Money, specifically what to do with your money, is a topic everyone seems to have endless advice about. Most of us have heard the same old story over and over about the importance of saving, but often we don’t take the advice seriously enough until we’re just about scraping by, or have debt that we can’t afford. Getting into the habit of saving, however, no matter how small the amount, will be beneficial to you in the long run.
We spoke to Estelle Petersen, a sales and service representative at First National Bank (FNB) who has worked for FNB for 25 years and helped open countless youth bank accounts.
1 As soon as you start earning a living, open up a savings account
Once you start earning money, the last thing on your mind is saving some of it. But in today’s world, where the cost of living is getting more and more expensive, saving from your first pay cheque is one of the wisest things you can do. Estelle says, “Open up a savings account as soon as you start working”. That way “you have a nest egg for the future”; money which could come in handy for a deposit on a house or a car down the line. If you forget, she suggests you “ask the bank to make direct deductions from your bank account, into a savings account, to ensure you are saving regularly”. She also says that you can specify the amount and the date, every month and “the amount can be increased or decreased to your needs.”
2 Be aware of high bank charges
There’s no point in saving and opening up a savings account if your bank charges are sky high. “Avoid savings accounts which charge fees for withdrawals or deposits. It won’t be beneficial in the long run,” Estelle says. “Banks generally charge bank fees on any transactional account,” she says, and she suggests that you “choose the fee option most appealing to your needs”. She also says, “You should avoid using other bank’s ATMs to withdraw cash, and if you need to make payments, rather do it electronically because they’re mostly free”.
3 Make sure you have emergency reserves
Estelle says that every month when you get paid you need to set some of that money aside, preferably into either a savings or investment account, to tide you over when things go wrong. She says, “Make sure you always have money in a separate bank account in case of an emergency.”
4 Open an investment account
The purpose of an investment account is for “future growth,” Estelle says, and in order for the money to grow, it needs to stay in the investment account for as long as possible. “You earn interest on your capital amount monthly, at a rate defined by a specific investment account you choose,” she explains. Investment accounts have a waiting period for you to receive your funds, depending on how much money you have invested. “There are different notice periods on different investment accounts, which will depend on the amount and time period you want to invest for. Some investment accounts can be subject to a waiting period which can be up to 32 days.”