When Should I get Started with Financial Education and Planning?

The short answer is, yesterday

There is no time like yesterday for starting your journey on financial education. And if you couldn’t do it then, today is the next best day. The biggest key to wealth is consistency and compounding growth. That is why the sooner you start, the bigger your results can be at a sooner time in your life.

No-one wants to save, save and save until they’re 60 and then only have enough to live out their remaining dreams. So much of life has passed away, and yes there is still a lot to do, but a lot has also passed on.

Student life is prime time for starting up your financial engine

As a student, you are perfectly positioned to start equipping yourself with financial knowledge and to act upon that knowledge. There aren’t as many responsibilities as when you enter the young working season of your life. Once expenses like rent, car payments, insurance, and cost of living start stacking up, it’s much more difficult to allocate money and time to financial education and planning.

Baby steps that will help you own financial education like it’s your major:

Break it down

Many people procrastinate the first steps to financial education because they look at the big elephant in the room. You feel out-of-depth and as if it’s not really your thing. The reality is, one day it will be your thing. Start breaking up financial education into consumable pieces. Start with the basics and work your way through the aspects that are most important to where you are now. And don’t sweat it, there’s a reason why it’s a great time to start this journey when you’re a student, you’ve got some time! Like they say, it’s not a race, but a marathon.

Get knowledge

Once you’ve broken down what you want to learn more about, start looking for reliable sources of information. This is another reason why the student season in your life is great for financial education. There are just so many resources! A couple of places you can go and look for financial resources:

  • Surf the net – but especially pay attention to what’s relevant in the South African market by looking at the actual financial products offered by companies.
  • Open up a book – the library is a great place to learn the basics. Have you been there before?
  • Ask around – Many of them might seem old school, but some lecturers will surprise you with their real world knowledge. Ask if you can have an hour of their time and see where their advice overlaps with what relevant online resources are saying.

Put away some of that pocket money

We know this idea can sound like madness, for most of you there isn’t much to start with. But, a quick visit to a financial service websites will show you what even a small amount of R100 a month can be when compounded over 20 or more years. Our advice is to start allocating a small amount at the start of each month into a basic savings account until you have a hang of the habit and the knowledge to choose a financial product with better returns.

Budget

Draw up a monthly budget and start tracking your expenses. This will create a healthy financial habit that will quickly show you where your money is going. Old Mutual offers a free app called 22seven that will help you do budgeting in the coolest ways you couldn’t have imagined.

These steps will help you see and learn financial education as if you were meant to study it in the first place. Right next to your degree, you can put your own handwritten note that reads, “Ready to be financially empowered’.

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