How to keep your finances in order in ‘hard times’ like these

Tighten your savings belts and ensure that your finances are in order, Ester Ochse, advisory product specialist for First National Bank (FNB) has advised South African consumers.

The advice comes at a time when the country’s 2017 Mid-Term Budget Policy (MTBP) has projected a weaker growth outlook which analysts believe reflect a continued deterioration in business and consumer confidence.

It is against this hostile backdrop of heightened risks as indicated in lower credit ratings, higher bond yields and sluggish investment that Ochse has unpacked the policy’s following fundamentals which will likely affect consumers in the next few months:

Income Tax
Looking ahead, consumers need to put themselves in a better financial position because in the quest to boost revenue, the government could explore increasing income tax, which will impact disposal income.

Continue investing in your ‘investment’ goals. Speak to your financial advisor before chopping and changing your investments. A knee-jerk reaction to short-term factors could negatively impact any progress you may have made and ultimately, your long-term financial future.

South Africa’s growth forecast has been revised down and even though it is better than the previous year, it’s unlikely to positively impact employment. Consumers need to also to tap into their entrepreneurial skills for other sources of income.

Debt management
Ensure that you manage your debt and live within your means. Direct extra funds towards paying off debt as quickly as possible and cut out unnecessary spending which will ultimately help you save for those unexpected emergencies.

“Take stock of what your personal financial situation is on an ongoing basis. Small but consistent changes make a big difference in obtaining long term financial goals. This should be an ongoing lifestyle rule that will only benefit you and your family in the long run,” Ochse said.

Image: courtesy of Lovethispic.com

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