Author: Nicolette Mashile
Publishers: Financial Bunny (2020)
The money management journey is a challenging one, especially when coming from a disadvantaged background were conversations about finances are a sensitive topic to discuss. In pursuit of a better relationship with money, there is a need for honest interrogation into our behaviors by tracing where our money habits were developed, exposing of our financial blind sights and an acceptance of the errors made over the years about our finances.
In friendly, fun and yet in a “big sister” approach Nicolette Mashile challenges and encourages us on this pursuit with this three hundred pager. The author mainly argues that money issues are not necessary linked only to the lack of financial literacy but our behaviors and attitudes towards money also play a big role. There is numerous research that highlights how as South Africans we are drowning in bad debt due to our excessive consumption behaviors, hence the author argues that instant gratification is the mother of brokenness and the enemy of saving. Beyond having financial goals to ensure what is called purposeful financial decision making, essentially the secret to most money solutions is the practice of delayed gratification.
Other key themes explored in this book include money rules; dealing with debts; investment options; the role of money in relationships; Stokvels and Black Tax. The importance of having emergency funds in order to survive financial shocks like Covid-19 pandemic is also discussed.
In regards to debt, the book offers brilliant tips on how to better manage it such as buying cash, knowing your credit score, debt counseling and using debt positively for investment purposes.
Due to finances being a sore topic in most marriages and relationships, the author offers possible strategies such as joint account for essential household expenses and a Mjolo account- a savings account used for fun activities such as travel that can help couples to better navigate their finances. The author further emphasizes that knowing each other’s money personality and attitudes can assist couples in communicating about money issues in a positive way.
Sadly, the book also exposes the vicious capitalistic system that includes car dealerships, banks and bond originators who don’t fully benefit majority of South Africans. Some of these institutions take advantage of salary earning individuals and their quest for ego-boosting social status even though they cannot afford, leaving them in unnecessary debt due to exuberant interest rates.
The book offers a variety of investment vehicles to choose from, however lacked a discussion on the viability of digital money options such as crypto-currency. The author also missed an opportunity to offer some advice on how parents could better teach their children about finances. In addition to the colloquial writing style that could make the main financial topic in some chapters to be sidelined at times, the book does also have a few technical inconsistencies that could deter some readers.
Overall this is a great personal finance book recommended to working professionals and aspiring investors. It essentially affirms that behavior is a decision that ultimately needs a conscious integrated approach involving financial knowledge, goal setting, will-power and a practical change to healthier behaviors. Nicolette Mashile prompts us to keep moving by making the right behavioral decisions about money in pursuit of sustainable financial freedom for our families and generations to come. So, what’s your move South Africa?