MONEY CLINIC | How can I take control of my finances in 2022?

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The new year is an excellent opportunity to start working on those critical financial goals that will lead to your financial-wise and sustainable future.
The new year is an excellent opportunity to start working on those critical financial goals that will lead to your financial-wise and sustainable future.
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The new year is an ideal time to put your critical goals into action.

According to Carla Oberholzer, debt advisor at DebtSafe, taking a look at your fiscal position or summarising where you are with your finances is the key first step to managing your financial situation in 2022 effectively. 

She advises that it may appear intimidating at first but knowing what you will gain by conducting a thorough financial check is well worth it.

What exactly will you achieve by getting an overview of your financial situation?

When you take a detailed look at your finances, whether your finding is promising (you manage your finances well) or bad (there are concerning signs involving debt), you understand where you are at, financially. And, this is a significant step to pave the way in reaching the future financial position that you'd like to see yourself in. When you increase your knowledge about your situation, you can start to manage what you can control – your debt.

How can you attain knowledge about your financial situation and where do you start?

There are three vital things that you can do to get an overall idea of what your finances portray:

1. Review your latest bank statements

Take your time to view your payment history on your online banking or download and print out your last three months’ statements to start your inspection. Be on the lookout for those 'money spending leaks' (frequent takeaway meals or subscription costs not being utilised). Your review will, for example, allow you to spot some concerning areas involving unsecured debt or high interest-rated debt accounts. 

2. Keep an eye on your income and expenses.

As soon as you receive your salary amount or any income and money in your bank account, make sure that you keep track of what comes in and what is going out (expenses) during the month. You can use tools available (for example, by completing your list in an Excel sheet or similar) and keep track of your overall financial position. 

3. Pull your credit record at a reputable credit bureau

You can download your credit report for free each year at any registered credit bureau. TransUnion, XDS (see the Splendi platform), and Experian are three well-known credit bureaus (to name but a few) that you can use. 

You’ll gain more insight into your financial situation when assessing your report as it will show you what debt accounts are up to date or that you have defaulted on (behind on payments by three or more months). Plus, you will also be able to pick up possible fraudulent activities and address them soonest. 

Begin the new year by delving deeper into your financial situation so that you can implement an ongoing plan to successfully manage your finances (and your debt) during 2022. The new year is an excellent opportunity to start working on those critical financial goals that will lead to your financial-wise and sustainable future. 

Questions may be edited for brevity and clarity.

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