Time to complete a mid-2016 financial stock-take

It is already the middle of 2016 and time to take stock of where you are financially, before the rest of the year runs away from you.

“Midpoint in the year is a good time to review your finances, because there is still time to remedy financial goals made at the beginning of 2016, but forgotten as the year progresses,” says Eunice Sibiya, head of consumer education at FNB.

We are all busy therefore plans and goals started with great intentions at the beginning of the year are set aside as life continues. However, dusting off your budget and financial plans for the year will go a long way towards putting you on the right track.

Herewith some questions to ask when working through the last six months and reviewing financial goals for the remainder of the year.

Does your current budget work?

You may have put together a perfect budget at the beginning of the year, but does it balance out and are you sticking to it?

“I find that many people, especially when setting up a budget for the first time, are over optimistic about how much they actually spend every month,” says Sibiya.

If you find that over the last six months, you have actually been spending R1 500 on petrol each month and not R1 000 like you budgeted for, it is time to adjust your budget.

What has changed in the last six months?

The best thing about life is that is never stays the same, but this makes it a bit difficult when trying to stick to a financial goal.

“Ask yourself, what events have happened in the last six months that might require a change in the way you plan for your finances?” says Sibiya.

This could include happy events such as getting married or falling pregnant, more stressful life events such as a death in the family, unexpected job loss or just general changes in circumstances such as deciding to move home or time to get a new car.

“Each of these events comes with a financial tag, which means you will now need to plan for each of these,” says Sibiya. “It also means that other goals, such as saving for a yearend holiday may have to be reviewed and those finances diverted towards the new goal.”

Are you on track with your financial goals?

Review the goals that you set up at the beginning of the year. For instance, if you are saving towards going on holiday or planning on paying off a portion of debt, you should be half way there.

“The important thing is that if you are not on track with your financial goals, do not give up,” says Sibiya. “It is easy to give up entirely when plans haven’t gone your way, but by delaying action you will only find yourself in an even worse financial position at the beginning of 2017, especially if you have had to take on debt to fund something you should have been saving for.”

Going through a financial review, midway through the year, will help refocus your goals and put you in a better financial position for the rest of the year and beyond.