This is the second installment of 10 Things my father taught me about finances. Do take time to read 10 Things my father taught me about finances (Part 1) in case you missed it.
“If you look after your money, it’ll look after you” – Russell Ansara
Lesson six: Medical aid or life cover is like saving
It’s different for anyone, and yes, the term Medical Aid can be loosely used with Life Cover or Life Insurance. It stops me dipping into my savings every time I am sick. I don’t have any dependants, so medical aid helps me sleep at night, but you need some sort of cover – life happens. Preparation is key.
Lesson seven: Invest, because you can, and you should
When I told my Dad, rather naively, that I wanted to own a house by the end of the year (this was three years ago), he called on a family friend who happens to be a Financial Advisor, who told us about SATRIX investments. Never heard of it? Well you should. Now, you have no excuse. What SATRIX does is divide your money among the JSEs 40 top grossing shares. This is an extremely safe option when investing. As an adolescent investor with hardly any money to ‘play the market’ it requires a measly R300.00 a month. This option allows you to diversify your risk when it comes to the stock market with INDI, RAVI, SWIX and SATRIX 40. I rave about SATRIX; you have many options of lump sum payments, or to set up a stop order.
Investing isn’t a one night stand, it’s a committed relationship. You have to nurture it, keep adding, learn how to read your investment, know when to change, play around, or get serious. I wanted a quick fix, but down the line, I have realized the ultimate benefits of curating this relationship with my money.
Lesson eight: Never panic, only panic when you have lost everything
I was a year into investing, frustrated because I expected to be a millionaire, and wasn’t, and my Dad gave me the tip to buy Steinhoff shares. They were trading at approx R23.00 a share; ugh, I bought a R1000.00; a relatively small contribution to the hooha my father was making; they dropped, and I was losing money faster than Jordan Belfort could snort a line a coke, I cried hard – this was my money being thrown to the dogs.
My ever patient father said “Wait it out, they’ll grow”, and he sold his – the bugger. I didn’t sell. I raged against my father’s advice. I didn’t even know what Steinhoff was? What did they sell? GOD!
Steinhoff is now trading at approx R54.45 a share as of 12/09/2014; and they are a furniture manufacturing corporation – and yes, my father is regretting he sold his Steinhoff shares. The lesson to learn here is wait until you have lost everything, then panic.
Lesson nine: Know where your money goes
This is still a lesson I am learning. Carrying liquid paper cash burns quicker in a wallet than plastic tracked transactions. This is why I barely have liquid cash in my wallet – yeah, sure the odd note for a coldrink or parking, but in the grander scheme it’s all tracked on my card.
Yeah, bank charges are a bee with an itch, but most banks offer a service fee that covers all transactions up to a 100 swipes and draws. Best way to curb your enthusiasm when it comes to spending, is watching your liquid cash consumption.
I use 22seven (Thanks to Dineo, who had to explain this to me) it allows me to track, set targets and compare to the previous month.
Lesson ten: Keep your credit card like you keep your house – clean
My father’s big thing was for me to create a credit history. It is like a financial curriculum vitae of sorts. You indulge in some credit, you handle it well, the banks notice, and later you get a pat on the back when applying for a loan. That is if you can handle a credit card. I have friends who swear against them, they are the temptation to cripple you – and yes, they are, but you have to know how to use it.
Get a credit card, get a limit of the lowest offering, use it – to an extent – and pay it off in 28 days. Why? Because, you don’t pay interest on it. I use my credit card to free up my liquid ‘actual’ cash in my account. I only use my credit card if I have that money available. Be strict with your card, keep it like you would a child’s face, clean.
Money is a stressful business no matter your age, your intention, or how much of it you really have. If there is anything you should learn from this post is that saving is key, but consistency is even more important – saving/investing once won’t make you a millionaire, but a little each month might just make you financially comfortable.
Kelly sells books to make a living, and likes to pretend that the R500 note in the Monopoly set is real, so real, she even fans herself with it some times. She cannot balance a check book, or a trial balance, and sometimes has to Google what Earning Per Share means.