In Touch Newsletter - February 2014

Top ten tips you should take into account when budgeting

no-cashOnly a few South African consumers measure their financial situation and household expenses. The way to getting your financial situation in order is through positive cash flow, which starts by implementing a budget. We give you 10 top tips to take into account when budgeting.

  1. Set time aside to consider your budget and then commit it to writing:
    Identify all the items that you spend money on – do not leave anything out, no matter how trivial. You will be surprised how much those seemingly insignificant expenses can add up to.
  2. Debt attracts interest and therefore you end up paying a lot more than the purchase price. Try to eliminate debt:
    Get rid of your clothing store credit accounts etc – settle the debt and destroy them – you will have to think more carefully about your next purchase if it is not that easy to make it, using your magic plastic money.
  3. Consider consolidating your large debt – such as your bond on your house and your car finance. It is often easier to negotiate a lower interest rate this way – and the lower the interest rate, the less your final spend on those products over the term.
  4. Shop around – make sure that you are getting real value for your money – a good example is your short term insurance policies which may reduce in price over time as your risk decreases (no claims etc) but unless you ask for a price review you do not get the benefit, but equally important consider your grocery spend – could you get better value for money from a different store?
  5. Try to pay a little more – do not just pay the required instalment, by paying a little more you can knock years off the term as well as the total cost
  6. Make sure that you take advantage of all the tax deductions available to you – consider contributing to a retirement annuity.
  7. Why not pay yourself – put money aside for your retirement. Consider the money that you “waste” on non-essential items and increase what you are currently contributing to your retirement. The earlier you start to save the easier it is to arrive at your goal, thanks to the miracle of compound interest, one of the greatest inventions yet!
  8. Make sure that you can service your life insurance policies – if you should lose the ability to earn an income, either through death, disability or dread disease, what will your dependants do in order to survive, let alone simply maintain their current standard of living.
  9. Ensure that you have an emergency fund – ideally three to six times your monthly salary readily available should you suffer a short term financial crisis –for example if all four of your car tyres get damaged in our landmark potholes.
  10. Finally, make sure that there is some fat for entertainment – but think about what you are spending your money on. Is it worthwhile, or are you simply allowing your money to slip away, through your hands, without any real return or reward being gained. Look out for our article Cost-effective entertainment ideas further on.

This is the ideal time to have the discussion with your financial advisor about budgeting – thereby providing a solid springboard for needs-based financial planning to begin.

Source: Libertyliberty

 

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5 retirement tips that will help you make sure your money outlasts you and not the other way around

Knowledge is powerretire-comfortably

When it comes to making important investment decisions, it is always best to get professional advice from people who have the required skills and training. But it doesn’t stop at finding a good accredited financial advisor. You’ll need to evaluate your current financial position, set realistic goals, implement recommendations and monitor them. And be informed – check benefit statements, investment performance, default options, vote for trustees and take responsibility.

Paperwork

Keep all the paperwork of your policies, will and personal documentation updated. During regular appointments with your financial advisor review your policies and update changes in your personal circumstances. Preretirement savings We said it before. We’ll say it again. The earlier you start, the more comfortable you’ll be. This is because it all comes down to compound interest, the thing that really benefits the early adopters.

Part-time job 

Studies indicate that many people prefer to work at least part time in retirement. Sometimes it is due to financial necessity, but often also to give them a sense of purpose in life. Post retirement employment is an important source of additional income, which means that members can withdraw less from their nest egg in the early years of their retirement.

Post-retirement medical aid expenses

Your golden years typically brings with it higher medical expenses. If your employer covers your medical contributions, that’s going to end. So ensure you’re planning and saving for your medical aid expenses. It may be worth considering taking out health care insurance. 

Your ambitions during your working life don’t change after you’ve stopped working. But planning for that success starts early and, perhaps most importantly, with sound financial advice.

Source: Sanlamsanlam

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Cost-effective entertainment ideas

With prices increasing all around, putting pressure on household budgets, you’ll need to get creative to keep your family entertained. 

Here are some tips to save money while having some fun:

Make and decorate your own Easter eggs

With Easter around the corner, a fun way to entertain the kids is to rope them in to make their own Easter eggs. Not only will you get to spend some quality time making them, the results will be a personalised egg decorated according to each person’s taste. You can buy some chocolate moulds in various designs, which are relatively cheap and reusable. You can find recipes online and even watch some YouTube clips on how to make and decorate Easter eggs. A word of advice, don’t skimp on the chocolate. A good quality chocolate will greatly enhance the taste of the eggs. Try filling them with Smarties, Jelly Tots or even caramel. You can even use some writing icing and edible glitter to decorate the outside of the eggs. Go wild! 

Explore the outdoors

With obesity, Type-2 Diabetes and Heart Disease rates increasing steadily, you’ll be doing your family a great service by getting them moving – physically. Enjoy a walk, hike or jog along the ocean, in the mountains or even in a park. You’ll burn some calories and the fresh air will do you the world of good. With the release of the extra energy (which will calm down the kids) and your body exuding endorphins you are bound to have a happy family afterwards. 

Group buying sites offer real value

Many people have discovered the power of group buying through an array of websites that have mushroomed over the last while. These sites discount products, services, accommodation, holidays and even entry into places by half the price you’d usually pay. There are different deals for each region so check online for deals that apply to you. 

Capitalise on loyalty programmes 

Many banks, medical aid schemes, restaurants and retailers have loyalty programmes that reward clients for their continued support. Do some research and find out how you can save money and convert your points into goods or other savings. You could be reaping rewards for money you would be spending anyway…

Skip eating out… have a pot-luck dinner (bring and braai)

We have a culture where socialising involves food. Eating out is probably one of the top budget-drainers. Instead of going out for meals with friends, why not have them over for what the Americans call ‘pot-luck’ dinner (we refer to it as bring and braai). Each person or family brings one dish to the event, which results in a wide-variety of food to choose from. You can be even more creative and ask everyone to dress up and have a themed dinner. Another alternative is for each family in your circle of friends to ‘host’ a dinner. You can rotate it on a weekly or monthly schedule and try something along the lines of the popular show Come dine with me. This can be loads of fun without breaking the bank.

Source: Mastheadmasthead

Contact us:

Feel free to contact me if your circumstances or needs have changed and your financial plan needs to be updated.

I look forward to hearing from you!

ROYAL UNION FINANCIAL SERVICES

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Bernadette Dickson

- Tel: 031-7172700
- Cell: 0825620572
- Fax: 031-7172701
- Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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If you would like more information, or to arrange an appointment, please contact us:

Telephone: 031 717 2700

Fax: 031 717 2701

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Postal Address: PO Box 68, Kloof, 3640