In honour of Women’s Month, we as Mbewu Movement hosted our first women’s day event this past Saturday (22 August). Our discussions covered two very distinct yet equally important views about “wealth”- Wealth of Self and Financial Wealth
Wealth of Self
Happy Ralinala, Head of Business Banking Absa (Barclays), took us on a journey of spiritual wealth. What resonated most with me is the notion that women are apologetic about things that make us whole and happy. It is in our nature as women to compromise at the expense of our own fulfillment but that in itself is not only a disservice to ourselves but to those around us. How many times have you conceded to do the grunt work in your workplace or agreed to eat dinner at a place you don’t really like purely to keep the peace? These may be trivial examples but it speaks to the daily sacrifices we often make as women, depleting our own personal wealth. We owe it to ourselves to enjoy the things that bring joy to our lives. So live a little, eat that cupcake, take that holiday, and go on that yoga retreat. However we should be mindful of how much emphasis we place on material possessions. Happy asks, if we lose it all today, what will be left that will truly define you? Fulfill yourself spiritually by contributing in your community for a lack of humanity is a lack of integrity. Be brave enough to accept who you are, see your flaws as opportunities and use your strengths to speak your truth.
Building your Financial Wealth
Thandi Ngwane, Head of Emerging Markets at Allan Gray, provided us with invaluable advice when approaching our financial wealth. She says the relationship between women and money is somewhat dysfunctional. On the one hand, we are very practical and resourceful and have that unique ability to stretch the Rand however we tend to be short term oriented, impatient and inconsistent. We don’t take long term views when it comes to savings and investments. There is a plethora of investment and savings products in the market and it’s often daunting to a first time investor, Thandi advises us to consider the following when starting our investment portfolio:
- Time– take a long term view, the magic of compounding interest can only work in your favour
- Risk-understand the difference between investing and saving. The former is more likely to carry risk
- Have your own plan– herd mentality may not be in line with your investment objectives
- Product choice– make sure the products you choose to invest in align with time horizon as well as your risk and return objectives
When looking for an investment partner, ensure you can answer these three questions:
- Does this asset manager have a long term track record?
- Is there consistency in the investment team complement?
- Are my expectations realistic?
In conclusion, Thandi’s message was to invest invest invest! By age 23, all things being equal, we should start saving for retirement. Cut out the plastic and pay yourself first. Thandi left us with this very apt quote from Sophie Tucker: “From birth to age 18, a girl needs good parents, from 18 to 35 she needs good looks, from 35 to 55 she needs a good personality, and from 55 on she needs cash.”
Thank you to all the ladies and gentlemen in attendance. Be sure to join us next year for another amazing event!
On behalf of MM
Nswana (co-founding member) holds an MSc in Investment management and currently works in debt capital markets