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Time is not on your sidePublish Date: Feb 27, 2014
Time is not on your side
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The commonest excuse for not acting on poor money habits is the mistaken belief that we have a lot of time on our hands
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By Sylvia Juuko

If delayed action is your habit, this may sound familiar. You may be struggling with your finances or you aspire to achieve a financial goal.

Despite the urgency, you convince yourself that you will pay attention to that aspect of your life later. Inadvertently, you get distracted by the so called rat race. And before you know, you haven’t acted on your promises.

The commonest excuse for not acting on our poor money habits is the mistaken belief that we have a lot of time on our hands. If you fall in this category, consider making the following changes.

Time

The saying that time is money has become a cliché. Saving a percentage of your income today is much better than not saving at all. Remember that if you had started saving one, five or ten years ago, you would be in a better position to have choices.

Imagine you had started saving sh300,000 per month three years ago. Even at zero interest, you would have a reasonable amount today. And if those savings were for a group of 10, the amounts would be more formidable. Quit having excuses and drop the habits that impair your finances.

Adopt a teachable attitude


Many of us think we know so much about money issues. However, if your net worth is not supporting your lifestyle, it should be a clear indicator that you need to learn a lot about managing and accumulating money.

Do not underestimate the value of personal finance management resources (books, websites, personal finance columns, mentors, seminars) that are applicable to your situation.

Have an open mind, there is always something to learn. You could be a CEO of a company who needs money lessons from your employee in charge of sanitation at your organisation.

Stick to action plan

You might have, in the past read an article that touched you to the core or attended a meeting with self-made entrepreneurs that left you on a ‘high.’

Gripped by this euphoria of ‘can do’, you wrote an action plan outlining how you would implement this new way of managing money.

One week down the road, you took a trip to your favourite mall and couldn’t resist impulse shopping.

Unless you make a commitment to change such habits, you will go through the cycle of drawing up such plans which will remain embedded in your dream book.

To resist the temptation, ask yourself how many hours you need to work to be able to afford this impulse. Better still, with every purchase remind yourself how far it’s keeping you from your long-term plan of financial freedom.

It’s not too late to start over

Most of us have experienced this. Your finances are in order with a considerable nest egg and some assets to boast about. However, a life-threatening emergency prompts you to liquidate all the assets, taking you back to square one. On the other hand, you have made some bad financial choices that have resulted in high indebtedness.

This should not result in throwing pity parties. You can always start over as long as you commit to it. An accountability partner can be an option if you decide to start this journey to achieve a financial makeover.

However, note that some of the financial choices you made years ago, particularly those related to taking on high consumer debt may have far reaching impact that it may take a while to undo them.

Ultimately, whenever you put off adopting money habits that could improve your financial well being, consider the cost of procrastination. Some of the costs of this ‘paralysis’ could be reflected in late fees or even loss of property, if for example you fall back on your payments. Quit postponing action by giving yourself and your household a deadline because you are running out of time.

The writer works with Bank of Uganda
Personalfinance222@gmail.com

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