Becoming financially healthy, whatever you earn

Building a healthy financial future takes patience and careful investment, especially if you don’t start off with a large income. It might take a while before you consider yourself wealthy.

But unlike wealth, financial health is not linked as closely to how much money you make. You can practise healthy financial habits no matter what you earn. What counts is what you do with the money that you have – and it’s only by staying financially healthy that you can build wealth over time.

Financial health rests on 3 pillars:

  • Ensuring you have more money coming in than going out.
  • Being able to pay all your expenses.
  • Making regular deposits in savings and investments.

What influences your financial health?

  • Your age, marital status, number of dependants, and other personal characteristics.
  • How well you understand money and financial concepts, such as credit and affordability.
  • Your money habits, such as financial planning and saving.
  • Stressful situations, such as losing your job or being in debt.
  • Your financial situation, such as how much you earn and how much debt you have.

Pros and cons of financial health

Benefits of financial health
Consequences of not being financially healthy

Stress that can make you sick.

You cannot pay your bills and cannot live the kind of life you want to.

You can’t get more credit.



Measure your financial health

Do you:

1. save every month and whenever else you can?                          

2. stick to a budget so you never spend money on impulse?

3. go over expenses regularly and cut those you don’t need?

4. have insurance to protect your family and your property?

5. take care not to take on more debt than you can afford?

6. pay more than the minimum instalment on a debt whenever you can?

7. have plans in place to reach your goals?

8. have an emergency fund?

9. educate yourself about financial concepts?

10. pay yourself first? Meaning that when you get your salary or wages and you’ve paid your fixed expenses, do you put money into savings and investments first, so you can only spend the amount left over on ‘wants’ that aren’t ‘needs’?

If your answer to any of these questions is ‘No’, it means that’s an area in which you can work on better money choices. 


Financial planning is the process of structuring your financial resources to meet your life goals


Having too much debt is stressful, for example, so learning strategies to pay it off faster can improve both your mental and financial health. It takes determination and discipline to improve your financial health and you may also need to learn more about money and change your habits.

3 steps to becoming financially healthy

Financial planning is not something to put off until you have money – it’s what helps you to get, keep and grow your money.

1. Track

Create a budget so you know where your money comes from (list all your sources of income) and where it goes (keep track of every cent you spend). Get all your financial information together, such as policies, contracts and bank accounts. Do a financial health check-up to determine where you stand.

2. Plan

Set financial goals for yourself and your family – and identify the habits you’re going to adopt to achieve those goals. Include both in your budget to keep you focused on them.

3. Implement

Implement your financial plan and stick to your budget by tracking your income and expenses. Keep track of your progress and adjust your budget and your financial planning when necessary. MoneyTracker on the Nedbank Money app or Online Banking is a useful free tool to set up and stick to your budget.

Financial planning is the process of structuring your financial resources – like your salary, other sources of income like rent or the interest on investments, and access to credit – to meet your life goals. These can be short-term goals, like saving for your children’s education or for a new car, or long-term goals, like making provision for your retirement.

Benefits of financial planning

  • It helps you decide how to spend your money.
  • It gives you the discipline you need to spend wisely and to save.
  • It helps to avoid money emergencies.
  • It helps you to stress less about money.
  • It makes your expectations more realistic.
  • It helps you to set measurable financial goals for your future.
  • It helps you to understand the impact of your money decisions.
  • It prompts you to relook at your financial position from time to time.
  • Most importantly, it helps you realise that you are in charge of your financial health.

Start financial planning now

As soon as you are ready to accept responsibility for changing your own financial position and your attitude towards money, you can see the benefits of financial planning for your future, and you believe you can take the necessary steps to achieve financial wellness, you’re ready to start.

If you find financial planning on your own difficult, you can ask a professional financial advisor to help you. The important thing is to start.

Financial planning can protect your family’s future. You can find a link to the Nedbank Budget Calculator on this page to create and track your budget.