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Written by: Nick Battersby, Chief Executive at PPS Investments

Lose weight. Quit smoking. Finally make it to the gym (or at least around the block)…. It is likely that many of us started 2014 with a New Year’s resolution or two. As the year gets underway it may be worth considering a further addition to the list, by making saving a priority.

So how can you make a conscious effort to boost your savings in 2014 and to manage these savings sensibly?

For a start, why not revisit your monthly budget and reallocate excessive spending or luxury purchases to a suitable savings vehicle instead. While a regular debit order into a retirement annuity, endowment plan or discretionary investment product will ensure that you save in a disciplined and structured manner, these investments still offer the flexibility for you to change or cease your monthly contributions without penalty should your personal circumstances unexpectedly change. Take a fresh look at your retirement saving strategy and at the progress you’re making towards other financial goals. Are you saving enough to meet your desired objectives? Have you set aside an appropriate amount for an unforeseen emergency? Perhaps now is a good time to meet with your financial intermediary and assess whether your savings are still on track.

You could also make a deliberate attempt to plan for the large purchases you intend to make throughout the year. By identifying such items in advance and saving towards these over a reasonable time frame, you won’t have to finance your purchases with additional debt.

Finally, bear in mind that your savings do not always have to be ‘new’. With research indicating that only a small percentage of South Africans will be able to afford a comfortable retirement – and that over half of all South Africans cash out corporate retirement benefits when changing employment – the preservation of accumulated retirement savings when leaving a retirement fund is critical. So if a change in employment is on the cards during 2014, speak to your financial intermediary about the option of investing in a pension or provident preservation fund when you do so.

By making 2014 a year to save and also a year to implement sound savings habits, you may well be reaping the benefits in the years to come.


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