What is your Finance score?

Print Email

Are you earning enough? Can you cover your expenses without borrowing? Are you managing your debt? How can you manage what you have better and leverage it to accumulate more? What extra expenses are you likely to incur in the future and what is required to improve your financial status?

These are some of the issues that we grapple with daily, irrespective of whether we are urban elite, urban poor or reside in the rural areas. Highly sophisticated or not, we need as much information to manage our personal finances more than ever before.

However, the challenge with providing financial information to some section of the urban elite is that you are dealing with experts in their respective fields who have excelled in their careers and academics.

To some of these folks, financial education messages are considered a minor distraction from their more important tasks at hand.

They wouldn’t admit publicly that they are struggling financially, considering they earn an eight digit income every month.

Unfortunately, while they have scored A+ in their academics and careers, a good number have poor financial education report cards.

One of my favorite quotes from a financial literacy guru is that when you go to transact business with your banker, he will not ask you for your report card but your bank statement. This quote keeps me going.

Therefore, for everybody, irrespective of whether you are an urban elite or rural folk, what should drive your actions is whether your current bank statement can support your business proposal.

In this respect, you could be a high flyer, upwardly mobile, and a respected expert in your chosen field with a relatively high income that is probably the envy of your peers.

However, while it makes life comfortable to earn a high income, you might have discovered that it’s what you keep and how you utilise it that matters.

Your bank statement is a reflection of your financial education. That is the hard truth. If you are in the category that has liabilities outweighing assets, particularly if they were secured for non-productive activity, your financial education score card is wanting. It is also important to note that even when your assets outweigh your liabilities, you still need to brush up your financial education skills not only to preserve what you have accumulated but to multiply those resources further.

You can afford to keep up appearances to match your social status, but remember snobbery will not magically improve your financial intelligence.

What can turn around your financial fortunes is having an open mind and not under looking any opportunity to expand your financial knowledge.

This quest for knowledge shouldn't be a part-time effort but a daily bidding that is crowned by reflection on what you have accomplished at the end of the day.

Once you deal with these issues, you can then determine how to deal with the avalanche of information available. You have to sieve out what is important as well as which tenets apply to your situation.

Related to that, create targets outlining where you want to be and how you are going to get there. Once this image is clear, you can then focus on planning as well as undertaking strategic thinking about money.

However, the most important thing is for you to learn how to deal with debt, a factor that has ruined so many lives. Can you leverage debt to invest in income generating assets in which the gains exceed the interest on the loan?

This should be done without straining your current income and your ability meet your daily household expenses.

Anyone with debts should work on ensuring that their personal gearing rate is not high, and with time work on lowering the rate as you grow older to have a secure financial position.

While you acquaint yourself with getting smart with your money, be cautious about people who are out to con you of your money with their mouthwatering 'too good to be true' business proposals.

The writer works with Bank of Uganda

This article first ran in the Lifestyle in the New Vision