No Matter What, Keep Saving! – Rose Miller

    JN Group

    Rising prices on basic commodities have certainly had many Jamaicans in a ‘tizzy’ since the start of the year.

    Oil, the latest primary commodity to experience rapidly rising rates, largely because of the Russian war on Ukraine in eastern Europe- now in its third week- has had many motorists racing to those gas stations offering cheaper petrol prices. Last week, prices at some local pumps reached above $230 per litre for premium 90, as global crude oil prices surged past US$125 per barrel.

    Holding on to every last dollar and stretching one’s income is, therefore, a top priority for many Jamaicans at this time, but even as one cuts back “don’t forget to save,” insists JN Foundation’s financial empowerment guru, Rose Miller.

    “Same old, same old. The facts are just the facts,” she quipped during an interview recently.

    “The realities are harsh, but in the final analysis, you have to be resilient when ‘trouble take you,’” she said, veering into the Jamaican parlance to underscore her point.

    She offered the following tips to achieve savings in the current climate:

    1. Budget

    Similar to her colleague, Michael Collins, manager, youth banking, JN Bank, she advises to start the journey towards saving by budgeting.

    “Now is the time for careful budgeting,” she counsels. “There are things you’ll have to deny yourself and delay gratification in order to put aside funds for emergencies and medium to long-term goals.”

    She urges Jamaicans to maintain the 10/10/80 Rule: save 10 per cent of your income; devote 10 per cent to charity or church, and 80 per cent for financing monthly or weekly expenses, depending on how one earns.

    “You just have to keep going. You’ll have to make meaningful adjustments to maximise your income at this time, so, eliminate unnecessary spending and reduce even those expenses considered necessary, as best as you are able to, but, don’t adjust your savings.”

    1. Carve out a niche for yourself

    Mrs Miller maintains that, especially now, persons should be looking carefully at how they can use their skills to earn an extra income.

    “Carve out some time and monetise your talents by offering a product or service. And when you earn that extra cash, don’t just simply mix into your pool of income, try to save it instead,” she advises.

    1. Stretch your savings

    Mrs Miller says persons should be looking for opportunities in the market that will provide them with the best returns on their savings. She cautions, however, not to be easily swayed by attractive interest rates, but, similar to purchasing any other item, to do the research.

    “You want to take advantage of opportunities in the market that will take your savings the farthest. However, research carefully, before you deposit or invest, so that you’re not swindled or drawn into ventures that are beyond what you’re willing to risk. Your aim is to preserve your savings, and to grow your money steadily and healthily,” she says, also reminding persons that “one is not likely to have anything to invest if one has not accumulated some amount of savings.”

    Among the savings instruments persons can consider are long-term savings offered by commercial banks and other deposit-taking institutions. These offer a much better rate of return than a regular savings account. The JN Bank Goal Saver, for example, guarantees up to 30 per cent on minimum savings of $100,000 over a period of 10 years. Mutual Funds, which also offer a healthy return on investments, are also options for consideration, and depending on one’s risk appetite, stocks and bonds.

    1. Keep focused on your goals

    Finally, Mrs Miller advises: “Stay focused. You have to be laser-sharp because there will be distractions.”

    “Make sure you keep people in your space who share your vision and appreciate your decisions. They are important to keeping you on track,” Mrs Miller concludes.

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