Mabale Moloi: Worst decision is applying for a credit card

Media personality, Mabale Moloi, started her career working for Gareth Cliff. Currently she is a presenter on, a news anchor on eNCA and a columnist for Marie Claire magazine. 
Here is an interview with her on her money habits. 

How did your childhood influence your attitude towards money?

I grew up in a household where both parents were working.  I think it's important for young girls to watch their mothers work, if possible, so that they can instill in them a sense of independence and being responsible for things in life.  What I learned at home is that money is used for necessities such as education, health, food etc. And when my parents splurged, it was to reward us for working hard for something e.g. producing good results in school, birthdays etc.  The best lesson I've taken from both my parents is this: if I cannot afford it with the money I have, then I shouldn't have it. 

Are you good with money or irresponsible?

I'd like to believe that for the most part, I am responsible.  Every year I sit down with my financial advisor to make sure that I'm on the right track and to find out what I can do to keep myself on the right path.  But sometimes life happens and you lose a job or you lose money on an investment, and that can set you back.  And every now and again I make those purchases that I regret but I try to keep that to a bare minimum. 

How do you define financial independence?

Financial independence for me is not only the ability to provide for yourself without relying on other people on a daily basis, but it is also having enough to be able to provide for yourself during those times when you are not making money or during retirement years. This is incredibly difficult for most of us to achieve. 

If you have the choice between buying a home or investing in shares, which would you choose and why?

I would take into account what my finances are able to afford. I have to live within my means. Currently, we are facing some of the darkest times in our economy and we are going to see some people struggling to meet their bond repayments. It might be a better decision to invest in shares and unit trusts, etc, until you are in a better position to be able to meet your bond repayments comfortably. 

What's been your best and your worst decision about money?

Every time I adjust my budget in terms of what I am able to afford I always feel as though that's a good financial decision e.g. changing my supermarket to one with more competitive prices, cutting out expenses that qualify as a luxury as opposed to a need, searching for more competitive quotes for my insurance and medical aid, etc.
My worst decision has been applying for a credit card.  It really is the walkway into the horrible vortex that is debt and keeps you sucked in there for years!   

What do you do to make sure that you are financially secure?

I constantly build up on my savings and I make regular adjustments to my budget to make sure I'm not wasting any money. I have invested in shares and unit trusts. I also make adjustments to my retirement plan, etc.  

How do you encourage yourself to think about your financial future without feeling overwhelmed ?

It's almost impossible not to be overwhelmed especially when you are bombarded with stats on how the majority of South Africans suffer in retirement because they were unable to put away enough money to accommodate their lifestyle.  I suppose one has to keep doing their research and asking questions around areas that they are not familiar with to help them make better financial decisions.       

What’s your biggest personal indulgence?

That would probably in the wardrobe department.  There are times when I've gone overboard with clothes and shoes.  

Do you have rules for lending money to friends or family?

I have enough trust in my family to lend them money because their track record lets me know I will always be paid back.  I am happy to lend small amounts to friends, but I have declined amounts that I feel might put me at financial risk.  I haven't done this a lot with my friends and luckily they have understood when I have declined. 
What’s the biggest current drain on your finances?

I would have to say it's my credit card debt.  

What are the most useful financial lessons you’ve learned?

If you don't have the money in your hand to spend, you probably shouldn't be buying whatever it is you want.