Finweek English Edition - - FEEDBACK - SIM­PHIWE NG­WANE Cre­at­ing a fi­nan­cially savvy kid, nyanga?” nyanga?” “Ubud­lani zonke lezi “Ubud­lani zonke lezi

WRITES VIA EMAIL: The ex­tract from Maya Fisher-French’s new book, pub­lished in the 8-14 May edi­tion, re­minded me of my late mother.

Fisher-French writes: “For some chil­dren, sav­ing comes nat­u­rally – they don’t re­ally have any­thing they want to spend their money on and they like the idea of see­ing their money grow. For other chil­dren, money burns a hole in their pocket and they are not happy un­til ev­ery last cent is spent.” The piece left me think­ing about my child­hood. My re­la­tion­ship with money as I grew up was sim­i­lar to that of the lat­ter child − sav­ing came nat­u­rally. I was happy with my packed lunch and thus asked my mother to please keep my tuck money for the whole term, so I can de­cide at the end of the term what I wanted to do with it.

Trust­ing my mother with my tuck money was my big­gest mis­take. I was an odd, nerdy kid grow­ing up and spent my money at an­tique shops. Through­out the term I’d visit var­i­ous shops in search of some­thing spe­cial to buy with my saved tuck money. The term would end and I would have found some­thing that I wanted to buy. All glee­ful, I’d then ap­proach my mother and ask for my saved money, and she’d re­spond,

[What were you eat­ing all th­ese months?], im­ply­ing that she’d used the money for var­i­ous things needed around the house. With hind­sight, per­haps I should have in­sisted on hav­ing a bank ac­count opened for me in­stead of wholly trust­ing the Phumla Ng­wane Bank.

I’m now a 26-year-old mem­ber of Joburg’s black mid­dle class work­ing for an in­sur­ance com­pany, han­dling my own bud­get, build­ing my in­vest­ment port­fo­lio and forc­ing my­self to start sav­ing. Am I do­ing it well? That is sub­jec­tive, but I’m de­vel­op­ing an in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ship with my money with both good lessons to em­u­late and bad lessons to learn from. And, with a smile and laugh re­call­ing my mother’s end-of-term mantra:

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