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Lorna Mwangi, Head of Corporate Banking at Stanbic Bank South Sudan

Investing in Financial Fitness for Greater Personal Financial Freedom

By Lorna Mwangi

The COVID-19 pandemic brought numerous economic, social, and political challenges to South Sudan, East Africa, and the globe. The traditional ways of working have been disrupted, leaving key sectors exposed and many livelihoods at risk as financial incomes reduce and the future becomes unpredictable.

However, as the world enters a unique window of opportunity for rebound and recovery, prudent financial management and planning are the principal learnings to carry forward for businesses and individuals. The world today as we know it is highly disrupted and economically volatile. Indeed, according to the World Bank, COVID-19 has plunged Sub-Saharan Africa into its first recession in over 25 years, with activity contracting by nearly 5.0 per cent per capita.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on personal finances. It resulted in unexpected hardship as millions lost jobs or took pay cuts in the early days of the outbreak. In a survey by D.A Davidson, a Wealth Management firm, half of the respondents said that having more financial literacy education would have helped them manage their money better through the COVID-19 outbreak.

It is not too late to get on the financial fitness journey.

Business workflows are already digitising pre-and post-COVID-19 to accommodate changes in consumer behaviour and remote working as the future of work unfolds. The next post-pandemic challenge is likely to focus on ensuring people are empowered to be ready for a fast-changing world. Thus, in handling personal finance, investing, and creating wealth, new skills and a mind shift will help us survive the next phase of this unprecedented change and disruption.

Financial fitness is a crucial skill for all individuals to navigate the world of disruption. It involves developing your financial plan to ensure that you are on track to reach your goals and not putting yourself at undue financial risk if the unexpected occurs. Similar to training in the gym over time to be fit and experience results, financial fitness requires consistent learning, application and adaptation to see the full benefits of wealth.

We are fortunate that financial fitness solutions have become more innovative and easier to access. Needs have also shifted as more people now require financial literacy to invest and not just save. Future priorities will include intergenerational wealth planning, retirement savings, and employing protective financial strategies to mitigate life risks such as pandemics, personal accidents, and job losses.

Today, financial institutions like Stanbic Bank create value propositions that speak to the client’s needs, goals, and respective contexts. The Stanbic Bank Financial Fitness Academy™ (FFA) aims to create awareness and understanding of holistic financial principles, wealth management, and overall financial health. Therefore, financial fitness must consider all these factors by investing, saving, insuring, retirement planning, and the varying journeys to wealth creation.

Financial fitness is an investment many may have previously overlooked; however, it is now the most viable platform for creating long-lasting wealth. Following the global pandemic, more people have been driven to plan better and mitigate personal financial risks. At the same time, financial institutions will continue accelerating their digital transformation and embracing a more flexible wealth management operating model. The future is here; take control of your financial fitness and create wealth for a prosperous future.

Lorna Mwangi is the Head of Corporate Banking at Stanbic Bank South Sudan

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