Useful financial planning tools on the web

Useful financial planning sites on the web

There is a lot of information on the internet. Here are some sites which I found useful for those wanting to understand aspects of financial planning.

Investment Planning

www.marriot.co.za
Investment tools for retirement
Easy to use and very practical in terms of understanding the dynamics of how investments perform to provide the required income.

Budgeting

www.octogen.co.za
Great budget calculator which you compare yourself with the average of other South Africans.
Useful ideas on how to manage your budget.

www.mylifemymoney.co.za
Great budget tool as well as some useful calculators for your bond and your car repayments

Where to find an qualified financial advisor

www.fpi.co.za
Find a Certified Financial Planner

www.findanadvisor.co.za
Find an advisor in your area. You view the profile of their operation. How they charge and what areas of expertise they offer.

Debt

www.transunion.co.za
Free credit report available as well as an explanation of how credit reports are compiled and used in the industry.

Information
www.statssa.gov.za
sources and methods manual which explains how CPI is compiled and calculated
History of CPI data

www.moneyasyougrow.org
Useful money information for various age group of young people

www.moneyvista.com
An online financial planning tool. It runs in British Pounds but follows the planning process. Provides useful personal finance money guides.

Direct investing

www.etfsa.co.za
A platform which offers all the exchange traded funds available in South Africa for as little as R300 per months. Has online functionality where you can transact and view your fund performance.
All you need to know about ETF’s is found on the site together with fact sheets on each fund. Needs research to understand but has value if you can go direct.

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So what are you really worth?

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Your net worth is a key measurement in your financial plan. Technically speaking if you were to sell everything you own and pay off everything you owe the amount left over is your worth.

It is easy to be lulled into a false sense of worth with assets such as houses and cars. They are the largest purchases that we make in our lives and create the largest debts on our balance sheets. No problem if you can comfortably afford the debt. Comfortably means that at the beginning of every month you have set aside a portion of your income for savings and then have still have enough money to pay the installments even if interest rates go up by a few percentage points.

Just as a company manages it’s business with a balance sheet we should with a pen and paper create our own personal balance sheet. Simply make two columns – one for assets (things you own) and one for your liabilities (things you owe). The difference in the totals of these is your net worth. The bigger the difference the better off you are.

Measuring your net worth from time to time will give you a clearer picture of how you are growing financially. Your balance sheet will also give yo a snap shot of where your opportunities lie in allocating your income. For example, it could show that paying more into your bond could benefit you by reducing your liabilities column and at the same time creating accessibility to cash for emergencies.

Your path to financial freedom is investing over the longest possible time taking full advantage of compound interest. The more you save over time in assets which beat inflation the wealthier you will become as the magic of interest on interest takes its course. Getting your debts behind you as quickly as possible will free up more money for savings. Instead of paying interest to the bank you start to compound your own interest which increases your net worth.

Your net worth forms an important base for your financial plan. Measure it often to really understand if your worth is growing.