Have you made your new year resolutions yet? I hope some them are about how to improve your money situation in 2011. Better still, how to get out of the rat race and start making some serious life style changes so you can get rich

1. Invest in Shares.

Thanks to Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), we no longer need to be geniuses to invest in the stock exchange and make money.  ETFs are passive investments that track an index and are also known as tracker funds. There are currently 23 ETFs listed on the JSE with an estimated R30 billion in assets under management. You can sell an etf and be paid out within 48 hours. My favorite one is the Satrix Divi, it is a basket of top 30 companies that pay sound and sustainable dividends quarterly. Satrix DIVI offers the potential for above average capital growth over time. You can start buying the shares for a monthly debit order of only R300.  Go towww.etfsa.co.za to invest in etfs or phone 086 11 00 670

2. Buy Fundisa so you can send your kids to university

Fundisa is the initiative between the Department of Education and the unit trust industry to help parents save for the higher education of their children. R34 million bonuses have been set aside to reward parents who save for the education of their children. The bonuses are paid in October each year. If you save R200 a month for 12 months, you would have saved R2 400 by the end of the year and the fund gives you a bonus of R600 each year. So your savings instantly grow by R600 from R2 400 to R3000 before market related returns.  You can save from as little as R40 a month. You can call Fundisa Fund on 0860 386 3472.

3. Clear your excessive bad debts

Do you have too much bad debt? It’s about time you take charge of your money and cut some of your credit cards and clothing store cards. Get your pair of scissors and cut them up, you’ll feel good afterwards. Then work at paying them off asap.

4. Leave your credit card at home & only take it when you have planned to use it. Maybe you need to reduce your limit on your card? The best thing you can do for yourself is to pay the full amount due on payment date. That way, you will save yourself a lot of money in interest charges

5. When you get your salary increase, use some of it to increase your home loan repayment. Do you know that there are people who paid off their home loans in as little as 5 years by simply increasing their bond repayments every year they get a salary increase?

6. If you don’t have a home, work towards buying yourself a home asap. Especially if you are single and young – fewer responsibilities make it easy for you to get into property. The best time to buy property is now. The most difficult home to buy is the 1st one, after that, it gets easier.

7. Register for that course of study that you have always been thinking about. Education is the key to a better future for all of us. The more education you get, the better your chances at succeeding in life.

8. Start that business that you have been thinking about. The best way to start is to do so part time. Test the waters and maybe one day, you will strike a good deal and venture out on your own. Do it the Nike way, just do it. No more procrastinating. It is scary I know, but feel the fear and do it anyway!

9. Learn about money. How can you get rich when you don’t understand the first thing about money? The great way to start is to read a copy of my book, 7 Secrets why the rich own their homes.

10. Draw your own personal plan to become rich & work your plan. No one gets rich by mistake. Better to have tried and failed than failing to try. Dream and turn your dreams into reality.

We will be talking about each one of the above during the year. If you can aim to do at least 5 of these, you will be well on your way to financial independence. The more of these you do, the better and you could end up being 1 of the few people that retire young and rich!

Phumelele Ndumo
Phumelele Ndumo

Article written by Phumelele Ndumo; author of the book, 7 Secrets why the rich own their homes and founding MD of ThuthukaSA. Remember to visit our website www.thuthuka-sa.co.za for more money tips.