Podcast: How to spot a bad financial product

In Latest, The Fat Wallet by Kristia van Heerden

FW1_2907The financial world is filled with dreadful products. Avoiding them all is a tempting strategy, but not feasible for most people. In our first full episode of the year, Simon and I dedicate some time to help you spot a bad product.

Below is a checklist of red flags you should watch out for before investing in these products/


  • Interest
  • Balloon payments
  • Revolving loans
  • Fees


  • TFSA in cash
  • Disclosure – 13% compound vs simple
  • Fees
  • Products that are tied to other products

Insurance and medical aid

  • Requirements
  • Complexity


  • Promises of above-market reruns
  • Non-diversified/concentration risk
  • Fees
  • Lock-ins
  • Is it tied to an insurance product
  • Derivative products

Beeped version is below.


Win of the week: Tafadzwa

I stay in Namibia. Last month I discovered your show. I’ve been teaching myself FI by reading various blogs for 3 to 4 years. I recently turned 41 and your podcast was just the kick up the behind I needed to DO something about my finances.

I am restructuring my life from top to bottom (or vice versa). I reduced my bank charges from 450 to 213 just because I went and raised hell. Guess what, there was a bundled package which suited me to a t. Thanks guys for the proverbial butt kick. 

I am working on reducing my debt. Bye-bye to my clothing account in 5 months. Good riddance.

My car loan is much more difficult. The prime rate was reduced from 10.75% +1 to 10.25%+1 in April this year. My installment was not reduced appropriately as was implied in the contract with the bank. I have 18 months left to clear the loan. Is the debt set in stone or can it be reduced through setting early? I need a hack please. 

I decided to start investing in ETFs on the NSX. Satrix listed the MSCI World, Nasdaq, Emerging Markets, S&P 500 on the NSX in April 2019. Previously, only commodity ETFs where listed. 

There seems to be little awareness about ETFs and possibly very little liquidity in that sector. I am aware that these are global ETFs. Will the lack of liquidity affect me in any way? Easy Equities implied that I can open a USD account. Is it a good option? 

I am learning financial literacy with my wife and kids via YouTube and this podcast etc. Am working on my emergency fund (been start – stop) for years. 

How viable is it for a contract worker to invest long term for retirement if there is no access to pension, RAs, tax breaks etc.


Many moons ago I bought some Choppies shares and some time later I sold with a bit of profit. But I did not sell everything a decided to hold a few thousand shares (they were dirt cheap) on the off chance that the company might turn around.

Now with the company having been suspended for over a year I’m wondering what will happen if it gets delisted. What will the process be? If they delist do they have to pay share holders a nominal amount or do the shares “disappear” and does the value disappear too

I saw a SENS for Choppies saying that they were possibly accepting a sale of all the South African operations… What does this mean for shareholders? Wouldn’t the shareholders usually be asked to vote on a decision like this even if the shares are suspended? (They are not delisted yet). Or is that perhaps the next step in the process?


What if the very nice family member gave the very lucky family member R500K immediately as an interest free loan (payable in full at the end of – say – 5 years, with no monthly payment required), and then every year for the next 5 years reduced the outstanding loan amount by the R100K tax-free ‘gift/donation’ threshold. This would allow for the immediate transfer of R500K with no tax implication for either party. The risk of course is if the very nice family member passes away in the next five years, the outstanding loan amount would be owed to the deceased estate.

Tax Elf De Wet responds: 

SARS would view this as a simulated loan (i.e. actual donation) on the day the loan is made and would levy donations tax on the remaining R400,000.

The Fat Wallet Show with Kristia van HeerdenThe Fat Wallet Show is a no-nonsense personal finance and investment podcast hosted by Kristia van Heerden and Simon Brown. Every week we answer questions by a growing audience of finance enthusiasts. Submit your pressing money and investment questions to ask@justonelap.com.

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