How a Savings Squad can help you achieve your financial goals
Sibs had always dreamed of a beach holiday, but other priorities always got in the way. So, she got together with some friends who shared her travel goal, and they committed to saving R1000 every month. Within 9 months, they were basking on a sun-drenched beach sipping cocktails.
“Change is hard to do when you're alone. When you do it with a friend or as a squad, it becomes much easier as you have people that validate your thinking and are also working towards a common goal. Just like Sibs, you too can work with your squad to achieve your goals,” says Rapule Mahlangu, Head of Associations and Affinity Groups at Metropolitan. The company’s ‘We Start 2023 Stronger Together’ campaign encourages Mzansi to harness the power of ‘their collective’ by setting shared goals with family members, friends, colleagues, and community members to enjoy a stronger and more prosperous year together. “If you have friends or close family members who also want to improve their finances, you’re ready to start a savings squad,” says Mahlangu who shares these practical tips on how to get started.
Choosing your squad
A functional squad relies on members who are disciplined, reliable and committed to a similar goal and vision. “People who share similar financial backgrounds often form squads to prevent embarrassment around saving amounts and to give all members a sense of pride and satisfaction,” says Mahlangu. He also recommends appointing a leader who can motivate the squad to reach their goals and keep everyone on track. “Having a leader may be more sensible than fully relying on your own discipline when you’re a beginner,” says Mahlangu. He cautions that there are many cases of theft and mismanagement in collective savings schemes so even leaders need to be held to account.
Establish money rules
A savings group without rules is bound to fail. Rules, such as agreeing on your savings goals, identifying clear responsibilities, setting dates for making payments, agreeing on monthly check-ins, etc. must be agreed on by the squad upfront. “Equally as important is defining the consequences when rules are broken,” says Mahlangu.
Will your squad’s priorities be impacted by economic trends?
Depending on your squad’s goals, local economic factors may play a role in what you prioritize. Soaring food, electricity and fuel prices may become a priority over saving for a holiday. “Buying your groceries in bulk and taking advantage of economies of scale works well if you live with friends or if you team up with your neighbours,” adds Mahlangu.
Keeping your squad motivated and disciplined
“When a squad loses motivation and momentum, the likelihood of failure is high, so keeping your squad motivated is critical,” says Mahlangu. There are several ways to do this, including:
Regularly reviewing and evaluating your goals and progress.
Managing red flags as soon as they crop up.
Reviewing your squad goals and why they are important to each member.
Talking to others about your savings goals and sharing ideas.
Identifying fun ways to incentivise your squad along the way.
Identifying and addressing red flags
“If your squad is in regular contact, it’s easier to identify when rules get broken or members go off track,” says Mahlangu. He cites poor communication, not respecting squad rules, borrowing money and late payments as potential red flags.
“It’s never too late to start working towards your financial goals and remember that an authorised financial adviser can also be part of your squad and help you to start the year stronger together in pursuit of your goals,” says Mahlangu.
As part of Metropolitan’s ‘We Start 2023 Stronger Together’ multi-media campaign, a 4-episode lifestyle TV show as well as financial tools and advice will be available to keep squads motivated and on track to achieve their lifestyle and financial goals.
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