Claire Mawisa: I started working at 15 years old, so that helped me understand the value of money

by - July 28, 2016

Claire Mawisa is a South African television presenter and radio personality best known for being an SABC1 continuity presenter (1999-2001), as well as for co-hosting the SABC1 music variety show One, from 2002-2003. After many years working in radio and television, and opening her own business, Claire joined the Carte Blanche team in 2015.
 In this interview, she talks to me about her money spending habits. 

Are you feeling the impact of the rand? How?

I am feeling it only because I'm traveling internationally on holiday, and I can feel how much more I have to pay for my flights and accommodation. The rand doesn't go as far as it used to, and it's painful.

How did your childhood influence your attitude towards money?

I grew up in a modest home, but we didn't want for anything. My mother was a single parent and sole breadwinner, and always made us conscious of the fact that money needs to be earned and spent wisely. I started working at 15 years old, so that helped me understand the value of money.

Are you good with money or irresponsible?

Overall I think I'm quite good with money.

How do you define financial independence?

Having foresight to plan for unforeseen situations by putting some money away. We all go through tough financial times, but if you can create your own safety net, you're well on your way to financial independence.

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

I would buy a home. It is what I am most comfortable with, it adds value to my life daily, and I can add value to my investment by renovations and maintenance. It allows me a space to express myself creatively, while earning in the long term.

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

Best decision was to buy property. Worst decision was to wait so late to start saving.

What’s your biggest personal indulgence?


As a woman, do you think it is improper or rude to discuss wealth and finances? 

No. We need to do it more often, with our group of friends, with our significant partners, with the immediate family and with our financial advisors. We need to stop making it taboo to talk about money, or showing the desire to get and earn more of it.

Do you and your women friends talk about wealth and finances? 

Yes, me and my girls talk about money often. We love sharing experiences, and to do that we need to be real and honest about our financial situations. Good friends will understand and not judge.

I sometimes have that voice at the back of my head telling me that I have to suffer to succeed financially? Do you have that voice and how do you shut it down? 

No, I don't have that voice. I truly believe that my financial success will come from me doing what I'm most passionate about. If I stay on purpose, and make sure I follow my gut, then I know I will stay on course for financial success.

What are your rules for lending money to friends or family?

I only lend money to two or three friends in my life, otherwise my rule is that I do not lend money, even if it is to family. I usually right it off as a gift, and I'm always pleasantly surprised when it comes back.

What are some of your favorite tools, books, apps, etc., for learning about personal finances and investments?

I enjoy listening to business/financial talk radio shows that usually have an expert sharing information, and listeners calling in to get clarity and understanding. It is entertaining and informative and easy to understand.

Please share your financial tips? 
  • Be real with yourself. If you cannot afford to pay for it now in cash, do not buy it. Understand that you already have everything you need, almost everything else is a want. 
  • Create a stop order that goes to an untouchable account, and pay yourself as part of your end of month expenses.
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