Scientists estimate that we have about 12 000 to 60 000 thoughts per day, of which about 95% are the same thoughts we had the day before. And so many times our new and repetitive thoughts centre on wishing our lives were different. Very often we say: “I wish I knew then what I know now”. 

Gaining financial literacy or knowledge from a young age would go a long way to changing the above statement to “I am glad I knew then what most people only know later in life”.  
The good news, especially for our youth, is that acquiring this knowledge is now much easier than a few decades ago. Almost everything is available on the internet, while some financial literacy issues are now part of the school curriculum. And there are skilled experts, like financial advisers, who are readily available to transfer their knowledge to people searching for money skills.

It’s never too late or too early to start your journey to financial success.  Here’s how to at every stage of your life:

How to save: Teaching children to save towards something they really want is a good way to introduce them to budgeting. A great way to do this without them feeling restricted is to allow them to spend 40-50% of their money and save the rest. 

How to manage a bank account: Opening a bank account with a debit card (most banks offer this) allows teens to understand how money flows in and out of their accounts and gives them the confidence to manage this for themselves, given the responsibility and choice they now have. 

Early adulthood 
How to plan for the future: The most important thing you can do when you start working is to start saving for retirement. The sooner you start saving, the more time your money has to grow with compound interest. Consider investing in your own retirement annuity over and above your pension/provident fund with your employer.

How to budget: You have to know where your money is going. A budget helps you live within your means and makes it easier to plan for day-to-day spending. It’s an essential tool to prevent living just paycheck to paycheck and actually working towards your financial goals. 

Adulthood to retirement
How to protect yourself and your family: Make provisions to insure yourself against unexpected events. Your financial plan is not complete without life and disability insurance, income protection and a professionally drafted will to ensure both you and your family are taken care of. 

How to invest: To grow your money, you need learn how to invest it smartly. Investing in instruments such as flexible, tax efficient investment products, shares, and unit trusts gives you potential profitable returns which accumulates real wealth. The best way to start? Get help from your financial adviser.

No matter where you are in your life, it’s never too late to start thinking differently and making better decisions about money to avoid thinking “I wish…” later in life.