Welcome to another week of financial learning. In my last two epistles, I have been looking at Financial Resolutions and its importance in our quest to hit debt-free and growth in our finances this year.
Today I want to start some series on financial excellence.
Financial excellence for the purpose of this article will be explained as our ability to live above normal financial challenges.
Before we tackle the term financial excellence, we first need to understand what we mean by excellence. The word excellence is one of the most abused words of our time.
The Oxford dictionary defines Excellence as “The quality of being outstanding or extremely good.”
Excellence simply means being your best. We become excellent when we match our abilities in our practice.
Aristotle, the great philosopher explains that “Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.”
We all have to strive towards the achievement of excellence in our family life, work, and finances.
Lifeline Australia, an NGO defines a financial challenge as a situation where money worries causes you stress. Lifeline Australia adds that many people are facing hard financial times and the impact on mental health can be significant.
In their educative article, they prescribe a few guidelines on how one can overcome financial stress.
One of their guidelines that struck me most was the fact that one needs to engage those they owe ahead of time concerning their financial state.
Lifeline advises that we contact people who we owe and tell them you are having difficulties as well as asking for time to work things out.
This is a practice alien to our systems.
However, financial stress is no respecter of race or culture.
We can look at this solution as we strive to move away from avoidable debts!
The journey towards financial excellence is therefore aimed at making everyone free from money stress.
Research in the field of medicine shows that financial stress causes the following;
- Lack of concentration
- Strained relationships- Arguing with loved ones over money
- Insomnia- Difficulty sleeping
- Substance abuse
- Heart disease
It is therefore important that we attach seriousness to the quest towards financial excellence. Financial excellence starts with having a plan for your life.
This life plan should be broken down into targets. I believe you need to set targets for 2020 broken down into weeks and months.
This will help in navigating your way in every monetary decision you make in 2020.
The targets should follow the SMART Rule. It should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.
If your target is to be rich in 2020, you need to be clear about your level of riches.
How much do you want to be worth in December 2020?
If your target is to buy a land and develop this year, the question is where do you want to buy this land, how much can you afford for the purchase, what kind of housing structure do you envisage?
These are all basic but crucial boxes that you need to tick.
With the above targets and plans set, the next question is the HOW TO ACHIEVING THEM!
There are two broad ways of achieving financial excellence.
The first vehicle towards financial excellence is the effective management of our existing stream of income. The fact remains that, not everyone can be an entrepreneur!
Not everyone can start a business and run it efficiently!
I will therefore not be seen as pushing readers into establishing businesses to survive. However, we owe it as a duty call to efficiently manage our current income. That is what I call FINANCIAL DISCIPLINE!
Financial Discipline starts with having a personal simplified budget.
Other components are building a sustaining savings and investment scheme, sticking to an effective record-keeping system as well as insurance and retirement policies as explained in my epistle last week.
These are steps that will aid us in efficiently managing our income no matter the amount.
When I hear people complaining about their level of income, my response has always been simple.
You either look for extra income support ventures or match your lifestyle to your income.
Matching your lifestyle to your income simply means that anything you decide to buy or eat should reflect your pocket!
If your salary is GHS 1,000 and you spend GHS 500 monthly on fuel and car maintenance, obviously you will struggle without any prophecy!
The above scenario shows that you spend 50% of your monthly income on just one expense line.
If you try the above financial discipline steps to no avail, then the second vehicle of financial excellence will apply.
Financial empowerment is the second vehicle to Excellence.
Financial Empowerment is the addition of wealth to your life through the creation of streams of income, voluntarism for unemployed youth and skill development.
Put your hands to extra work if your current income cannot meet your growing expenses. The most working-class are engaged in formal work from 8am to 5pm. That is 9 hours.
We spend roughly an average of 7 to 8 hours in bed at night. My question today is that what “profitable” happens around the remaining 7 to 8 hours??
Instead of complaining and blaming others for your financial struggles, sit back and restrategize on how you can make some gains with your time.
Time is Money! Time mismanaged is, therefore, money unwisely spent.
In my subsequent epistles, I will deal with the role of spouses in the financial excellence journey at home.
I wish everyone a wonderful and memorable week!
Patrick Baah Abankwa is a chartered banker with over 6 years experience in main stream banking having worked in various capacities. He is currently at the Branch Manager Position of his institution.
He has been a qualified member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, Ghana with a good membership standing since the year 2013.
He also holds EMBA and BA from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science, Technology, and the University of Ghana respectively.
Patrick is the originator of the daily epistle dubbed “Savings Tip of the Day” which has been running for over a year on WhatsApp and Facebook.
Patrick has also been teaching on the Topics Savings, Investment and Financial Independence for over 2 years and a research fellow for ILAPI Ghana. He runs a financial channel on Youtube by name “Patrick TV Gh” and has appeared a couple of times on the business segment of TV3 News 360.
Patrick is into youth facilitation and counselling. He can be contacted via email@example.com and or 0243984492.
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