Plan so festive bug does not lead to debt doom

2011-02-05 13:45

One would have thought that by now we have all come to realise that as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, in 11 months time we will once again celebrate Christmas.

The least one expects is that we should be ready or have planned for it in the same way that we plan for weddings or any other ­festivities.

If indeed our whole year’s sweat and toil culminates with the wanton spending that has become a trend, it warrants planning for. The fact is any unplanned expenditure overflows into the next phase of life. Schools have just reopened and many a parent battled to find money for school fees, books and uniforms. Very often the money for schooling had been saved, but the euphoria and pressures that come with the festive season resulted with these moneys being spent on ­alcohol and other fruitless ­expenditure.

A lot of discipline and strong willpower not to yield to peer and family pressures provide ­the armour an individual needs. The purchase of that large flat TV screen or new piece of furniture that could have been postponed to a later date or very ­often is not even needed has led to financial pressure.

It is often said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. It simply means if you find yourself in a position where you cannot pay all the school expenses, you ­truly have not planned for it. The truth is you are not fulfilling your obligation to your child.

This leads to the next question. What matters most? Your child’s education or the ­drinking sprees?

Drinking in moderation is ­acceptable but when 20% or more of income goes towards drinking there is a problem, and that is what our communities are faced with.

I was so devastated to witness children, mostly little girls, drunk when schools closed.

Starting with the end in mind is about long-term planning, which includes planning for things that develop you as an ­individual, family and as part of the community.

Planning with the end in mind helps shape your daily activities, it crystallises your action plan and in a way defines components of your plan.

In the context of the festive bug, especially if that is what matters most to you, the very least you can do is to be financially ready for it and not let it disrupt other lifestyle needs and obligations.

For the ill-disciplined, saving is easier through informal structures such as clubs and ­societies.

Being part of a group has added advantages as in groups you are able to evolve to greater things such as investments, group funeral schemes and the establishment of companies through such structures.

» Diale is a financial planner. He can be contacted on 078 775 0802

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