We encounter numerous problems daily and some of these problems have been with us for years. In the beginning of every New Year, we feel energized and think that our problems would be solved after listening to a few motivational speeches and attending a powerful anointing service. However, soon after the service and few days into the New Year, reality sets in and we are back to square one. The man of God may have done his part for you spiritually and the motivational messages may have pushed the adrenaline in you. The rest begins with you.
It is the beginning of a New Year and this is the perfect time to plan and not leave things to chance. Most often, people fail to plan and leave very important aspects of their lives to chance. One key thing many fail to intentionally act on is their finances; there is no financial plan. Others fail to insure their properties and businesses even though they are aware that fire and floods can lead to major losses. Some also refuse to insure their cars, forgetting that accidents happen while others leave the distribution of their assets to chance by refusing to prepare a will.
This article seeks to draw your attention to the need for investments, insurance, preparing a will and taking charge of your life. It would also touch on the need for you to pay more attention to your health through regular medical checkup, healthy living, eating nutritious foods and exercising.
Why do people fail to plan?
Over-reliance on others
Unfortunately, many think that the world owes them everything and they owe themselves nothing. They always look forward to being helped by others but would do nothing for themselves. Some believe they have family members, friends, co-workers and church members to depend on when they find themselves in financial difficulties. Even though they know they would need some funds for future expenses like school fees for their children or themselves, rent and medical bills, they fail to save. Investments and savings come in handy during such circumstances.
Most of the emergency calls are due to loss of an asset through fire, accidents, thievery, robbery, etc. Family and friends would provide you some emergency support for the short-term but in the long-term, you need a sustainable plan to restore the valuable possessions you lost. That is where insurance comes in.
Belief in supernatural help
Humans are made of a spirit, soul and body. This means that there is a spiritual aspect of our lives and that is where religion or faith in a Supernatural Being comes to play. I believe in God and His grace, favor and providence to keep me going but I also believe in doing things right. Some people fail to plan because they believe God will come through for them anyway.
It is always good to rely on God but He expects us to apply wisdom. Some people’s limited knowledge of Him makes them feel there is no need to plan.
Both the Bible and Quran teaches on the need for planning because it is important. In Luke 14:28, scripture says, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”
One of the most important pieces of advice to all Muslims by Prophet Mohammed on the importance of planning was a narrative involving camels. Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, the hadith outlines the story of a Bedouin man who was leaving his camel without tying it. The Prophet (PBUH) asked him, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in Allah.” The Prophet then replied, “Tie your camel first and then put your trust in Allah.”
Like the Bedouin man, irrespective of the trust we have in our Maker, it is imperative that we take planning seriously.
Things to plan for
We leave things to chance without knowing because we strangely think that they would fall in place then boom, disaster strikes! Instead of blaming ourselves and putting measures in place to prevent future occurrences, we live in denial and curse those we believe should have come to our aid. Truth is, you need to take charge of yourself. Don’t always expect people to come in to help. Get a plan and implement it. It solves a chunk of the post-disaster stress.
Most people leave their finances to chance by refusing to invest, save or cut down on their expenses. Consequently, when they encounter financial difficulties, they get stuck in their tracks or resort to expensive solutions like loans and other uncertain sources such as family and friends. This New Year, you need to change your modus operandi. Get a financial plan by creating a budget!
You may leave things to chance but the question is, “Would the people you are counting on be in the position to assist you in a timely manner? Do these people owe you support?”
It is normal to leave things to chance until you become helpless without support.
Get a will
Another important thing most people ignore is preparing a will to secure the future of those they leave behind after their demise. People work hard to accumulate wealth. Most of their family members are well aware of these properties and come in to deprive the rightful beneficiaries access to them when one dies.
Most African countries believe in the extended family system, thus, very distant family members become very close and come in to fight for their share of a deceased’s property. Take charge now. Secure the future of your spouse and children. Get a will. Alternatively, amend your beneficiaries on all your investments including SSNIT, Tier 2 and Pensions. Those on Cap 30 need to complete an update their nomination forms.
Get an insurance
It is difficult to start a business and grow it to a profitable level. It is also difficult to buy a car and own a home. Most of these assets are financed with debts that are in the process of being paid. Why not secure such valuables with insurance instead of leaving them to chance?
Get an insurance. It comes in handy when disaster strikes.
Pay attention to your health
Health, they say, is wealth. This New Year, pay attention to your health. Have a full medical checkup and check your organs to ascertain if they are functioning well. Checkup helps you to discover health problems that may be developing so you can manage to prevent such from getting chronic.
You can do cholesterol, liver function, thyroid function, renal function, cardiac examination and glucose test among others. Check your blood pressure often and manage it if you have a problem.
Know your Body Mass Index (BMI) and control your weight. Eat healthy and nutritious meals, rest well and exercise. Manage stress well and have positive thoughts always. It is also advisable to get a personal health insurance for yourself and dependents. It is beneficial when health emergencies happen.
I have been thinking about the possible reasons for which people leave things to chance and what comes to mind immediately is a high sense of entitlement and expectation from others who are more blessed than they are. People insult their innocent uncles who happen to be rich, thinking that they are the reason for which they are suffering. Those we believe owe us a lot may be saddled with debt and may not be as rich as we think.
Furthermore, some believe that their faith is enough to see them through any challenge in life. This is great but the Bible says faith without works is dead! By all means, have faith but please put a plan in place. Remember that faith plus plan equals wisdom.
Everything in life is guided by principles. For wealth creation, invest! To restore your fortunes after any major disaster, insure. To ensure that your properties go to the right people after your demise, create a will. Don’t leave anything to chance; get a plan. Implement your plan and pray as well. Altogether, this would minimize the effect of any disaster on your life.
Always blaming others is cowardice and recklessness. Take charge and help yourself. You need the support of others but they may be struggling with their personal challenges, too. Don’t add yours to theirs.
It is within your means to take charge. It is dignifying to take charge. This New Year and beyond, do it yourself. Ask for help where necessary but desist from being a burden. By all means, get a plan and don’t leave anything to chance!
Written by: Sophia Kafui Teye (BSc, MBA, GSE Cert. and CA Ghana (Student Member))
Author of the under listed books;
Start Right: A Guide to Financial Investments in Ghana
Overcoming Infertility: What to do When Childbirth Delays
Stepping up Your Life
Email Address: [email protected]
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of the organization she works for.