WINDHOEK – Last month marked the celebration of the 400th edition of the Bank Windhoek Money Matters column. In 2006, Bank Windhoek took the lead with consumer education in Namibia when Money Matters was introduced as a bi-weekly column in three daily newspapers. The Money Matters column was launched as an initiative to communicate matters of interest about the bank and to discuss topical industry related issues with clients and stakeholders. Since then, the Money Matters column has become synonymous with consumer education and has consistently been published since its conception.
Bank Windhoek is a proud member and supporter of the Financial Literacy Initiative, launched by the Minister of Finance in March 2012. Financial literacy is the ability to make informed judgments and take effective decisions regarding the use and management of money.
Bank Windhoek regards financial literacy and consumer education as critical to empower its clients to make the right financial choices.
Financial literacy can help being financially independent by:
• Understanding the importance of managing personal and business finances; including planning, budgeting, saving and making financial decisions;
• Choosing the right financial products and services based on your needs and circumstances;
• Knowing financial institutions and what they can offer to you;
• Knowing your rights and responsibilities as a consumer of financial products and services.
Follow these practical steps to become financially empowered and independent:
• Take charge of your finances;
• Take stock of your current financial situation and list all your assets and liabilities;
• Take a honest look at your spending, saving, investment and debt management behaviour;
• Set your financial goals for the short, medium and long term;
• Track your daily spending for a few months. Draw up a personal monthly budget and try to stick to it every month. Be realistic in terms of your monthly income and expenses and make provision for unforeseen expenses.
Plan for the future
• Draw up a will or amend your will if your circumstances have changed. This will give you peace of mind that your loved ones will be able to cope financially upon your death.
• Plan for your retirement and enjoy your old age. If you do not belong to a pension fund, you need to look at a retirement annuity fund.
• Plan for your children’s future and start saving for their education from a young age.
• Use the services of a financial advisor such as BW Financial Advisors.
Manage your debt
• Distinguish between your long-term debt (home loan and vehicle finance) and short-term debt (credit card purchases, overdraft).
• Avoid accruing more short-term debt – don’t spend more than you can afford.
• Try to reduce your expenses and to cut down on your spending.
• Pay off your short-term debt as fast as you can. Rather pay off your debt or a part of your debt if you receive a bonus.
• Take out credit life insurance on your long-term debt.
• Maintain a good credit record and let your bank know if you are unable to repay a loan so that arrangements can be made.
“At Bank Windhoek we would like to assist you to make informed and calculated decisions on your personal finances. Take a fresh look at your finances, make a decision to take charge of your finances and reap the benefits of being financially independent,” said Bank Windhoek’s spokesperson, Hayley Allen.