What financial lessons can we learn from the Ants?

In my 16 years of working in the financial services industry, I had witnessed financial follies or mistakes that individuals committed resulting in broken families and sufferings inflicted on their loved ones.

And now in times of financial crisis, we are beginning to read them in the newspapers as well as hear among our friends and relatives. The common mistakes include –

1. Overleveraging – investing in several investment properties thinking of flipping them to make quick profit but incurred losses when the property bubble burst.

2. Speculating in shares – savings lost due to speculations in the stock market.

3. Living beyond one’s means – incurring credit card debts to finance the high life and unable to pay back when they lose their jobs. Recent numbers from Credit Counselling Singapore (CCS) reviewed that overspending was the main culprit in 57% of cases of debtors seeking help this year compared with 52% in 2006.

The reasons for such predicaments could be due to the lack of financial literacy, misplaced values as well as refusal to seek proper financial advice etc.

How can you avoid the financial follies and manage your finances well? You can if you choose to. Let us look to the Ants for guidance and inspiration…

1.Ants never quit

If their headed in a certain direction and we try to stop them, they will climb over or look for another way round.

Lesson

What is the purpose of money in your life? Review and prioritize your financial goals – Financial independence, children tertiary education funding, financial security for self and family etc. Focus on your goals and not be distracted by the negative news or obstacles around us.

2.Ants think winter all summer

Ants gather their winter food and saved them during summer time for they know that good summer times will not last forever.

Lesson

Be realistic with your cash flow management – never assume that the job or business that is generating income will always be there. Spending more than you earn and relying on credit to finance your high life is going to get you in trouble should you lost your job or business. Always live within your means, save money for rainy days and invest to build up retirement funding. Proper asset allocation to reduce investment risk is critical for wealth accumulation. You are here today but may be gone tomorrow…have you done your Will? Have you ensured that you and your loved ones have the necessary life and medical insurance coverage?

3.Ants think summer all winter

During winter ants always remind themselves that the winter will not last forever. The moment they see the sun light, they are out.

Lesson

Keep your composure and remain positive despite all the negative news during times of financial crisis. For those who have investments, review them and restructure them into a diversified portfolio that can help you to ride out the bad times. For those who have surplus cash (after setting as emergency funds), you can seek financial advice to sift out investments of good value. Unpredictable events will always affect the financial market causing it to go through peak and trough. The key to investing is all about time in the market and not timing the market.

4.All that you possibly can

Ants gather as much as they can during summer time to prepare for winter.

Lesson

Try your best to put your financial affairs in order. Seek qualified financial advice to help you structure a holistic Wealth Plan and take necessary actions to implement it. This will help cater to your needs for wealth accumulation, management and protection as well as put in place an effective Estate Plan.

Remember, your financial affairs should be reviewed as a whole and not piecemeal. Have a holistic Wealth Plan drawn up if you have not done so. For more information about holistic Wealth Plan, click here for a complimentary 1st consultation.

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