Checkups essential for financial health

I have been giving financial-planning advice for more than 40 years. And today, with the beginning of a new column in Sowetan, I feel the same excitement I did when I wrote my first financial article in the 1980s.

I have been giving financial-planning advice for more than 40 years. And today, with the beginning of a new column in Sowetan, I feel the same excitement I did when I wrote my first financial article in the 1980s.

My first column will be much like a visit to your doctor. Just as we look after our physical health, so we need to take care of our financial health by having regular financial checkups.

With a medical checkup, the doctor is the specialist. When undergoing a financial checkup, you need a professional and experienced financial planner.

The planner will take all aspects of your finances into consideration and ensure that he has covered all areas.

A good starting point is to identify your personal, predetermined needs and objectives. This task will involve number crunching to estimate future interest rates, growth rates, inflation and your current requirements projected into the future.

The aim is to ascertain how much capital you will need for your future income. Circumstances constantly change. You might have a new baby, the kids might have started school and you might have to buy a new car or host a wedding.

That is why this exercise should be done yearly to accommodate the changes in your life.

Break down your requirements into what you need in the short, medium and long term.

Ensure that your life assurance is up to date. Your circumstances might have changed.

If something happens to you, will your family be taken care of and will your children receive an education?

Disability insurance is often another neglected area. Accidents and illnesses happen, so ensure you are adequately covered. Your family depends on your being able to perform your job.

lBryan Hirsch is chief executive of Pioneer Financial Planning. Visit www.pioneer.co.za for more info

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