Financing Fun

Carnival season in Jamaica has officially begun with the recent launch of the bands, and coming off the high of Trinidad Carnival which was epic by all accounts. Just take a look at the rave reviews posted online by patrons of the many events. The first post-pandemic staging of the event saw the regional airline, Caribbean Airlines, increasing its flights to and from the region into major diaspora destinations for the season. Carnival is a major entertainment event on the annual calendar and has since grown to become one of the most sought-after experiences, especially among diaspora members. As one reveller proudly recounted online recently, his Carnival arrangements for the following year are booked immediately after Jamaica Carnival each year. Now that is the forward planning this column absolutely endorses!

Having fun and socialising, however that looks for you, is critical to your mental wellness. With the increased awareness and sensitivities surrounding mental wellness, a key component is for individuals to find moments for release to declutter the mind and recharge to face the challenges ahead. Many people have at least one bucket list experience, whether attending Carnival or travelling to an exotic locale. However, most people never make it a reality due to the costs associated with these experiences. For many, the sum of all expenses related to a significant lifestyle experience, such as a trip to Europe or Asia, or tickets to a concert featuring a major international artiste will require some forward planning and budgeting. Having a social fund that is adequately financed can help you make your bucket list dream a reality. Here are three wealth management tips to help you finance your fun while still allowing you to meet your bigger life goals.

Budgeting for fun: How much should you be spending on entertainment? The answer is that it will vary based on your goals and income, but should be accounted for after investing, building emergency funds and other critical expenses. If your current spending is disproportionate based on the list you made, there is good news: you can make adjustments by moving things around or trimming your spending on certain items. In fact, you may want to find low-cost or no-cost ways to socialise, do activities that support your mental health throughout the year, and focus on saving towards a major event or a vacation to that bucket list destination. Knowing how to budget your money is essential for anyone looking to get their finances in order and create a healthy balance in their spending habits. With discipline, you can check that bucket list experience you have always dreamed of.

Investing in fun: As you intentionally set aside your entertainment savings, a good rule of thumb is to invest it in order to take advantage of higher returns on investment when compared to a savings account. Thankfully, there are investment options that can increase the value of your savings based on their returns and the length of time invested. Consider purchasing investment instruments that mature before your desired travel schedule, giving you ample time to secure plane tickets and accommodations at reasonable prices. Money Market instruments such as treasury bills, repurchase agreements, and unit trusts give liquidity and are a great start. Investing for your entertainment goals will help to provide a greater sense of purpose and surety when planning.

Paying for fun: Finally, it is time to count your points and check them twice — that is, your credit card points or rewards. Howard Senior, author of the book What's in Your Hand, asked readers to examine the available resources to take action and influence their surroundings. If you take that advice and reflect on how many times you have utilised our credit cards over the past month, it is safe to say that it has been in our hands, possibly way more than you would want. With your entertainment plans afoot, it may be time to truly leverage those travel-related rewards and benefits — priority lounge access, travel insurance, and points that can be redeemed for flights, hotels and rentals.

Also, ensure you maximise your credit card rewards and points by using a rewards tracking and redemption app such as NCB Miles. Platforms such as this allow you to easily convert your travel points to digital cash, which can be used to purchase global products and experiences.

Start planning, saving and investing to pay for the Carnival experience of your dreams without compromising your major life goals.

Nadine Thomas, assistant vice-president – Private Wealth, NCB Capital Markets Limited

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