Donald Kau, head of corporate affairs at Santam, learnt about the importance of saving for a rainy day when he was still a child. Growing up in a poor background where people had little ability to save, he watched as people in his community lost homes because they didn’t have savings.
He was profoundly affected by these early experiences. “I learnt an important lesson about investing money and making it work for you. My first savings experience was through participation in a stokvel when I was still young,” he explains.
“Get started, start young and start small,” he adds.
It’s a lesson young entrepreneurs would do well to heed, in their personal as well as their professional lives. “I recognise how easy it is to rather buy a new car or the latest model phone,” says Kau, “but putting money away, whether it’s for yourself or your business, will give you options down the line.
“Nothing beats watching a good return on an investment you got into early. Even better is seeing that return while you are young enough to enjoy the options it gives you. That for me is true wealth and it does not have to happen at the age of pension. At a time when people can live longer, investment and saving is no longer about retirement age but about buying time and having means in between a change of one career for another, for example,” he says.
Invest early, start small, while you’re still young.