A new year is always a good way to start afresh with various goals, putting your dreams into action and, most of all, taking care of YOU – financially. So, how do you take care of YOU for a change?

Well, when last were you involved in your money matters, and not implementing the ostrich method? You know – ducking your head into the ground and hoping all those debt obligations or overwhelming financial goals would just – “poof” – disappear.

You will not enjoy peace of mind if you are not in the driver’s seat of your financial affairs. Don’t you think, since it’s a new year, it is time for a revised or new financial/debt management plan and, in the process, experience the freedom of being YOU?

Carla Oberholzer, debt adviser at DebtSafe, says that now is your chance to start or improve your debt management plan, aka your ‘YOU financial plan’. This will ensure that you not only plot your financial resolutions for 2020, but also pave the way to where you want to be. And, in the end, embrace the new freedom-filled YOU.

Here’s why it’s okay to start your 2020 year with a reviewed financial/debt management plan:

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  • Time to turn over a new financial leaf, forget the past financial mistakes and teach yourself the right ropes NOW.
  • When your debt is out of the way and your finances are under control or managed well, then you can truly experience a debt-free lifestyle and the real YOU.
  • It is the best time of year to start afresh – ‘Start at the very beginning, it is a very good place to start…’

So how do you revise and compile that new financial/debt management plan of yours? Here’s how in four steps:

1. Take a look at your overall financial situation

Even if you have ‘sort of an idea’ about your financial situation, it can surely guide you where you have to start and where you need to go. Perhaps you can start with preparing a proper budget, and ‘inspecting’ your bank statements to see where your spending leaks are. This will guide you to improve your spending behaviour and know what is going on in your personal ‘financial world’.

2. Get a proper plan in place

Since you have an idea about your financial situation now, what are you going to do to improve it or start a new financial, aka ‘debt management’ plan? Put together a get-out-of-arrears plan and try to get rid of your debt bit by bit – paying off one account at a time. Or, what about considering how you can boost your income with a side hustle and pay off your debts faster. Add whatever plan necessary to fit your situation and financial goals.

3. Change your habits (money behaviour) & money psychology

Kick-start your year with not only good resolutions and intentions, but follow through with frugal actions and lead by example. Think before you buy, stick to your shopping lists, don’t swipe your credit card during impulsive outings and try to keep an envelope of cash with you to stick to your grocery budget, for example. Frugal money thoughts and behaviour are endless. Just start, already!

4. You are NOT alone in this

Make a list of who could help you fix your current debt mess IF you cannot get a grip on your debt. There are various professionals who can assist: bankers, financial planners, coaches or the National Credit Regulator, and debt counsellors can help you to sustainably structure your debt. In serious debt management related programmes your assets can also be kept safe under the National Credit Act and regulations.

Nina Simone sang these lyrics – an appropriate reminder of your new 2020 ‘YOU financial plan’:

“It’s a new dawn, It’s a new day.

It’s a new life, For me.

And I’m feeling good”

Remember that 2020 is YOUR year. It’s go time – so make proper financial and debt management happen this year. With your new, improved financial/debt management plan, you can get rid of your debt, manage your finances sustainably and enjoy the new YOU plus your new on-your-way-to-be-debt-free lifestyle in the process.