There’s no such thing as chump change!

Gofaone Nina Tladi

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. Life is short, but it is also long and we must be cognisant of this and act accordingly.
It is said that Warren Buffet took an elevator ride with two other men and there was a penny on the floor of the elevator (about 10 thebe). Warren Buffet is known for being extremely frugal, in fact there is a meme of him and his billionaire bestie-Bill Gates and it is captioned, “$115billion dollars in this picture and there isn’t a Gucci belt in sight.” They all wondered if Warren would pick up the coin. When he reached his floor, Warren Buffet bent over and picked up the penny. When he got off the elevator he casually turned to the men in the elevator and said, “The start of the next billion.”
I did a calculation once of the money I could’ve saved had I put away P100 every month from my first year of university, a very simple calculation with my financial calculator and a modest interest rate and the amount was astounding! I was physically sick for about a week. I was in university when Capitec was still starting up. Had I invested then, I would have made a lot of money. Nas was in the news recently over investments he made several years ago which have catapulted him to the big boys club.
I’ve been asked many times how I started my financial freedom journey and I have two answers to that question. The first is realizing that there was a problem followed by the decision to change.
Do you remember the time and energy we spent fighting the KYC submissions with the banks? I multi-bank, so I had to do this process more than once. The first KYC was rather annoying as I waited until the eleventh hour and was forced to go to the branch and queue for what felt like hours to make the submission. With the other bank, I decided to just comply and collated all the required documents and submitted without any qualms and it couldn’t have gone smoother.
Getting your financial act together is a sort of compliance issue of, “When?” Oksalayo, you have to comply! The sooner the better and the less frustration on your part. One thing I should warn you of though is that as soon as you make the decision to comply it will seem as if everything is conspiring against you to make you fall back into old habits and it is quite lonely. I listened to an interview with Lisa Nichols where she tells the interviewer about the long, hard process of getting her financial act together. She speaks of how isolating it was from both her friends and family and also how she had to be inconvenienced to attain the goal she had set for herself and her son to never be broke or broken ever again. She had reached her version of rock bottom.
“Oh my God, I have a whole husband and two kids. When did I become such a grown up?” a friend of mine said once during our coffee break. We laughed at how “old” we were getting but it was truly great to reflect at how time flies by. There is an advert from an investment manager that has two children listening to music using one set of earphones. The tag line is, “The difference between old friends and strangers, is time.” I love it and I keep it on my vision board (yes, I believe in those).
Start now, with the little that you have, and over time, compound interest will contribute far more than you ever could.
PS: You don’t have to be a hero, you just have to be what most people aren’t, consistent.