Trying to make ends meet with your sky-high living expenses, increasing debt situations, excessive spending opportunities, and those instant gratification enticements are just a few problems that can prevent you from achieving financial freedom.
“Once you have paid off your debt, established an emergency fund for yourself or your household, and have the income to attain your life goals, while also meeting your living costs, you can reclaim and reach financial freedom,” highlights Carla Oberholzer, debt advisor atDebtSafe.
Here are seven (7) everyday obstacles that can withhold you from achieving financial freedom, as well as suggestions on how to overcome them:
- LOW INCOME: If you earn less than what you owe and have more ‘month than money’ left each month, your income is insufficient.
Increase your income by justifying a raise. Or, take on a new job that pays more (*finding a better job opportunity can take some time and endurance, but it is possible*). And, why not do what you are good at and use what you have available to start a side hustle? Do you have access to a computer, and are you a respectable writer or editor? Why not try your hand at freelancing? Do you enjoy cooking and have a stove available? Why not swoosh up healthy ready-made meals once a week (to limit your gas usage or electricity costs). The possibilities are endless; the key is to START.
- UNDEFINED & UNSET FINANCIAL GOALS: When you know what you are working towards and what you need to achieve within a specific timeframe (short-term or long-term goals), you will have the necessary direction and motivation to reach your objectives. Having no money aspirations will have the opposite effect.
Establish and maintain clear money goals. Get out a piece of paper and a pen, or compile a categorised list (with a final deadline) and save it on your mobile/computer/laptop. Review your list regularly, and remember to add your ‘goal achievement dates’ to your calendar.
- LACK OF FINANCIAL EDUCATION: While you may not have had the opportunity to learn how money works, pushing yourself to gain a basic understanding of personal finance can help you immensely.
Make use of the resources available to you and expand your knowledge. You’ll be surprised how many educational channels there are. Listen to trusted experts via podcasts, watch informative videos, read blogs and books, or consult with a reputable expert to help you make sound financial decisions.
- FEAR OF RESPONSIBILITY/COMMITMENT: Even the bravest and most knowledgeable person you know can be afraid of achieving financial freedom and fail to commit to financial priorities. Can you relate?
Financial freedom is not a walk in the park, but it is doable by adding intentional behavioural tweaks throughout your lifestyle and daily routine. Suppose you constantly remind yourself about your responsibility. You can stick to your budget, turn away from impulsive purchases, avoid taking on additional debt (no matter how appealing the marketing message may be) and instead focus on your ‘needs’ rather than your ‘wants’.
- DISORGANISATION OR POOR PRIORITISATION: You can’t save for that holiday when you still have to pay off various debts, now can you?
Organise your finances and add a ‘priority list’. It is beneficial to have a financial plan in place – create a budget, add your goals accordingly, and indicate your top financial priorities. Whether it’s, firstly, to pay off your debts one by one or to save for a short-term goal.
- EXTERNAL FACTORS (out of your control, such as fuel hikes, food price increases, and inflation): There are many things over which you have no control, but you can try to manage YOUR mini-economy by making a few changes.
Be aware of all external challenges that may affect your financial situation but, instead, focus on remaining proactive to keep your situation under control. Go back to basics – if you need more money for groceries or other living expenses, review your previous three months’ bank statements for any ‘spending leaks’ that you can immediately start cutting out. And, what about revising your insurance contracts and service agreements (like that gym contract you rarely use or the phone contract that is way too expensive)?
- AVOIDING PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE: Playing the ostrich (with your head in the ground and avoiding others) is an all-too-common role. It is understandable – you want to appear independent when it comes to your finances. But, if you have done everything you can and don’t see any way out of the dark tunnel to reach financial freedom, it is time to seek and ask professionals for help.
Consider the advice of trusted financial planners, your banker, or recommended professionals. And, (when you still have a source of income and severe debt problems) contact a registered Debt Counsellor/Debt Counselling firm that is regulated by the National Credit Regulator (NCR) and operates under the National Credit Act (known as ‘the Act’ or NCA), to assist.
Are the issues listed above familiar to you? Why not try the suggested solutions to overcome them? If you can take control of your financial situation, save money, and pay off your debts, your chances of achieving financial freedom skyrocket. Do not, under any circumstances, give up. You can reclaim your financial freedom; all you have to do is remove the obstacles that stand in your way.