Stop talking, act on your finances

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You will often hear grand plans regarding how money will be managed, saved or invested once a promotion is realised. Or how individuals will deal with their financial situation if only they got a windfall.

People always say they would put their financial lives in order and make plans to set up profitable enterprises if they get more money. Interestingly, they will be very articulate about how they would have allocated their resources if they were a certain entrepreneur.

What is often ignored is that money is a limited resource. You cannot run away from making hard decisions and choices about money that guide you on how to use, accumulate and preserve it.

We should remember that money will not magically appear because we are in dire financial straits or that we fancy something.

Needless to say, there is no harm in talking about our grand plans to accumulate and spend our finances. The challenge is that we dwell so much on talking but never implement what we articulate. When you hold discussions with people, they have a pretty good idea about the basic principles of money management.

In addition to talking about these issues, we should explore and make contact with people who are smart about their money so that we can learn the positive things about how they deal with finances.

We need to acknowledge that being smart with money isn’t necessarily about having lots of it, but about making the most of what we have.

What makes a difference is how you manage what you have and not how much you earn. Amidst the extreme 'talkers', we have those who don’t want to discuss their money or even spending habits.

Both categories need to do something if they are to make a difference in their financial status.

In the recent past, information about personal financial management is more available than several decades ago. However, given the complexity of financial products and too much information in some instances, there is minimum effort towards application of this knowledge.

If you talk more than you act, one of the things you can consider is making priorities given the different needs that arise from your lifestyle. Once you have the priorities in place, set goals and timelines which should be reviewed periodically to ascertain whether you are on course.

Remember that you are operating in an environment where we are impacted by both local and global developments.

For example, you could have a grand plan, with impressive budgets and impeccable investment plan.

Along the way, the company you are working for is bought, creating uncertainties about your income. Or fuel prices surge, consequently pushing transport costs up.

Remember, the impact of any unexpected situation will largely depend on the decisions you made prior to these developments.

If you implemented what you always talk about and accumulated a nest egg, it will cushion you from any external shock.

Therefore, whichever plan you put in place, you have to ensure that they take into account of an economic boom or a challenging environment. And this can be implemented not by talking shop alone but acquiring the financial knowledge and skill which should be applied to your situation.

The sooner you take charge of your finances, the better given the fact that you can easily absorb money mistakes made while much younger as opposed to when you are retired. Even if you have started late, you can make up for lost time when you apply the right principles of money management.

Ultimately, we have to move away from declaring grand statements about money and walk the talk. It’s a more sustainable way of securing our financial future.

The writer works with Bank of Uganda

This article first ran in the Business Vision in Thursday's New Vision