Financial health does not only depend on how much money you earn; what you do with the money you have is what counts. The best place to start is finding out how financially healthy you are, and to set some goals to guide your money habits.
Financial health means that you:
- Have more money coming in than going out.
- Can pay all your expenses.
- Have savings and investments.
- You can achieve your future goals
- You can prepare for your retirement
- You can get access to credit when you need it
Financial health does not only depend on how much money you earn; that is just one of the factors. The other factors are:
- Your age, marital status, number of dependents, and other personal characteristics.
- How well you understand money and financial concepts, such as credit and affordability.
- Your money habits, such as financial planning and saving.
- Stressful situations, such as losing your job or being in debt.
- Your financial situation, such as how much you earn and how much debt you have.
The first step to financial health is to have goals you want to achieve. Goals will help you make money decisions and motivate you to stick to healthy money habits.
Examples of financial goals:
- Getting out of debt
- Meeting day-to-day expenses without borrowing
- Paying school fees
- Saving for a car or a trip
- Saving for a house
- Having enough money to retire without concerns
How to set your goals
Writing down your goals like this can be helpful:
Once you have written down all your goals, you need to decide which are the most important ones. It is unlikely that you can achieve all your goals at the same time, hence you need to decide where to focus first. If you have a long list of goals, choose only five to start with.
You will work on the less important goals once you have made good progress with the main ones. For example, a motorbike for weekend rides can wait until you have paid off your credit card or until you have saved enough for school fees.
Remember also that goals can change as your situation and priorities change. The important thing is to start somewhere.