Money-savvy Cassper and Pearl don’t live as large as you might think

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

Cassper Ny­ovest and Pearl Thusi are liv­ing their best life. And look­ing at their so­cial me­dia, you’d be for­given for think­ing that their best life is also their most ex­pen­sive life.

But the part­ners in #Con­spic­u­ousSav­ing don’t live as large as their le­gions of fans might think, and they have spent the past month putting a more re­al­is­tic spin on their days – and giv­ing some re­ally use­ful cash-sav­ing tips.

It’s not a way of life Ny­ovest plans to give up any­time soon, even when Na­tional Sav­ings Month comes to an end. “Use your money wisely. Sav­ing is al­ways a good idea,” he ad­vises.

“I was sav­ing be­fore and I will still save. I use my money very well. I don’t al­ways splurge. There are a lot of things I re­ally like, but I don’t live a life I can’t af­ford,” Ny­ovest says.

Liv­ing within your means is key. If you have al­ways spent your money faster than you earned it, you can ac­tively and con­sciously change that.

“Don’t live up to the pres­sure,” Ny­ovest ad­vises. “Don’t end up in debt for the sake of look­ing rich or try­ing to earn re­spect through try­ing to spend money. I think peo­ple should live within their own means and go at their own pace.”

And al­ways put some­thing away for a rainy day.

“It can be very im­por­tant for the short term to in­sure against a shock,” says An­na­maria Lusardi, the founder of and aca­demic direc­tor at the Global Fi­nan­cial Lit­er­acy Ex­cel­lence Cen­ter and ad­viser to the US Trea­sury. “My rec­om­men­da­tion is al­ways to have a lit­tle bit of sav­ings. Of course, you don’t want to starve to­day so you have some­thing for the fu­ture, but it is im­por­tant to have at least a lit­tle bit of sav­ings to face shocks, so we can shield our­selves.”

Sav­ing is hard psy­cho­log­i­cally, be­cause we have to give up con­sump­tion. But draw up a bud­get, cut costs where you can, take some cost-sav­ing tips from Thusi and Ny­ovest, and first pay off your debt. Then start your sav­ings plan.

“The prob­lem is our mod­ern econ­omy/so­ci­ety is not an econ­omy/ so­ci­ety that is neu­tral. We are bom­barded each day with mes­sages to con­sume, to spend,” Lusardi says. “On top of this, we are bom­barded with this mes­sage that con­sump­tion makes us happy.”

But sav­ing brings wealth and that gives us fi­nan­cial free­dom, which brings an even greater hap­pi­ness.

It’s a les­son Ny­ovest learned at his grand­fa­ther’s knee.

“I come from a fam­ily of en­trepreneurs,” he says. “My grand­par­ents had a su­per­mar­ket, like a spaza shop. They were the first peo­ple to run a busi­ness or to have any kind of money that I had con­tact with. But they would never spoil us. So we could un­der­stand the im­por­tance of money and en­tre­pre­neur­ial skills. When you are young and you have role mod­els like my grand­par­ents, you look at them and you want to mimic and im­i­tate them. I learned a lot from them hav­ing their own busi­ness and be­ing their own boss.”

Liv­ing within your means and in­vest­ing in your busi­ness to grow it is another les­son he learned.

“My grand­fa­ther comes from Malawi. He walked here with his friend and he had noth­ing; he started from noth­ing and he built an em­pire – he had two tuck­shops and owned taxis. I took a lot from that. I took it from his story of com­ing here with noth­ing and build­ing his em­pire from noth­ing.”

On #Con­spic­u­ousSav­ing, Ny­ovest says: “I have learned you never know enough. When it comes to us­ing money, I have learned there is a lot more to learn. You can al­ways get wiser about your spend­ing.” Get­ting wiser is some­thing Ny­ovest does by watch­ing what oth­ers do. He has fol­lowed in the footsteps of Amer­i­can stars like Jay-Z and Kanye West, mov­ing be­yond be­ing a mu­si­cian into es­tab­lish­ing a record la­bel, mer­chan­dise and fash­ion, build­ing his own brand.

Be­ing a sim­i­lar ex­am­ple in South Africa is a role he takes se­ri­ously. “Le­gacy is very im­por­tant to me. I move care­fully be­cause I know that I am build­ing a le­gacy. I have a cer­tain way that I want to be re­mem­bered and I take pride in my brand and in my story and I re­spect it a lot,” he says.

“The big­gest prob­lem, es­pe­cially with our black celebri­ties who ended up dy­ing as pau­pers, is that they never had ex­am­ples or in­for­ma­tion. They kind of freestyled the whole thing.

“We make a lot of money as mu­si­cians at the be­gin­ning of our ca­reer, but once the money stops com­ing in, you get frus­trated and you spend your money all the way back down to where you came from.

“There are many ex­am­ples. They have played a great role in my life. They paid a great sac­ri­fice. I look at them, as they taught us about how not to spend money.”

Ny­ovest won’t men­tion names out of re­spect, but jazz star Hugh Masekela ad­mit­ted to hav­ing blown around $50 mil­lion in his ca­reer. Brenda Fassie went broke af­ter spend­ing all her money on drugs, although she man­aged a come­back.

It’s not only a South African prob­lem. There are plenty of celebri­ties who lived the high life who have gone bank­rupt or died broke:

• Amer­i­can singer Wil­lie Nel­son de­clared bank­ruptcy in 1990, owing the govern­ment $16.7 mil­lion in un­paid back taxes and fees.

• Can’t Touch This singer MC Ham­mer filed for bank­ruptcy in 1996, $13 mil­lion in debt, af­ter earn­ing more than $30 mil­lion in the 1990s.

• Boxer Mike Tyson earned more than $400 mil­lion in his ca­reer, but af­ter liv­ing large he filed for bank­ruptcy in 2003, with debts of $27 mil­lion.

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