Master of Money Management

Procrastination- the thief of time, money and peace of mind

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We have all said “I will start getting serious about investing when I earn more money” or “I just need to get my head straight” or “When I (put excuse here) I will start saving. Trouble is most of us can find compelling reasons not to save. After all, saving means taking cash out of our disposable income- limiting the things we can buy and do. What we often fail to see, is the other side of the equation. If we save this money it will grow and the longer we save the faster it will grow and before we know it we are squillionaires who can afford, well, just about anything.

The problem with saying “I will save when I am earning more money” is that when you earn more, you will quickly find things to spend it on –and it’s not a savings plan. We tend to think that saving R200 is just not worth saving, if we are going to save we need to save big or go home. This kind of thinking means that we never find a compelling enough reason to commit to a plan.

Believe it or not even saving R10 a day can still be worth something if you allow it to grow up. If you saved R10 a day at an interest rate of 9.5 % you would be a millionaire in 37 years. Granted for most people that’s way too long to wait and inflation would make a significant dent but it certainly gets your attention.

The longer you wait to start saving the more difficult it becomes. If you started saving from the age of 20 with the aim of having one million rand by age 65, all you would need to squirrel away is R61 per month. If you started at age 25 you would have to save R109 rand a month, or, if you wait until you are 35, you will have to save R345 per month. When you hit 45 the monthly savings requirement jumps to R1, 150.

And if you leave it until you are 55 you’ll have to salt away R4, 749 to get to a million by age 65. Bearing in mind of course, that R1 million rand is unlikely to be nearly enough for retirement, unless you live on berries and leaves in a cave for the rest of your life.

So what’s holding you back besides procrastination? If you have lots of debt repayments each month, extra cash will be scarce. If for example, you are like the average South African, spending over 70% of your disposable income on debt repayment, then it leaves very little to work with. It is vital to get rid of as much debt as possible (one of your biggest excuses) in order to get on track. Once you have freed up cash to save, commit to a retirement annuity where a set amount is deducted from your salary each month and make sure that it increases annually by at least the rate of inflation. By doing this you will soon forget that you even had the money; the saving will become automated, and the procrastination habit will no longer be an issue.

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