Financial Intelligence: Are you a good steward of your money?

Both my grandfathers were headmasters.  I never met my paternal grandfather but one thing that my maternal grandfather – and for that fact grandmother as well – never got tired of drumming into our heads was the important of education.  I have always interpreted this to mean both formal and informal education.  My definition of informal education is learning from the lessons that life presents to you.

One such lesson lies in the importance of saving and having realistic financial goals.   The truth is you don’t have to be earning millions to start.  In life i believe it is always the first step that is the hardest and therefore the most powerful. It is important to start where you are.  The rule of thumb is always to save 10% of what you earn whatever that may be after your tithes and other obligations.

I am passionate about women being financially intelligent because I find it upsetting when we can spend eye-watering amounts on our hair, make up, shoes and clothes but not put a cent aside for a rainy day.  Please don’t get me wrong, i want to look good like the next person but as my dad always says, “All those things will never end, so sacrificing ‘shopping money’ in order to start putting away money for investments; your pension etc. seems like a small price to pay.  Life really is about reaping what we sow…”

Below are some principles that I apply to my life:

  • Tithing – there is something  powerful about giving back to God the first 10% of your income – Malachi 3v 10 -12
  • Take the time out to prepare a realistic budget ( see article on budgeting)
  • Save at least 10% of your income every month
  • Have a rainy day fund which should be 8 times what your monthly expenses are.
  • Pray and work towards having multiple streams of income.  Now for everyone this may be as simple as taking the time out every couple of months to de-clutter your home and sell things you may not need anymore.  Seek God to show you what else you can do to bring in extra cash.
  • Set savings goals. Establish what it is you are saving for exactly. For instance, if you would like to buy your first piece of land in the particular area of town, and you’ve done your research, you can pretty much give a ball-park figure of what it will cost you to buy that land per square meter. Maybe you are working towards the purchase of your first car. Knowing that it will cost you $5000 to buy the car and another $5000 to get it shipped over, coupled with the dreaded duty costs – you have figure in mind that you need to work towards. Your target is $10,000 and it will cost you X amount to save it. Creating a goal, or reason for your saving is important because it gives you focus.

I heard a very sad but common story about a woman whose husband died in a tragic car accident and left the family with nothing but debts that sadly she was unaware of.  What makes this situation even more painful is that for the better part of the last 10 years the widow was a ‘kept woman’ who allowed her husband to handle EVERY single aspect of their finances, to the extent that on the day that he died because he handled all their finances and gave her an ‘allowance’ all she had to her name was $10…

She is now finds herself in a situation where the family has no vehicle as it was a complete write off – and that was the least of the struggles that ensued. Said lady had to endure the task of getting up to speed with what it was that the husband was doing to get them into debt, reading the fine print on paperwork signed and trying to keep her head above water in every way.

It gets even testier when there are children are involved. Was there any money aside for their school fees? Was the house they called home at some point put up as collateral for one of the many transactions the husband was involved in? She was a ‘kept woman’ – but did she have any previous experience she could ride on to get back into the work force or continue on with the business that her husband was running? I never got wind of the answers to those questions, but do imagine that had she been better prepared, perhaps after this life changing tragic event may have been softened.

Ladies, we have to be shrewd about issues of finances. I know people who borrow about town so they can serve a nice roast chicken for dinner every day or keep the pool full. As we know all too well – life can throw some hectic curveballs that often times leave us realising just how unprepared we were. Are there wiser decisions we can make with our money? Are we being good stewards with the money that passes through our hands and our books?

Quintessentially Yours

QF Ruvimbo

Resident QF Tendayi Ndoro on Money Matters

There is a lot of talk on the importance of saving money, investing money, making money and more relevant to this post – women getting their finances in order. Hear from QF Resident Contributor and Life Coach Tendayi Ndoro on this week’s musing on Money Matters.

Life Coach Tendayi Ndoro

MONEY! MONEY! MONEY!  As the economic situation globally tightens up, it’s becoming increasingly important for savvy women to get their financial houses in order.  Sometimes that can mean a harsh and strict look at things and thereafter making tough decisions which are not always a comfortable procedure.  It’s time to look ahead of the game and instead of being reactive, being more proactive.  Understanding the difference between assets and liabilities is key and getting the balance right especially on being good to yourself is the first issue I am going to talk about.

I speak openly on this issue as this was a tough area for me and one that I still often have to battle with. Proverbs 20: 23 says “Unequal weights are an abomination to the Lord, and false scales are not good.”  Many of us are failing to get the balance right when it comes to financial priorities. A budget is key.  It needs to be a reasonable, balanced one that factors in the level of affordable fun that is possible on your income as well as taking care of the important things.  For most women the love of retail therapy to deal with any and all emotions has left a big dent in the finances until they are caught between a rock and a hard place. The scales are then tipped to the other extreme where one is forced to start spending everything they earn on paying bills and commitments!  No fun at all!  At that point they become so desperate that they start looking for the lottery god. They fall victim to many manipulative tactics that wolves out there are ready with, designed to convince many hard working individuals that if you give your whole salary /SEED away, you will be blessed and reap a harvest that you cannot contain!  This leads many to forget their financial commitments that they have been entrusted to pay including all the other responsibilities.  But you QF woman will no longer fall into this trap!  There is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus and the first step towards getting to that place of freedom is writing what that looks like for you and deciding what you would need to do to get it.  How without earning any more money can you get to keep more each month?  Something has got to go?  You decide, what on that long list of outgoings is tipping your scale over?

A little from Tendayi about why she is so passionate on this topic…

When I was a toddler, I wanted to be a dancer when I grew up! I still feel my blood rush every time I see choreographed dancing and am usually the first one to hit the dance floor at a party.  It is however no surprise to me how I’ve ended up doing what I do!  My love for people and numbers and deep rooted desire to help everyone I come into contact with to achieve all that life has to offer them is what gets me through the highs and lows of a demanding and often gruelling financial services industry.  I trained to be a life coach a few years ago and this helped me understand how and why people behave in ways that is often so contrary to facilitating the manifestation to their hearts true desires.  This set off a flaming fire within me to play my role with the tools I have in my hand to enlighten and help those who were interested on embarking on this journey of freedom to do so.  Being a child of God, a scripture that has challenged me particularly in the realm that I work in is from Luke 4:18 which Jesus said:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.”

Having advised clients for over 10 years on investments, retirement planning, protection and mortgages, I began to realise that one of the most bodies that were walking the furthest in financial freedom were actually the body of Christ, who this scripture was proclaimed for. That did not sit right with me.  Needing to fully attain that freedom in all areas of my life as well, I began a personal journey with God to help me to open my eyes and see how I need to be walking to enjoy this FINANCIAL FREEDOM.  I now thrive on sharing the wisdom of the Bible’s take on how we are meant to manage our finances and help individuals take steps to back it up with practical tools and vehicles through my financial planning business.

 To learn more from Tendayi Ndoro – Motivational Speaker, Leader, Motivator and Author please visit her website on www.Tendayindoro.com