

Considering Maslow’s hierarchy of needs we need money to fulfil our basic needs for food, water, a house to live in and to provide for our family. We need money to take better care of our health and to pay for proper education. In short we need money to pay the monthly bills.

 

When finances are tight it can put unnecessary pressure on our relationships and increase our stress levels, which again can have a negative impact on our health. Studies have shown that theft, crime, illiteracy, poor health, broken marriages, children with behavioural problems and poor performance at work can all be a result of personal financial difficulties.

 

Apart from fulfilling our basic needs, money also plays a vital role in creating the lifestyle we dream of. We need money for that home cinema; Mediterranean cruise; new house; new car… To create the lifestyle we dream of, we need to have a proper savings plan; make good investment choices and build our wealth portfolio. Becoming debt free as early as possible is crucial in creating wealth and to create that dream lifestyle.

 

Sometimes we tend to plan properly for the shorter term but we forget to plan for our retirement and for that event we all rather ignore – death. Yes we need money to retire comfortably and it is a known fact that in South Africa and world-wide a huge percentage of the population cannot retire comfortably. Making provision for our retirement through pension funds and retirement annuities, is an important part of our financial plan that needs to be revised and adjusted on an annual basis.

 

We might not need money once we are dead, but our loved ones definitely do. Many people leave their loved ones in severe financial distress when they die. We should ensure we have proper funeral cover and life cover in place; and that our wills are up to date especially when big life events occur for example getting married or divorced or having children.

 

We should teach our children the importance of money at a young age. Children who understand basic financial concepts like saving, investing and financial independence will make better financial decisions when they are grown-up. Start building our wealth at a young age will become extremely powerful as we grow older. The time value of money can never be over-emphasised.

 

Don’t become addicted to money and don’t ever make the mistake to believe that money will buy you happiness. However don’t underestimate the important role money plays in our daily lives either. Having a proper financial plan and goals is as important as having an exercise plan and following a well-balanced diet. Your financial wellbeing directly contributes to your overall wellbeing. Take good care of it.