Good financial habits are crucial to long-term success

We should strive to save, invest and make informed decisions that align with our goals – money expert

Sibongile Mashaba Deputy News Editor
Wikus Olivier - credit smart
Wikus Olivier - credit smart
Image: supplied

“Let us strive to view money as a tool, not an idol and cultivate a healthy relationship with it – one that empowers us to live a life guided by our values, aspirations and the impact we make in this life.”

Take a moment and chew on the words of CreditSmart Financial Services managing director Wikus Olivier.

Now, reflect on how you see money. How does it make you feel?

Do you feel a sense of security, freedom or even anxiety and stress, asks Olivier.

“It [money] holds immense power in our lives, affecting our choices, decisions and even our sense of self-worth. Understanding our relationship with money is essential for achieving financial well-being and cultivating a healthy mindset towards money and wealth.

“One significant factor influencing our perception of money is how our parents saw and handled it. Our upbringing shapes our beliefs, attitudes and behaviours towards money. If our parents or guardians demonstrated a scarcity mindset, constantly worrying about finances or engaging in unhealthy financial habits, we may have inherited those fears and negative associations.

"Similarly, if they emphasised the importance of saving, investing wisely, and using money as a tool for growth, we might have adopted a more positive and responsible approach.”

And because our relationship with money is entwined with our emotions, upbringing and self-perception, Olivier says it is important to understand the psychological aspects of money and reshaping our mindset is key to achieving financial wellness. 

“It is vital to recognise that money by itself won’t bring joy or fulfilment. We often fall into the trap of equating material possessions or a hefty bank balance with happiness.

“While financial stability is undoubtedly important, true joy is intrinsic and stems from non-monetary aspects of life, such as relationships, personal growth and meaningful experiences. Understanding this fundamental truth allows us to shift our focus from amassing wealth for its own sake to using money to achieve certain goals and create a more fulfilling life,” Olivier says.

“…While diligence in financial management is essential, it is equally important to acknowledge that money should not be idolised. It is merely a tool – a resource that, when used wisely, can enhance our lives and the lives of others.

"We risk sacrificing our well-being, relationships and overall happiness when we place money on a pedestal and obsessively pursue it. We will never achieve that stage where we feel we have accumulated enough. Becoming good stewards of our money requires understanding its role to an end, rather than an end in itself.”

Olivier says developing good financial habits is crucial for long-term financial success.

“We should strive to save, invest, and make informed decisions that align with our goals. However, to truly thrive in our financial journey, we must first cultivate a healthy mindset and relationship with money.

“Examining and reshaping our beliefs and attitudes surrounding wealth can transform our financial lives and create a positive ripple effect on our overall well-being,” says Olivier.

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