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Get most out of your salary

With many South Africans returning to work this week, albeit remotely for many, this is still an exciting time for young graduates who may be earning their very first salary.

Neil Thompson, Head of Product and Customer Value Proposition at African Bank, gave the following four tips to help you get the most out of your first salary:.Budget: Once taxes have been deducted and your bills have been paid, you might be disappointed to see how much is left… unless you’ve already budgeted! A budget helps you organise and plan your money, allocating your income towards expenses, savings and debt repayment, and ensuring you always know how much money you have. Many people avoid budgeting because it seems too difficult, but there are many online tools and mobile apps that make it easier..Pay off your debt: Start by paying off the debt with the highest interest rate – this is usually a credit card. If you have a student loan, this repayment can also be quite hefty and can take years to clear, so start as soon as you can..Start saving: Paying off your debt is important but getting started on your savings is equally important. If an emergency comes up, it’s helpful to have an emergency fund of savings to dip into rather than getting into further debt to deal with whatever the problem might be.

The earlier you start saving, the more money you’ll have – thanks to compound interest – that’s the interest you earn as a depositor if you leave your deposit with the bank for a full year and only draw the interest at the end of that year. If you invest your savings in a smart investment product, you will start to earn interest. If you continue to save that interest, you begin to earn interest on the interest. Your money works for you!.Protect yourself against disability and critical illness: You may be fit and healthy now but as we have seen this last year, you can fall ill at any time or have an accident and then you need to know you are protected. An income protection benefit pays you a monthly income during the period you are not able to earn an income due to injury or illness.

Also don’t forget about retirement – start planning for your golden years now and, rest assured, you’ll be taken care of during your retirement years. “You need to build skills and discipline early to face any challenges.”

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