3 financial decisions you’re better off making sooner rather than later

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When you are young, it feels as though you have endless time ahead of you – dread disease and death seem far off. If you do turn your consideration to financial matters, it will probably be to start saving towards retirement or paying a monthly medical aid.

We tend to put off further financial planning for when we are older, assuming we will have plenty of time. The reality, however, is that forewarned is forearmed and facing your future head-on while still young will lighten your financial burden later in life, while safeguarding your livelihood.

Danelle van Heerde, head of advice tools and processes at Sanlam, shares her suggestions on key financial decisions to consider when you’re young:

Draft a will and take out life insurance

Getting a will drafted and taking out life insurance are two critical financial considerations which younger people often leave for later.

It confronts us with our own mortality – which is not something that sits comfortably with people when they’re young – but the reality of life tells another story and you’ll do well not to see a will as an unnecessary administrative exercise or to see life insurance as a grudge purchase. 

Anyone who owns an asset or has any debt at all should have a will – regardless of how much money or possessions you have. Dying without a will means you’ll have no say about how your assets should be distributed to your family and how your debt (if you owned a car or a property of any sort) should be managed.

Similarly, without life insurance, particularly if you’re a breadwinner in your family or have children, your family might be left in financial dire straits should you die. Buying life cover at a younger age also means that your premiums will tend to be lower and that you’ll have fewer exclusions.

Take out income protection

 Many of us feel invincible when we’re in our 20s and early 30s, yet it’s almost counter-intuitive, given that our lifestyles often present the highest risk when we’re young and, hence, we are most vulnerable in our youth.

Consider the fact that a young person’s single biggest risk is their inability to earn an income. If you’re 25 years old, and have more than 40 earning years ahead of you, what will happen if you suddenly become disabled? Add to the mix a scenario of study loans, other debt, marriage and children, and the importance of taking out cover to protect your income becomes obvious.

When you’re adequately covered and you lose your ability to earn an income, your benefits kick in and “pay” you a monthly, or lump sum, amount, so you can focus on taking care of yourself and your physical and emotional wellbeing.

Make sure you’re covered should you get sick

Young people do tend to be healthier, so it’s no surprise someone in his or her 20s doesn’t think about extra protection for illness.

But it is important to protect yourself and your family, should an injury or illness leave you unable to work for a while. If you consider more serious illnesses, and know you have a family history of cancer, for example, it might be worth investing in serious illness cover sooner rather than later.  

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