Lockdown is getting tough now, especially after the initial 21-day period was extended. The uncertainly whether it will be further extended after 30 April is another demotivating and scary thought. The financial, emotional and physical challenges associated with this unknown period in our lives are a burden and the intensity in which people experience it differs from person to person. Lockdown did force us to slow down, to reflect on our lives and businesses / careers and to make certain adjustments. Sometimes we need to face the harsh reality and answer the tough questions, whether we like it or not.
Financial wellbeing is one aspect that comes to mind. Whether lockdown had a severe, mild or no financial impact, this is a good time to spend time on your financial wellbeing. Is your finances in order? What changes do you need to make to be in a better financial position if something like this has to happen again?
Below is a financial health checklist, specifically prepared for the original 21-day lockdown period. Do yourself a favour to scroll through the list. It will give you a good indication of your financial health.
- Think about your financial goals and write them down. Download the Free ‘Financial Goalsetting’ workbook to assist.
- Evaluate your current financial situation. Do you feel comfortable, somewhat uncomfortable or totally stressed out thinking about your finances?
- Think about your understanding of the financial world. Do you feel you have a good, average or poor understanding of finances?
- Review your budget and update it to reflect your current situation.
- Review your monthly expenditure and identify at least two potential savings.
- Do you put money away towards your savings on a monthly basis?
- Review your debt. Write down all the outstanding amounts, repayment periods and interest rates. Identify which debt to pay off first.
- Review your investments and how your investments performed during the preceding 12 months.
- Are you making use of tax savings for your investments?
- Review your retirement savings plan. Do you feel comfortable or stressed out thinking about retirement?
- Do you have an emergency fund and does it cover at least 3-6 months of your monthly living costs?
- Review your life cover policy. Do you believe it is sufficient to take care of your dependents and cover your liabilities?
- Do you have disability and dread disease cover? Do you know what your policies cover and exclude?
- Do you have an income protection plan? Do you understand what the policy covers and excludes?
- Review your medical aid plan / health insurance policy. Does it cater for your needs and level of risk?
- Is your life file up to date and do your loved ones know where it is kept?
- Review your will. Ensure it is signed and updated based on your current circumstances.
- Do you have funeral cover and is it sufficient?
- Do you have more than one source of income? Think of one thing you can do to create more income.
- Have you submitted your tax returns?
- Write down two things you want to implement after lockdown to improve your financial fitness.
If there are items on the checklist that need attention, make a decision to start working on it. Don’t procrastinate. Something completely outside of our comfort zone and frame of reference can actually happen, it can happen to anybody and it can creep up on you without you even realizing. All you can do, is to be prepared in the best way possible.