A LESSON LEARNT
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: