For many, the finance world is shrouded in mystery. While we want to be smart about money but where do we start?
Financial planner Canna Campbell, who started her own business SASS Financial over ten years ago, has one major thing she looks into first when she takes on a new client.
“Obviously there’s the financial side – looking at assets and liabilities,” Canna explains, “but also what’s that person’s attitude towards money and are they ready and serious about building long term financial wealth? What are their level of expectations? What are their self-beliefs? Their values? Then we can actively build a strategy.”
Canna argues that while the financial is of obvious importance, the main aspect of building a financially stable portfolio is being willing and able to implement the strategies that will lead to key wealth building in the future.
“You can force a horse to water but you can’t make it drink,” Canna says. “So I need to know the right formula or the right ingredients to encourage someone want to make a positive long term change in their life.”
Finance isn’t just about number crunching, either – there’s no doubt in Canna’s mind that financial confidence is linked to personal empowerment. The effect of which is seen way beyond just your personal bank balance.
“Just like when you’re fit and healthy, you feel good and you feel like you’re being responsible and you’re working towards something that’s valuable in the short and long term,” Canna says. “It’s all about taking care of yourself from an emotional, physical, spiritual and financial perspective.”
For companies, it’s the same basic principle – when the numbers stack up, there’s a confidence that your company fosters which extends way beyond your books – you, clients and employees alike will feel more secure in your ability to be able to deliver the goods.
While this holistic view is certainly achievable, Canna concedes that a lack of education around money management and finances means that in general, people shy away from truly tackling the necessary issues due to the lack of knowledge that financial planning requires. “I think the problem is we’re not taught at school or even university about how to manage from a personal finance perspective,” Canna explains. “Once you have information and knowledge, you feel less scared about doing things and able to make educated decisions.”
Here are four ways Canna says you can start getting your finances in order:
“My Dad made me invest extra money during university… and when I got my first dividend cheque, I didn’t physically do anything to earn that money and for me, it was an ‘aha’ moment: imagine if this cheque had a couple of zeros on it? And I didn’t need to actually work, I could just live off passive income? So basically, my personal investment strategy is very much about passive income through shares.”
Canna’s number one tip for anyone thinking seriously about their finances? Simple: “Start investing today.”
Make sure you’re ready.
As Canna explains, there’s no point investing the time and effort into putting a strategy in place for your finances if you’re not actually ready to implement them. Breaking down your current financial situation and setting a realistic target for what you can and are willing to put into your savings plan will help avoid burnout later on.
Think outside the box.
If you’re pushed to find the money to slot into savings at all, it’s time to start looking at other ways to make money. Canna herself has introduced the $1000 project to prove how you can make small amounts grow just with a little ingenuity.
“I’ve done this through looking beyond my salary to manifest money outside of my job – [that could be] doing extra work on the weekends, or selling stuff on eBay and Gumtree: all these little things that can really add up if you take a conscious effort and actually redirect those savings.”
And to prove it’s possible for anyone, Canna is putting her money where her mouth is: she just completed “Frugal February” where she made conscious decisions to spend more time at home and reinvest the savings she made into shares.
“It’s about baby steps,” Canna says. “No one should put pressure on themselves to become an expert, personal investor: that takes years of experience and education. But you can start something very simple like setting up a managed fund regularly contributing a set amount of money.”
Canna stresses that it’s not about how much you’re investing – it’s about consistency. Even if it’s $50 a week that you’re contributing to your savings fund, you’re building something that pays off long term so don’t worry about starting small – the idea of investing now is that your incremental work now will pay off in the future.