At what age should I start planning for my financial future?

At what age should I start planning for my financial future?

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I’m a teenager, is it too early for me to start planning for my financial future?

There are a number of reasons why teenagers should start taking control of their financial future, firstly, it does not matter whether you are working with the best financial planner in the galaxy, at the end of the day nobody looks after your money better than you do.

Working with a good financial planner can add a lot of value but becoming financially successful starts with you.

Start saving as soon as possible

According to Prof Aubrey de Grey, if you are under the age of 50 now, you could live to be 1 000 years old.

Consider the fact that by achieving just a 1% higher rate of return on your investments over forty years compared to your neighbour, you can increase your income by as much as eight additional years in retirement.

It is thus essential that young people start saving as early as possible and become financially fit at a much younger age because goodness knows, they are going to need it.

 

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Educate yourself

Teenagers can engage in a number of activities to increase their financial knowledge. There are personal finance journals which they can subscribe to and most Saturday newspapers carry a personal finance section. Reading the business section of newspapers and financial magazines provide for a macro overview of the economy and how it affects the consumer and business.

There are financial planning and investment clubs that individuals can engage in or they can start their own club. A plethora of personal finance books are available in the market and one need only Google the top 10 rated personal finance books to come up with some beneficial literature to read.

Your relationship with money

Increasing one’s knowledge is however just the start to becoming financially successful. One of the biggest challenges for any individual to overcome in relation to money, no matter their age is more to do with psychology than financial knowledge.

The ability to control one’s emotions when making financial decisions will add more to your bottom line than anything you will ever read.

In the world of money and finance there is no shortage of information, the challenge is filtering out the garbage, retaining information that will add value and developing a dogged determination not to let emotions such as greed and fear control your financial decisions.

Colin Long
Colin Long CFP ® is an executive financial planner at Consolidated Financial Planning KZN, an authorised financial services provider. He holds a Post Grad Dip Fin Plan. For more information visit www.consolidated.co.za.