Here’s how to claim financial freedom by managing your money well
Young women from disadvantaged backgrounds hold so much potential to impact the world of investments in a positive way, 29-year-old Lynette Govender, senior adviser at OUTvest’s client care department, says.
Govender uses her rural upbringing in difficult financial circumstances to help investors understand the importance of diversified investments, an emergency fund, budgeting and the careful use of credit.
She grew up in Glendale, Kwazulu-Natal, a sugar cane plantation area where most families struggled to make ends meet. Residents, including her family, fished and grew vegetables to survive.
“There were five of us in the family and our financial situation was difficult. The area was poverty stricken and unemployment was quite high.”
Her mother took her to open her first bank account when she was eight and by just observing her parents supporting the family on shoestring income taught her the importance of a budget, she says.
Her budget became a lifeline while studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting at the University of Kwazulu-Natal on NSFAS loan.
The secret is sticking to your monthly budget as best you can and prioritising your needs over your wants. She says she practised this diligently, even when she started working.
Her career at OUTsurance started seven years ago as a third-party claims adviser. Her studies in commerce and passion for speaking to clients to make a real difference in their lives opened the door to join the team that established the OUTvest investment advice and administration centre.
An affiliate member of the Financial Planning Institute, Govender assists clients with financial planning and practical advice that speaks to their needs and prepares them for a comfortable retirement, she says.
Govender feels strongly that a key responsibility as an adviser is to ensure you connect with investors to gain an understanding of their unique investment objectives, their level of investment knowledge and how they feel about money.
If an adviser does not understand an investor, it can leave the investor unprepared for the financial future they are working towards and invested in assets or products that do not meet their needs, she says.
“One of my worst investment decisions is not investing in a retirement annuity from my first pay cheque. Contributions to a retirement annuity are tax deductible up to a certain limit, so I was missing out on a massive tax break and the opportunity to boost my future wealth creation,” Govender says.
Stressing the importance of a diversified investment portfolio, she says gain a deeper understanding of your fund, the objective of each investment and how all of these parts contribute to an effective financial plan.
She encourages people to start an emergency fund to cover unforeseen emergencies and not to withdraw from long-term investments prematurely, such as withdrawing your pension when you leave your job, or taking money from your tax-free savings account.
Govender says she hopes to be an inspiration to other young women from disadvantaged backgrounds to look beyond their current circumstances and aspire for a career in investments.
“If you are struggling financially, seek out bursaries and study loans or find a mentor in your industry. From your first pay cheque, start saving any amount you can afford – a little goes a long way in creating wealth,” she says.
Her parting words: “Don’t let your money manage you. Manage your money to make financial freedom a reality.”