MANAGING YOUR HEALTH By Securing Your WealthSunday, May 24, 2020
What happens when you think about money? You're one of two people: You either get tense or extremely motivated. With many of us now threatened by health or the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is safe to say that this environment of uncertainty has left a lot of Jamaicans in a state of extreme stress.
While stress is a natural reaction to certain situations, chronic stress has been linked to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, immune complications, unhealthy habits such as smoking and excessive drinking.
Take for instance, if I wake up late, I miss my workout, I feel sluggish, I rush to get ready to start my day, I skip breakfast and drink too much coffee, my mind isn't settled and I'm not at ease. Like everything else, it's a domino effect. So too, the more you stress, the more it has the potential to undermine your physical health. So if it's one thing I know I can control is how I manage the stress related to my finances. Financial survival in chaos is still achievable and I'm going to share with you how you can prepare so it's a little less stressful.
Five things you can do to improve your financial preparedness and health are:
1. Get financially literate
The best way to get your finances in good standing is to understand the ins and outs about money. This will not only give you more confidence when it comes to saving and investing but also allow you to appreciate the value of a dollar, down to the last cent. There are several ways to become more financially competent, such as participating at lifestyle summits like Emerge, which will help you focus on your lifestyle goals; speaking with an NCB financial advisor; or even good ole' Google. We live in an era where information is at our fingertips. Now that we have more time, why not make use of it?
2. Make a plan
I've always been big on planning. I know from the beginning of each year which countries I'm going to visit on my vacation and for how long. I plan my workouts, my outfits for the next day and I plan what to do with my free time each week. In the same breath when it comes to finances you must have a plan. You can improve more than your finances with a financial plan that charts the course from where you are to where you want to be. You can also enjoy better financial well-being, better emotional well-being, more overall contentment and less stress the more prepared you are. So grab a pen and paper, or your tablet, and start analysing your expenses. You will find out that you are the root of a lot of your financial stress. We really do not need anymore takeout; our waistlines and pockets can do without it!
3. Manage debt healthily
If you're concerned about your household debt, consider that Jamaicans are carrying a total debt of $360.6 billion in personal loans such as in mortgages, lines of credit and credit card balances, according to provisional BOJ data released in 2019. It is important to note that research links high levels of debt to depression and higher blood pressure. The good news is that you can become debt-free sooner with a debt management plan you create with your financial advisor. I am not saying do not have debt; what I am saying is use other people's money wisely.
4. Save for the future
Have you saved enough for retirement? Based on the FSC data, only about 16 per cent of the employed labour force contributes to a formal pension plan, which is significantly low. Especially when you take into consideration that the profile of our population is growing older and life expectancy is increasing.
To boost your retirement saving, make regular contributions every month, and diversify your portfolio of investments. Again, I can't stress this enough, seek help when you're not clear. Many financial institutions like NCB Capital Markets, have a myriad options that can work for you.
5. Explore insurance policy options
Anything can happen, so why not put your mind at ease by exploring insurance policy options that can benefit you in the long run? Not being insured can be a huge financial drain on you or your family in the event of an unexpected crisis. Insurance is, after all, a safety net if something happens. Being insured can provide you with the peace of mind that you and your family will have enough financial resources. Consider getting financial advice from trusted professionals. Guardian Life and NCB Insurance Company have advisors that can assist and recommend the insurance products that best fit your needs and budget. COVID-19 has highlighted the benefits of creditor life insurance. Those persons who feared losing their jobs did not have the fear of losing their homes because they knew that their NCB Insurance creditor life policy would cover their expenses for up to six months!
Healthy finances can lead to a healthier life. Making steps towards better financial preparedness can help you feel more in control and relieve stress. As you start making progress towards your goals, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you are contributing to a healthy mind.
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