Half way through

Gofaone Nina Tladi

We are already half way through the year, it feels like this year went, “Jaaaaannnnnnnuuuaryy, February, March. April, May, June!”
I’m sure you get the point! Before you know it, it will be the festive season and in comes December, the “Sister Bethina” or “Friday of the months” as Khaya Dlanga calls it. I took time to reflect upon the things I have learnt during the first half of this year. There have been as many ups as there have been downs in respect of the pursuit of financial freedom.
These are the lessons I have learned:
• It’s never too late to start but the sooner you do, the better.
I made the decision to get my financial act together at the end of last year. I often get the urge to get my life in order during the early hours of the morning. I call it the T junction of life or the “awakening”. This is the point where you realise that you truly have been arrogant enough to think that you can do all the wrong things and yet expect a good result. Starting is the most difficult part of any decision and it is often the real reason we fail to start to get our financial acts together. Start now, with the little that you have, as over time, compound interest will contribute far more than you ever could. One of my favourite marketing campaigns are those that pertain to the principle of time. Life is short, but it is also long and we must be cognisant of this and act accordingly.
• Knowledge is power.
We have heard this most of our lives but the part I wish to draw your attention to is the word power. Simply defined, power is the ability to get results. Synonyms for the word include, influence, control, authority and mastery. Knowledge, therefore is outcome based, thus to know a thing is to do it. This means that we do not have knowledge of our finances if we are not in control, have mastery of or authority over our finances. We live in a country that has invested heavily on education, a system which I believe allows for the building and training of minds to influence the outcome of the country and its people positively.
• What you do not practice, you can never become.
In his book, “Outliers-the story of success”, Malcolm Gladwell puts forth that success is a result of several factors, one of them being practice-10 000 hours of practice. The book asserts that it typically takes 10 000 hours to “master” something. We often think that a higher salary will solve our problems or that we will give to those less fortunate when we have a lot of money, but this is not the case. We must practise self-discipline, giving, budgeting and living within our means to get us to the financial “promised land” and what will keep us there. The people we admire have this in common, practise, years of it, like Oprah Winfrey, LeBron James, Christiano Ronaldo, Barack Obama and Beyoncé, to name a few. It is said that to prepare for Beychella- Beyoncé had a vegan diet, 18 hours of practise a day with two workouts each day.
• The borrower is slave to the lender.
What would happen if we didn’t have any debt repayments? This is a question that stings me every time I review my pay slip. This is a question posed by Dave Ramsey, an American author of several financial self-help books which include, Financial Peace and my favourite- The total money makeover. The answer to the question posed is that we could build wealth, change the trajectory of our lives, leave an inheritance for our children and be happier. Our salaries and other sources of income are our greatest wealth building tool but these are eroded by debt repayments. I used to believe there was “good debt” but I have since rejected this belief. I have joined #TeamDebtFree with others across the world to aggressively clear debt and never ever get into debt again. I realise that this is a mind shift, I am patient. I can’t wait to welcome others on this quest for freedom, true freedom. When we do not have debt, we will be happier and we can give to Non-Profits and other initiatives to empower those less fortunate.
• Know your net worth
We have all googled famous people’s net worth. Many of us have never calculated our net worth. I have a degree in accounting and decided to use some of that stored information to do the books of NinaTladi (Pty) Ltd, income statement, balance sheet and cashflow statement. I assessed my liquidity, solvency and the other ratios I could remember and it was not a pretty sight. I encourage each one to do this little exercise, and ask ourselves this question: would you invest in you if you saw your financial statements? Companies that are often desirous to investors are those with very little to no debt, reserves to fund expansions, innovation and excellent leadership.
• You are not alone.
One of the most crippling things is shame and shame is fueled by isolation, the belief that you are alone. Money has been taboo, we keep what we earn a secret and our challenges with money we often take to our graves. The sooner we start to be open and honest about our finances, the sooner we can tackle the things that hold us back from getting our financial acts together. One of the most groundbreaking movements is the #MeToo movement, where one person spoke up and unconsciously gave others the courage to do the same.
Hi, my name is Nina Tladi, and I am broke. I have made very, very stupid financial decisions, debt, living beyond my means, no savings and too many lipsticks. I like to shop when I’m sad but I have purposed in my heart to change my life by taking control of my finances.
Le reng lechono mo ngwaneng?
PS: You don’t have to be a hero, you just have to be what most people aren’t, consistent.