“There’s no point in a $50 million funeral or a $25 million divorce.”
One of the guidelines in the unofficial Goldman Sachs guide to New Year’s resolutions. Still, keeping a bit of money aside every month, subjecting it to compounding and then using it on a rainy day makes sense. In the same way as January makes for a horrid month at the gym, many people are thinking about financial resolutions for the new year. I thought of sharing a few basic tips on starting the process towards a greener financial future.
- Do a quick analysis of your current financial standing
Jot down your current assets – your house, your car, pension, investments, cash on call, etc. Deduct the loan amounts outstanding on each so you’re left with a sense of exposure across real estate, cash, funds, equities and a picture of your total wealth. Ask yourself whether your asset allocation makes sense as an entire portfolio, or if you’re possibly too exposed to one asset class.
- Build a mindset appropriate to your investment horizon
If you’re 30, you’ve got 30 years to save for the last 30 years of your life. You can afford to take more risk by having an allocation leaning towards equities, private companies and foreign currencies, than if you’re 50 and still paying off a bond. Although it is a marathon, try and fail when you’re young and the odds aren’t stacked against you.
- Class yourself on a risk spectrum
Were you the guy at school who opportunistically stole sandwiches from your unsuspecting classmate, or the guy who listened attentively and brought his teacher an apple? You’ll know yourself well enough to establish how comfortable you are with taking risks and dealing with failure. Become familiar with this before deciding on an investment approach that makes you want to throw up if your portfolio takes a 10% dive.
- Be prepared to be disciplined
Saving is one of those things that you tend to put off until next year. Go and visit a few old folks, or chat to your parents and their parents about friends who dont have money to live. The stories, together with those who retired early because of their financial discipline, will get you over the line of long term commitment.
- Get your hands dirty
Michael Jordaan posted today that matrics should travel, learn another language, learn to code, start a small business and think for themselves. There’s no better place to start testing investment options by trying. When you’ve got skin in the game, the small print becomes a lot clearer!
Once you’ve thought about these, and perhaps shared a few more in the comments section, you’ll be in a position to address what you can afford to save on a monthly basis and how you might go about building a nest egg worth looking forward to.