Spring has Sprung! If you are feeling excited about the fact that the cold months of winter are finally over and you can look forward to the new season – why not use these positive feelings to spring forward in your finances. Spring is a great time to spring clean, to get rid of unwanted clutter but instead of starting with your home, start with your finances! Before you can “Spring Forward” you may need to understand where you are at right now in terms of your personal finances.

Here are 5 key questions to ask yourself to understand your financial now.

Do you have more or less debt than you did this time last year?

If you have more debt than this time last year you may need to understand the reason for this. It is vitally important to understand why. Many people say that the reason for their financial stress is death of a family member. What is your reason for having more debt? Are you living beyond your means or perhaps using your overdraft or credit card as part of your income? If it’s not, it might be time to manage your debt before it manages you. By spring cleaning your debt, you will feel in control of your debt, have a clear understanding of how much of your income is being used to service debt and you might even find a debt solution that will enable you to live better.

Do you have an up to date Will?
It is vitally important to think of your financial future, when you are no longer there to take care of those you love. Our research shows that 80% of employed South Africans don’t have an up to date Will. A Will is vital to your financial spring cleaning agenda as you don’t leave your estate in a mess and you leave clear directions for loved ones when you are not around to direct them yourself.

Do you save monthly?
Is saving a part of your monthly budget? Paying yourself first is a concept of ensuring that you save first and spend later! It is all about financial discipline and putting yourself as a priority in your financial life. Whether it is saving for an emergency or saving for your retirement it is a vital part of financial wellness. As a part of your financial spring cleaning either open a savings account and create a savings habit or check out how your investment is growing and what your return on your investment is.

Do you have a financial goal?
What is your financial target or goal? Perhaps you want to earn more or perhaps you want to buy a home instead of renting. A financial goal is “a dream with a deadline” and financial goal setting is vital to your financial spring cleaning as you want to ensure that your actions and your spending habits are in line with your goal. For example, if it’s your goal to buy a home, you need to ask yourself whether you are keeping your credit record clean so that you will be able to raise a bond.

Do you have a relationship with a financial expert?
Almost 70% of people we have surveyed say that they don’t have a relationship with a financial expert. Where do you go to have your car serviced? I am sure you know the answer to this question and the same is true about your finances – a financial coach can assist you by understanding your financial now and by assisting you in defining your financial future. A financial planner on the other hand will conduct a financial needs analysis in order to ensure that you are on the right track, that you have the right risk cover in place and ensure that you are on track with your retirement goals.

Spring forward financially this spring to ensure a better financial future by this time next year.

Cape Town – South Africa’s middle class is stressed and 73% claim it is because of their financial situation.
The most popular way they try to cope with financial stress seems to be strict budgeting (58%), followed by physical exercise (32%). While 4% use medication to cope, 20% indicated that they “prefer not to think about these issues” and 12% said they are simply not coping.

These are some of the findings of the 2017 Sanlam Benchmark Survey. The annual retirement funding study looks at the financial wellness of employees in the workplace. The sample consisted of 1 317 well-educated professionals with 60% earning more than R300 000 per year.