Barbadians need stronger individual financial systems

As Barbados reels from yet more cuts and a deepening recession, one financial consultant is advising Barbadians to set better financial systems in place for themselves. This way we are able to take greater responsibility for our own financial stability.

Melinda Belle, the founder of Astrape Finance is encouraging each Barbadian regardless of income level to establish systems for themselves that will incorporate certain financial goals such as retirement, education and health while also including a rainy day fund for emergencies.

Melinda Belle, the founder of Astrape Finance is encouraging each Barbadian regardless of income level to establish systems for themselves that will incorporate certain financial goals such as retirement, education and health while also including a rainy day fund for emergencies.

”The time to plan for retirement starts now. If you decide think about retirement in your forties, your saving requirement will be higher than the twenty year old who started saving today. ”

No one starts their day expecting they will have to deal with challenges, but emergencies do occur. Set aside a manageable amount to build up your emergency fund. It can be twenty dollars a month or fifty dollars a month. The key here is to develop the habit of saving.”

These funds may not completely alleviate any concerns during an emergency but they will be a buffer should a situation arise that was not originally in the budget.

A budget is a really simple but essential means of starting a personal financial system according to Mrs. Belle. This tool, which is not used by enough people to secure their finances, allows people to set spending limits and monitor how much money is being made as opposed to spend.

A budget is a spending plan used to allocate money for various purposes. It is an excellent tool to gauge how much you are able to spend in certain categories; repairs for example.”

Mrs. Belle, whose company is producing a Family Finance Workshop Series, believes that families are facing a huge burden because of the increased costs and responsibilities. However, with some steady financial management and sound systems family can monitor their expenses while reducing non-essential costs.

There are some purchases you need to make and then there are some purchases you need to sleep on. When you wake up the next day and realise you don’t need it, you didn’t need it in the first place.”

The first of Astrape Finance’s workshop series is being held March 30, 2013 at the Art Splash Centre in Hastings and is designed to help the family and the individual get a grip of its finances. Mrs. Belle believes that families can make their finances firm once they know where they stand.

She notes that based on her experience many families and individuals are struggling to set up financial systems because they are not aware of their financial net worth.

Anyone can calculate their net worth. It’s simple mathematics. You simply subtract your total assets (savings, investments) from your total liabilities (credit card, car loan).”

The Workshop Series will teach the basics of financial management for the family and has four sessions designed to help you learn how to manage your income and expenses, set up financial systems and generally create the environment for your financial soundness.

Astrape’s founder believes that setting up these systems is essential as too many people and their families are struggling with the harsh times because they did not have financial structures in place.

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