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Ditch the handbag for financial stability

South Africans have spent most of the last two months at home on account of the national lockdown. Houses are being spring cleaned, people are clearing there to do lists and relationships are being maintained through technology.

Over the years, the progression of technology has created a virtual social world in which lifestyles are continuously posted through the latest and greatest of everything fuelling a mindset of instant gratification.

The latest restaurants, fashion, cars, watches, handbags, and accessories were all must haves. For the past two months however, these items have gathered dust to say the least.

We all remember that saying “all dressed up with nowhere to go.”

This virus has most certainly taken from us. But what we can take from it, is the realisation that this social media and a materialistic world may not be as important to us as we once thought. Health, family, time and financial stability now top the list of importance and for some, it took a pandemic to realise this.

How many South Africans would now trade in that expensive handbag for an emergency savings account considering the economic slowdown? Something that can be tapped into during these uncertain times or even better an investment that creates a return considering the many market opportunities that presented itself.

South Africans enjoy spending money. Current stats show that households save -0.2% of household income, meaning we are a nation of spenders and not savers. Many South African households spend more than they earn every month, increasing debt levels yet having emergency savings will never go out of style.

I am not saying South Africans should be frugal, what I am saying is that there is a right way to spend. Rewarding yourself is especially important but should only be done in moderation. In a manner that is not going to increase debt levels nor put financial strain on you with increased interest expenses.

If it were a designer statement to put your net worth on an item of clothing would you do it? Yet we create these facades through trying to portray what we are not through social media. Investing in that handbag instead may mean that you don’t have the latest bag in season, but you will be closer to having a safety net if you’re not able to earn an income, provide your kids with a better education or retire more comfortably.

You will have an investment that will earn you returns, as opposed to an item that costs you money and reduces value over time.

The reduction in interest rates results is just another bigger temptation to splurge as households see more cash flow or even are encouraged to purchase on credit, but it also provides the opportunity to invest for both long- and short-term savings goals.

or those that have not been financially impacted by the virus, staying at home has resulted in less expenses on fuel, eating out, entertainment and social events which can now be used to start investing and with market prices being so low, it’s an optimal time to set long term investment goals and unlock market opportunity.

For once, time is on our side. The virus has allowed us to hit the pause button on our busy lifestyles.

Time once spent, shopping for that perfect accessory can be replaced by something new and exciting at home, and the extra money can be used to make savings goals a reality and ultimately add another level of value to your life.

Work has resumed online, making us question whether the standard 9-5 corporate job will be a thing of the past post the virus?

This article was written b y Aneesa Razack, CEO share Investing, FNB Wealth and Investments.



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Editor's note

American novelist Louisa May Alcott said it best when she said “Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”

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