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How to stay financially healthy

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Forming healthy financial habits takes time and effort. It can take weeks, if not months, for a new habit to form and for a behaviour to become automatic.

In a survey of more than 60,000 people in Chinese cities, McKinsey established that the per-household disposable income of urban consumers doubled between 2010 and 2020, from about $4,000 to about $8,000.

Here is a reminder of the main points:

  1. Live within your means
    Keep track of your monthly income and expenses and find ways to free up funds to cover your outgoings if you need to. Set a budget for how you will spend the money you earn.
  2. Spend wisely
    Get into the habit of dividing up your expenses into needs, wants and savings or debts. If it's appropriate, aim to spend 50% of your income after tax on needs, 30% on wants and 20% on savings and debts each month.
  3. Free up funds
    If you're not saving as much as you'd like, or find it hard to cover your costs each month, look for ways to reduce your outgoings. Also, think about how you might increase your household income.
  4. Build emergency savings
    Aim to build up enough savings to cover at least 3 months of essential outgoings, in case of emergency.
  5. Avoid excessive borrowing and manage your existing debt
    Aim to borrow only what you can reasonably afford to pay back. Take steps to manage debt that you have already, for example, cut back to free up capital, approaching your lender for support, or consolidating debts.
  6. Save for the future
    Start saving for your retirement as early as you can. The younger you start, the bigger your retirement fund. Remember that compound interest quickly mounts up, which is the interest earned on previously earned interest.
  7. Protect what matters
    If you can, take out insurance to protect you from risk that you would not be able to cover yourself, like losing your household's main income through illness or injury.
  8. Beware of scams and fraud
    Online financial fraud is on the rise, so take steps to avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime. Remember the saying if something sounds too good to be true then it probably is.

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