The mother of all finance lessons

In advance of Mother’s Day (Sunday May 10), we asked the 10X Tribe to shares some financial tips and tricks they had learnt from their Mums. Looking at the results, it is no wonder that all these mother’s sons and daughters have ended up at 10X Investments – they certainly know what good value is.

Sarel du Plessis sums up the view of so many of you when he says: “My mother was the best financial adviser I have had, and the advice was free and coupled with love!”

Sarel’s mum was also representative of many of our contributors in that she led by example, particularly living the saying “Waste not, want not.”

Sarel, who grew up in a household of six children, says: “To say the family was cash strapped would be a significant understatement.” 

He still puts the lessons his mum taught him to work in his investment decisions today. “She is still guiding my prudent approach to money.”

Spencer’s mother used a different turn of phrase to impart the same message: “Look after your pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.”

Nonkululeko, who was raised by a strong, single woman, is another whose mum’s words guide her today.

Her mother, who “built the house alone”, taught her children that money should be respected, they should not spend carelessly and save what they could.

Leonora Ferreira’s Mum expressed tis lesson as “One should never ‘eat up’ all your money … meaning simply spending it because it’s there.”

Leonora’s pocket money started at 10 cents per week (5 cents for sweets and 5 cents to be saved for end of year holiday treats). She got a raise to 15 cents a week when she started school, with the extra 5 cents for pencils etc. 

She still hates spending on non-fun consumables, she says.
Vincent applies his Mum’s guidance very specifically as an adult: “Live off interest, don’t pay interest.”

Among the many mothers who discouraged debt, Sharon’s mum told her: “If you don’t have it, it’s not yours and you shouldn’t spend it.”

On the positive side, though, she told Sharon that if she waited until she had saved enough to buy it, it would be “a double joy, achievement and satisfaction, so much nicer”.

Another idea she taught Sharon, which seems very pertinent today, is that “money must move to make everyone happy, so if you have extra disposable income, spend it and share the joy”. 

You can imagine Leverch’s Mum having a wry little smile on her face when she said: “Never spend more than you have. There is no point acting like a big shot in a small town.”

A few people wrote and said their mums had taught them that “goedkoop is duurkoop” (cheap is expensive), one of those great Afrikaans sayings that doesn’t work as well in English. Among 10X clients the lesson came through in these two submissions: Thabo, who says: “My mother always taught me that quality can cost more but is usually worth it in the long run”, and Stephen Celliers, whose mum suggested he ask himself when faced with what looked like a great bargain: “What does that item really cost you in time, money, repairs, replacement etc”.

Another area where 10X mothers loom large is teaching their offspring to budget. 

Christie van Wyk remembers grocery shopping with her mum once a month, which “required a lot of planning, preparation and bargain hunting”. 

“After we did our shopping, my mom and I would sit together at the dining table to cut up and portion all the veggies we had bought, and then we would pop them into the freezer. All the change that we had left at the end of each shop would go into a jar. Every couple of months, I would count the money, put it in bank bags, and we would go exchange it for notes to buy ourselves something nice.”

Pelisa Zungu is another one whose mother imparted the lesson that one should set a budget and stick to it, but also that a well-planned budget includes treats.

“She used a small notebook detailing her monthly expenses and did not ever spend out of budget. She was a nurse and took care of her family as well as extended family because she had the best financial discipline. The best thing about her budget is that it actually took into account treats and unexpected spend!”

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