Podcast: Starting over

Kristia van Heerden Latest, The Fat Wallet

Since talking about money is my day job, it’s easy to assume that I have no financial anxieties. That’s not the case. Money speaks to such a primal part of our humanity. I think everyone is susceptible to a degree of fear around their ability to meet the basic needs of themselves and their families.

Making big lifestyle changes always results in massive financial anxiety for me. Buying a house  – a lifestyle decision whose financial implications I always distrusted – had me on tenterhooks. Instead of throwing myself into the planning, I resorted to a small degree of avoidance during the stressful process of finalising the sale.

When I was finally ready to look the beast in the eye, I was greatly relieved. Forgetting my previous budget and starting from scratch was a way of reminding myself that I was actually in control of the process. I could make decisions to ensure my financial comfort because of good decisions that I made in the past. Good for me!

This episode is for those of you who recently underwent a big change that requires a new approach to your money. We talk about my own process and offer some ways for you to start over. Remember to let us know how it goes!

P.S. Don’t forget to join us for our Power Hour on 21 February at the JSE in Johannesburg. Register here.

Join our Fat Wallet community page here.

Win of the week: Peter, who simply wrote: Love your show and don’t miss any new posting. Also Ben, for sending a question and then figuring out the answer himself.

Clean swearing bleeped out show is below.

Lady Kabelo

Can you explain the relationship between world/US ETFs and the rand in village idiot terms.

If I buy the S&P500 and the rand weakens against the dollar, is this good for my investment? And vice versa.

I assume the same would apply to the world, global property and emerging market etfs. Is this correct?

From an investment perspective, when the rand weakens should I be happy or sad?

Because the S&P does its own thing and the rand does its own thing, I can never tell what’s going on and why.

Kgosi discovered he was being overcharged for his dread and disability cover. His cover came to almost R3,000 and he’s only 26. That’s too much.

Brendan wanted to add to last week’s episode on getting your tax in order for the new year.

There is also a donation to an s18A public benefit organisation (PBO) that listeners can consider making. Up to 10% of our taxable income is deductible for this purpose. SARS is effectively paying a portion (by reducing our taxable income and therefore the tax we will pay) of a donation we make to a cause that we care about. There is a list of S18A PBO’s on the SARS website.

Hannes, who just turned 30, is feeling some anxiety over his finances.

I quit my shitty-paying, toxic software job in 2015, dipped my hand into business which never took off, after which I settled on international stock trading in the US markets for two years. The reason for US markets? I felt like SA was lacking liquid, affordable stocks for active day trading, and at R50 per trade at Standard Bank at the time I thought I might as well try my hand across the pond. Before this endeavour I’ve never dealt with the financial markets, local or international, and I had no knowledge, so I put on my big boy pants and started learning and obsessing about the financial industry.

I vastly underestimated the time and capital required to learn to be a consistently successful trader (especially in USD), and my money was slowly drained by education, “school fees”, software costs, exchange fees and broker commissions over the two-year period.

I retired from the US markets in late 2017 and subsequently cut all ties to the financial world and returned to my original career path and “stability”. At the ripe age of almost-31 I’m in a financial position where I can start building a life, and start realizing my plan for long-term investing.

As it stands now, I have no investments, no property, a small bit of manageable debt (relatively cheap car which is also my hobby), no RA, no TFSA, and R100k tax-free (tax directive) money in my savings account earning around 6%.

On top of that, I realized that I will need to get on top of my parents finances as well. They have always earned a decent income due to my father’s business, but they have neglected their retirement completely. They are both in their late 60’s. My two older siblings do not work and rely on their husbands to support their families, so ultimately I will be the only one actively contributing to my parents retirement, all while trying to create a life for me and my hopefully-soon-to-be-wife.

I’ve decided to sketch out a financial plan for myself, my girlfriend and my parents in an attempt to remove them from the grasp of their financial advisor in order to set a clear cut path to some sort of retirement.

I’ve drafted a plan below, which I think makes financial sense and should start me off with a well balanced portfolio:

  • Max out TFSA with R33k on 1 March 2019. (Leaving me with R66k left in regular savings).
  • Keep R33k of the remaining R66k as the starting point to my emergency fund (which I’d like to grow to about R150k).
  • Use the remaining R33k to invest immediately in ETFs / other “good” financial instruments (I could really use your input on what is considered great first investment financial instruments).
  • Open an RA with 10X (need more research on this) and start contributing to that around R3k per month, unfortunately no contribution from my employer.
  • Don’t buy a house. Don’t panic. Be patient. Reduce living costs even more (lean already). Try not to panic because I want to get married soon, have a honeymoon and travel. Did I mention don’t panic? It’s fine.

Because my girlfriend (29) and I (30) are only starting our investment journeys this year, do you have any strategic paths you would recommend as the most efficient way to start ?

is not happy about the Ashburton 1200’s TER. Chris Rheeder wrote in about it too

I have heard you and Simon mention the Ashburton  Global 1200 several times as a solid, diversified, reasonably priced rand hedge ETF. However, while doing research recently I discovered that the TER for the aforementioned fund is now 1.33 percent! (See the latest MDD: https://www.ashburtoninvestments.com/docs/sa/ashburton-exchanged-traded-funds/ashburton-global-1200-tracker-fund/a-class)

I recall that the initial TER was in the region of 0.45-0.55. In other words, the TER went up by more than 100 percent, which is ridiculous and highly annoying as I invested a fairly large sum of money based on the diversification and relatively low TER. I appreciate that prices do at times need to go up but this is just not cool.

I just wanted to alert the community that this is no longer a low-cost option. Satrix, Sygnia and Stanlib offer much cheaper options that are fairly similar.

Brendan is having trouble deciding on a vehicle for his retirement.

When I joined the company I work at, we had a mandatory pension. At the time I said “Okay, cool!” and felt very grown up and responsible.

However my contract of employment will soon expire. That means I will have to move my pension thingy. It’s a Momentum product called funds at work.

Upon realizing I have to move the pension thing, I started looking into the various options and I had no clue what is the right option for me.

Retirement funds, plans, annuities, pensions – there seems to be thousands of options and I don’t know which one to go for. Could you please provide some clarity on this fuckery?

I was thinking I want to be with a place like 10X and I want to have my own personal contribution going off my account so that I can max out my tax break, but with all the other products out there and the various differences I thought it would make sense to hear what you have to say.

My line of works means I will usually be hired by companies on mid-term contracts +- 5 years at a time and I thought maybe always having a personal retirement annuity would make these transfer periods easier and allow me to keep my money consolidated.

Charmaine wants to sell some of her existing ETFs and buy new ones. She has DBXWD and Satrix40. She made a loss on the one and a profit on the other. She wants to know how to handle the selling off in terms of tax.

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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