Firing Up Financial Success

Firing Up Financial Success

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When we celebrated Women’s Day, every man wanted to know why they can’t have a ‘Men’s Day’. So we obliged and gave them National Braai Day.

So what has The Braai got to do with Financial Planning?

First of all, braaiers and their followers around the fire seem to change into amateur financial advisers the moment the match hits the coals. “Have you heard about this fantastic investment opportunity? A friend of a friend is getting 25% return on his money.” Or “Now is the time to buy gold.”

That aside, here are some real similarities between The Braai and financial planning:

1.The Goal.Although it sometimes seems as if the main objective of The Braai is to donate a record number of beer bottles to recycling afterwards, the social interaction and having something to eat are also important goals. In the same way, when you engage in a process to put your financial affairs in order, you might have a number of objectives that you want to achieve, but it is of utmost importance that you have a goal.  This could be as varied as:

  • I want to make sure my family will be able to maintain their lifestyle if something happens to me.
  • I want to be able to send my children to university one day
  • I want to retire with a pension equal to my final salary
  • I have a bucket list and I want to know how I can afford it all.
  • I want to, for once and all, get my debt situation under control.

2.The Braaier.Around the braai everybody is an expert: about wood versus coals, how hot the fire must be, how long the steak should braai, salt before or afterwards. But if there is not at least one guy who knows what he is doing, then you are in trouble – and dinner might only be served when everybody has gone home, or it might end up in burned steaks or raw sausages.

In the same way, you need an expert who knows what he/she is doing when it comes to your finances. And fortunately there are professional financial planners that can take you by the hand, help unpack your goals for life, draft a plan for you and put in place the right investments or policies to help you make the most of your life.  (For the name of a certified financial planner go to fpi.co.za)

3. The Marinade.Even if you just throw the contents of a bottle over your meat, or go the whole hog by doing it yourself from the start, the marinade is an important part of the ritual of The Braai. The preparation is not complete without the marinade. In the same way, if you want to start getting your financial affairs in order, you need to do the prep work.  This is getting all the necessary documentation together, knowing where your money is invested or what policies you have – and very importantly, your spending plan and a copy of your will.

4. The safety measures.Most people will make sure the braai fire will not burn the house down or that broken bottles won’t hurt anybody – to ensure that the lasting memory of the braai is the good time everybody had, and not the tragic event.  In the same way, one of the principles of financial planning is to ensure that if a serious life changing event happens such as death or disability, the people who matter in your life will have the best of memories of your time together, and not only remember the hardship they had to endure afterwards.

5. The cost: fancy versus simple.Even if it is a bring-and-braai, you still have to shop for your part of the meat. But if you are the host, then your outlay would range from as little as the cost of a few sausages to the Full Monty: a snoek for starters, deboned leg of lamb or fillet steak and champion boerewors for mains.

The same applies for financial advice: you will be paying for the advice, in one way or another.  Because, do you really want to get the meat for your braai for free from the corner shop – you have no idea what they put in that sausage to be able to offer it to you for free – or if there is even any meat in the casing.

Enjoy National Braai Day – and hopefully the heros of The Braai also take care of the salads, pap, sauce for the pap, potato dish, braai broodjies and dessert. And of course, the marinade. Otherwise we’ll need another Women’s Day to recover from National Braai Day.

Hesta van der Westhuizen
Hesta van der Westhuizen CFP is a Certified Financial Planner at Consolidated Financial Planning and has a BCom-degree and Advanced Post Graduate diploma in Financial Planning Law. She is also Chairperson of the Financial Planning Institute’s Risk committee. For more information please visit: www.consolidated.co.za