How the lifestyle choices you make today shape your financial future


Lungile Mashigo, Senior Marketing Manager at Discovery Invest, believes that the decisions you make today hugely affect your financial future. The good news is that there are choices you can make today to #LoveYourFutureSelf

"For many people it's hard to see how their lifestyle choices could impact their financial future - the link doesn't feel intuitive," she says. "But lifestyle choices today do impact your financial future in a number of ways."

Globally, people are living longer

"First, we have to consider trends in life expectancy. Studies from the World Bank , among others, show that life expectancy is increasing steadily. A longer life expectancy means we need to provide for it in our retirement planning." "If we're living longer, we should start thinking about retiring later as well," she adds. "But to do so, we'll need to be in good health."

Make healthy lifestyle choices today

"Lifestyle choices - things like what you eat, how often you exercise and how you manage your mental health - significantly affect your health," Mashigo says. "Healthier people will have a higher chance of being able to retire later because they're better able to summon the energy at older ages to satisfy their employer or run their business."

In the future, retiring later may be the best solution for a successful retirement. It gives your money more time to grow in the market, and more time to contribute and bulk up your retirement nest-egg. Ultimately, you give yourself the best chance of doing that if you live healthily today.

Stay healthy and save money

As healthcare costs continue to rise, staying healthy is a sure-fire way to keep your healthcare expenses down.

"Serious conditions cost serious money to manage, especially as you get older," Mashigo cautions.

She adds that this is why managing your lifestyle today could mean less pressure on your finances in the future - managing health conditions. This is especially important for retirees. Our studies show that as you get older in retirement, medical costs increasingly make up your bucket of expenditure. Managing your health today can help free up your finances in retirement.

Read more: Save money by keeping your healthcare costs down

Cut back today to save for tomorrow

Another important lifestyle choice that will affect your financial future is how you choose to spend and manage your money.

"The biggest chunk of what we choose to save towards is retirement," says Mashigo. "Statistics show that the average South African contributing towards retirement is contributing less than half than they should to provide for a comfortable retirement. The rest in most cases is going towards funding their lifestyle. Saving towards retirement means cutting back today to save for tomorrow."

Read more: Drawing up a budget to reach your savings goal

The best financial habit: save

The best financial habit to develop is to take saving seriously. The big things you should save towards include:

  • Retirement
  • Education
  • A house or property

"We should also be saving up an 'ICE' fund - 'in case of emergencies'. This pool of money provides for a car breaking down, a loved one getting sick or some other accident," Mashigo says.

Finally, set money aside for some fun and your health. Keeping your health (both mental and physical) in check makes a big difference not just in your life but also for your financial future.

Read more: Make your home an asset

How to break bad financial habits

"The best way to break bad financial habits is to think about your future self," Mashigo says.

We should ask ourselves what kind of future we want for our family and ourselves and whether our choices today are moving us towards that goal or away from it. "If you're spending too much on lifestyle today and too little on saving for tomorrow, you have to accept a decrease in lifestyle if you want to achieve your goals," she adds.

Read more: The social side of saving

The good news, she says, is that you don't have to figure it all out alone. A qualified financial adviser can help you keep on track to reaching those goals. "We call it 'behavioural coaching' and it's the ongoing relationship between you and your adviser in your financial journey." A study by Vanguard showed that behavioural coaching is the most valuable part of the advice process, increasing investment return by about 1.8% each year, simply by keeping their client focused on their investment goals.

Get rewarded for positive investment behaviour

Mashigo explains how Discovery Invest helps clients achieve their investment goals and rewards them for positive investment behaviour, when they:

  • Invest for longer
  • Invest more
  • Withdraw less from investments
  • Live a healthy lifestyle through Vitality.

"This enables us to give clients boosts of up to 25% on their investment contribution, fee discounts of up to 100% and boosts to income for life of up to 50%." It can be difficult to make lifestyle adjustments to meet your savings goals, but it gets easier with Discovery Invest's behavioural rewards as incentives.

Secure your financial future through our wide range of investments

We know that not everyone is at the same stage in their lives and everyone has their own reasons for investing. That's why we have designed products to meet your needs, whatever stage you're at. So, tell us about yourself so you can consider investments that are relevant to you.

Find out which investment is right for you

This document is meant only as information and should not be taken as financial advice. For tailored financial advice, please contact your financial adviser. Discovery Life Investment Services Pty (Ltd): Registration number 2007/005969/07, branded as Discovery Invest, is an authorised financial services provider. All life assurance products are underwritten by Discovery Life Ltd. Registration number: 1966/003901/06, a licensed life Insurer,an authorised financial service provider and registered credit provider, NCR Reg No. NCRCP3555. All boosts are offered through the insurer, Discovery Life Limited. The insurer reserves the right to review and change the qualifying requirements for boosts at any time. Product Rules, Terms and Conditions Apply

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