Teenage

Put your best FINANCIAL foot forward

TEENmoney

Ornella Green

Tuesday, January 15, 2013    

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AS TEENs, are you looking for a way to get rich quick? Do you want a million-dollar idea? Do you aspire to build a financial empire overnight? Are you yearning for the lifestyle of the rich and famous?

Unfortunately, we don't have the magic answer to any of those questions.

There are, however, ways that you can clean your financial house and improve your chances of accumulating wealth.

The best thing about it is the younger you start, the more you can accumulate and the better your chances.

1 What are your financial goals?

To know where to start, you need to know where you are heading. Identify what you want to achieve, financially, short term (one year or less); medium term (next three to five years); and long term (five years or more). It's not effective to just say 'I want a house' or 'I want a car'.

Attach specific estimated values and a timeline to every goal you want to achieve. Make a sound plan and create a road map with smaller, definite steps for each goal. Make them measurable, achievable and specific to your dreams. This is the foundation of your financial success.

2 Prioritise

Another important step is to learn to separate wants from needs. Jamaicans tend to want to live the 'boasy' lifestyle. We tend to blend many wants into needs, and neglect many needs transforming them into mere wants. For example: You need clothes, but you want to wear designer clothes. That's a want-versus-need scenario that faces many.

Many tend to think if it isn't 'name brand' then it "nah seh nutt'n" But what they fail to realise is there are many ways to wear simple clothes to make it look just as good as the expensive ones.

Before you make grand splurges think: 'Do I want it or do I need it?'. If you can't decide, then wait a week or so and then ask again. Then make a decision. Do whatever is in your best interest.

3 Start early

Develop effective spending and saving patterns from early. These tend to follow you throughout your lifetime. Learn about saving options and make saving a continuous habit.

A good way is to automatically set aside an amount and spend from the remainder and watch your money grow over time.

There is actually this magic little thing called compound interest that works wonders in your favour.

The younger you start saving, the more it works in your favour, and the more you accumulate. Time is working in your favour so take advantage of it. Although it's never too late to start, the sooner the better.

4 Create a budget

A budget is your guide to spending. It shows how much you currently have to spend and helps you allocate your money accordingly. Plan for the most important things first, such as food and savings, but also include the fun stuff such as movies with friends.

You may not have all the money for the fun stuff in week one, but if you put a little aside each week you can have a day each month just for fun because you budgeted and planned for it.

5 Create a reward system

Budgets, goals and priorities are all important, however, what's the point in constantly making the effort to improve your finances and not enjoying the fruits of your labour. Admittedly, accomplishing your goals is a reward in itself, but sometimes you need to reward the small efforts.

A good way to make you more eager to accomplish each goal is to associate each with a reward. "If I accomplish goal X, then I get Y" that way you get twice the reward for every goal. Just remember not to overdo it.

6 Know your limits

Don't get so carried away trying to accomplish goals that you neglect yourself. You do not need to dive head first into anything, rather should start slow and develop habits over time. These things take time, and as mentioned before it is working with you. Keep an eye out for new opportunities. Research all the options available to you, options related to your goals, and learn how you can take advantage of them. Live within your means and make little steps each day towards your dreams.

Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out. — Robert Coolier

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