10 Financial Lessons I've learned from women I've interviewed in 2017

This has been quite a year. Literally, a whirlwind of emotions. 2017 has given us so many changes, and lots to think about as individuals. I didn't start the year that well. And the middle was just stressful. But towards the end, I kinda rode it out. Thank God for the strength. It has been a lot.

In addition to my own personal challenges, I have never seen in my lifetime, so much turmoil being brought on by politics. From Trump being inaugurated as president of the United States, to the Sunday newspaper articles on President Jacob Zuma and the Guptas. Literally every single Sunday there was a story about the Zuptas. I think so many of us started shutting down. I know I did. I got tired of politics, newspapers and their games. The Rand reacted and so did the petrol price. And basic food needs went out of the roof. I remember seeing the price of six dozen eggs being R17,99. Yes, they were organic but seriously what the hell?! Let's not even talk about the price of meat. It's been a crazy year. That's why when you can still afford your basics needs be very grateful. Remember the numbers from Stats SA, over 30,4 million South Africans were living in poverty in 2015.

If you live in any city in the country, I'm sure you've seen the increase of people living on the streets. I live in a complex, and I have seen families moving out to find more affordable rental spaces or even being kicked out of their homes because they can't pay their rent/bond.

Yes, it's been a really challenging year. And there are many things that are wrong with the country. Unemployment is high, our economy is down and there is higher dependency by households on credit. Still, there are things we can do to not find ourselves in a financial crisis. I know life happens, but I've learned the severity of poverty depends on you, i.e. what you are doing with your money when you have it. That is why I advocate for women to save, invest and do side hustle. It's the best thing you can do for yourself.

You will go through challenging times in life but you don't have to live in poverty. As women, we are likely to experience poverty in old age more than men. And we need more money than men because of our health. As a woman, you have to protect yourself. Make the most of your money now, while you still have the time, energy and opportunities. No man, however loving he is, is ever going to save you. It's your job to take care of you. And the sooner you understand that, the better your life.

So you know I always do interviews with women about their personal finance. And this is one of my favourite features on the blog, mainly because I learn so much. As women, we are great at helping each other navigate life. That's why stokvels or women-led financial organisations are so strong. As the year comes to an end and you are reflecting on how to get through the next year, here are some wise thoughts from these amazing women.

You don't have to be an investment guru or have a lot of money to start. Get guidance so you don't get overwhelmed and this will also help you to gain investing confidence to JUST START. It's not complicated as it used to be - Palesa Lengolo

I am a big supporter of owning your own home, but probably more from a security perspective than it necessarily being the better investment. If it is a second property then I would go with the shares as it’s important to diversify your portfolio (have money in different types of asset classes) - Joanne Miller

Save early. I know it's tempting to splurge and spend it all, but try and splurge and spend just a little if you get a big amount of money for something. I'm not saying don't spoil yourself, but try and have a financial cushion for when you need it. Don't get yourself into debt unnecessarily and don't think that a credit card is the way to go - Pippa Tshabalala

My mom has always worked hard for my sister and I to have a decent life so she has influenced me to always think about making my own money, run a business. Even though my husband looks after our family I've never wanted to only rely on him which is why I went back to work and started another business - Nzinga Qunta

I don’t lend money but I most certainly lend my time, I think it’s more valuable anyway. Helping a family member move house so they don’t have to hire a company to do it or staying up until 2 am helping a friend with DIY wedding decorations so they don’t have to pay someone else to do it. Crowd sourcing your expenses with family and friends is important – and you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll jump in when you need it too - Carly Barnes

Focus on the bigger picture and get out of the “have to have” frenzy: I think the most important thing to do to avoid being in this frenzy is to make sure that you invest before you spend. This means, paying yourself first rather than saving and investing what is left over at the end of the month. My one and only tip is to automate your savings so that they are just like another bill that you must pay every month. After you pay your bills and pay yourself first, you can spend the remaining amount of money on whatever you want, guilt-free. This approach sets the foundation for your financial success in the long term - Lungile Mashigo

Yes, I am a big believer that money is an energy and responds to me how I respond to it. I try to overcome these blockages by changing my attitude and reading literature that discusses money principles or read about people who have been in financial challenges and managed to turn their finances around. Books like, Think and Grow Rich as well as The Richest Man in Baylon, are my firm favourites - Vumi Msweli

A comfortable retirement means having enough money to maintain the same standard of living as you had before you retired, as well as being able to cover your increasing medical costs. It also means having enough extra savings to have some fun: travel, go to the theatre, and entertain friends. Most importantly, it is the ability to keep busy and with the things that you enjoy doing - Magda Wierzycka

The two are very connected. I truly believe in the adage that God wants to prosper me, so I know and have always trusted that provision will come whenever I am in need. I also believe that it is blessed to give, and I free myself up to doing this - Salamina Mosese

I use a spare account that might be under a different bank to the one that maybe has all my debits etc. So If I have a gig that might pay well, I work out what the priority for spending that month might be, and maybe deposit half there. Sometimes I use that account as a dedicated 'gift' account. As a parent, I spend most of my time and money buying prezzies for my little one's friends birthday parties. So If I start to put a few extra rands every month in that spare account, it doesn't eat into my 'grocery budget' - Sureshnie Rider

These powerful words have changed my life and I hope they will change yours too. Until another interview, take care of yours. Blessings. 

Which of these gems is your favourite? 

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