Thanks for dropping by Safe Investing South Africa. I am on a journey to build wealth my way. For any questions or comments, feel free to contact me.

14 Apr 2017


Changing bad habits is a constant battle for all of us. It does not matter how not life altering the habit may seem. From eating in instead of dining out to raiding your closet for the next wedding instead of paying a designer for a new outfit. It takes a lot of discipline and intentional effort. I changed my bad financial habits and still continue to relapse and rework on them again and again. We need to understand that this is a ceaseless battle.

I changed my bad financial habits
I am fortunate in that, my own habits do not encompass carrying huge debt quantities. It is mostly shopping for stuff I do not need. Carrying consumer debt should be frightening for all of us. It is strange that when people are in that high debt situation, they tend to behave like frogs that are being boiled from low water temperatures. They simple adjust to their situations, and then start borrowing even more. The longer one is in debt, the deeper they tend to dig the grave.

Let me start by confessing, to demonstrate how easy this happens to most of us. A few months ago, I finally got myself a credit card. Phew! Was I ever so eager to get into debt? The thing is, I started an exciting, high capital and slow growth business. I was rushing the business to be self-sustaining ahead of its time. I'm not a patient type. It emerged that it is not happening anytime soon. I had to get a credit card to assist the business. I do not believe in bankrupting myself to assist the business but the situation called for it.

Well…I swiped the credit card for the business transactions and ahem, mine. In no time, the card was maxed out. I started having the business pay the debt, but it was very difficult. Instead of me working harder on doing this, I just got used to carrying this debt. I got comfort in the fact that I was not paying any interest because I was paying the credit card balance up monthly and transferring my money back again. The credit card debt was becoming part of me, until I realised that I was getting captured (as South Africans would say) and paid it up. The business may reimburse me someday.

A lot of people carry huge sums of credit card debt like it is a perfect way of life. Some have intentions to get out of debt but regress back to it. This is just one of the habits that keep us trapped regardless of our intentions. Then comes January, we repent and promise to get ourselves cleaned up. The main reason we don't permanently kick these habits is that, they somehow fill the void inside of us. You can only replace a bad habit with a good one. That void needs to be filled with something, Right.

I changed my bad financial habits by replacing them with good habits. I am a designer and tend to buy a lot of home stuff. I also have acute hoarding habits. I decided to have a business that sells used, vintage and antique home-ware. This enables me to acquire new stuff as often as I wish. I simply resell existing. You may not be reselling (I don’t see why not though), but need to replace the mall time with something that adds better value to your life.

We also need to understand that changing bad habits is a very difficult and lonely journey. The society is about spending and spending more. The higher your debt, the more likely you would be "liked". Our society shows a high level of respect for people who are flashy. Being one's own person often takes swimming against the tide. Do it despite everyone else's perceptions. It is your own journey and your own goals. Your ability to exercise self-control can stretch beyond your imagination. It is easier than you imagine.
  • Always keep your eye on the ball. Refer to the article on setting SMART goals posted in the blog.
  • Know what triggers your bad habit. If it takes cutting mall visits and people who are bad influence from your life, do it.
  • Keep busy with something else. Physical exercise could be one.
  • Get support structure if you must. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people does wonders for one's goals.
Those are a few steps I took when I changed my bad financial habits. I stay put most of the times.

12 Apr 2017


Sharing goals with friends, family and other like-minded people can help provide one with the much needed support. This may also provide a safe place to "sort of" account on implementation and progress. I am very much aware that this is a non-negotiable NO for many people. But the outlier in me makes this perfectly OK, at least for myself. Well, I am evidently a blogger. You know, the crazy bunch that deliberately thinks aloud.
Sharing goals
In the previous post, we detailed how to set personal finance goals. If you haven't already, go check the post before this one. You will not be disappointed *broad smile*. Having set the smart goals, I find that sharing them with just one person helps me strive to bring them to fruition. I cannot be the only one who thrives on support. Anyway today's post will be about me…of course, my self centeredness knows no bounds *more smiles*.

For as long as I can remember I had an accountability buddy. My accountability person is usually a like-minded friend who also derives similar benefits from the friendship. In my twenties I had a friend who impeccably played this role in the finance area of my life. She had a lot of goals herself, which gave a high degree of mutuality to this accountability role. We never planned to keep each other accountable, but we did. She would tell me how she plans on paying her apartment up in a very short space of time. I would do the same. That is when most of our friends were shopping just to kill time and to feel "rich".

I later started this blog, specifically to keep myself accountable. I account to myself with no reservation here. If I set a goal using this blog, I am sure to achieve it at the set time. But this happens when I commit to constant reporting. You may not have been following me for long enough to have been part of my mortgage pay up journey that I took about 6 years ago. I was very excited each time I write the progress report. This pushed me to pay more on the mortgage, to beat my set target deadline. All of this happened here in the open, in my blog. I did that until my mortgage was fully paid. What a feeling!I attribute my bond repayment success to the target setting and tracking that I was doing in this space.

I still share some of my goals with close friends. Apart from that, I have set an accountability club on Facebook to keep myself and others accountable to ourselves. It is a closed group with like-minded friends. Every month each of us reports on progress towards achieving their set goals. One may have only one goal communicated to the group. Reporting is done in the form of sharing evidence which is done monthly on all set goals. The regular updates keep each member of the group accountable not only to us as group members but to themselves too. I would recommend this approach to anyone who has ambitions to build wealth.

Sharing goals does have its cons too by the way. One has to be careful when they choose their accountability buddies. Negative buddies are to be steered clear of. I know people who bring so much negative energy to one's excitement and dampen the spirit. Choose wisely.

10 Apr 2017


I must have told you about the guy who goes beyond the exercise of setting financial goals by framing and hanging them on the wall of his home office. He takes pleasure in seeing his goals on display daily. I don't quite do that, but it seems to do wonders for people as visual as the guy. I myself am a goal driven nutcase. I can never achieve anything without intentionally setting a goal for it. I am currently re-building on my emergency fund for instance. I have committed to a specific amount that I save every month towards my maximum emergency fund. Without that commitment, I tend not to be consistent. I can be that messy.
setting financial goals
I advocate for goals that are challenging enough to push one where they are aiming to be, but yet attainable. Whenever I plan to achieve a financial milestone, my goal states the amounts to be saved and/ or invested with target returns. The idea of SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, result-focused and time-bound) goals will never get out of fashion. I have a detailed explanation of SMART goals which entails writing goals down, setting targets and celebrating every milestone achieved below.

  • Specific. You most likely have different goals at any given time. The "my goal is to build wealth" is a goal too broad and overwhelming to work on. I have heard of this particular one far too often in my wealth class. A smart goal is more specific than that. When setting financial goals, one needs to break a goal down with an attempt to respond to their own "What", "Why" and "How" for specificity.
What is my goal? My goal is to earn high rental income.
Why this goal? I need high rental income to supplement my current income and invest for early retirement.
How will I achieve this goal? I am saving through a high interest investment vehicle towards acquiring my investment property. I am currently saving R5000 per month. I am also working on improving my credit rating to increase my chances of getting charged low interest by my lender of choice.
It does not get more specific than that.

  • Measurable. The measurability of your goals enables you to track your progress. This is the only way that you can have an evidence of the work you are putting towards achieving your objectives.
Let's take our rental income goal as an example. The investment property will only be purchased in exactly two years' time. Break this goal into smaller targets goes:
  • Monthly:- I am saving R5000 every month to build towards my deposit.
  • 6 Months:- To improve on my credit rating I am paying all my consumer debt off by month 6. I will also be having R30,000 plus interest at this date.
  • 7 Months: In month 7 I am getting a new credit card that I will take great care of for the purposes of improving my credit score.
  • 12 Months: By the end of year one, my credit rating will have improved to excellent. I will be having over R60,000 in my investment account at this time.
  • Year 2: I will be having extra income to boost my savings at month 13. By the end of year two I will be having R240,000 in my investment account.
You must be getting the measurability point of this post. I do this a lot. I go to an extent of adding interest to my excel spreadsheet. This makes the goal tangible and motivates one to work harder to achieve it.

  • Attainable. I have come across a lot of people who have dreams that remain dreams purely because of lack of their dreams attainability. We all wish to achieve stuff but it takes a bit of time and proper planning to get where we want to be. We have to be millionaires before we become billionaires, unless of course we win lottery. Our current goals cannot be to be billionaires in a short space of time whilst we have not even attained the first R1 Million.
Having said that, your goals should challenge you. Easy will not cut it either. Remember to break your goal down into smaller targets. This enables one to determine how possible achieving their goal is. Always remember to start where you are when setting financial goals.

  • Results-focused. The only way to get things done is by focusing on the outcome. Always keep your goal alive. Take care of the processes but have your goal in your face/ mind at all times. Keep in mind that your main outcome is owning your investment property. Every step that you take is for the advancement of that goal. And the question asked is "how is this objective advancing my ambition to earn my rental income".

  • Time-bound: Tying your goal to a time frame helps one to pace themselves in achieving it. A lot of us are procrastinators. A time-bound goal will keep one moving.