You still invest in South Africa? Hehehe, for what, hehehe?

Considering organised crime

Personally I’d recommend government, they never go to jail

This is not going to be a cheerful topic. We’re in a recession at the moment and there’s very little laughter around. The (no.) 1 person who is laughing isn’t helping cheer us up either. The mood in the country is miserable, David Shapiro from Sasfin Securities says the country is at the lowest level he’s ever seen. There are posts all over the forum complaining about how poor the JSE’s performance has been this year:

“This is a bad bad year…”

“Wow, ArcelorMittal @ R5 level and Lonmin @ R10 Level, Nice ANC nice …”

“It’s mind boggling. Almost as if there’s a committee somewhere who try come up with the most damaging own goals around.”

“Pretty damn sad that an inflation ETF is in the top 6 of the investor challenge. This must be the worst year so far for the challenge.”

“Zuma, Gigaba, PP Busisiwe Mkhwebane and Zwane are competing on who can destroy the SA markets the most. SA market up 1,9% since January while the emerging market index is up 17%”

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EXPOSED: #InvestorChallengeLeaks What Patrick spends in an average month

I do my own stuntsYes it’ll all be revealed soon, but first a story.

In 2009 I had a work trip to Rome. Happily I have a very good friend George who lives in Rome, and I usually stay with him when I’m there. He’s also a keen cyclist like myself, and has a few bikes we use to explore the ancient city using pedal power. I love it.

On this evening, I was due to meet a number of colleagues on their first trip to the city. As I’d been there quite a few times before I offered to show them around, and we agreed to meet that night at the Colosseum metro station. Yes, literally across the road from that great monument is a rather dingy underground station.

As George lived a couple of kilometers away, I decided to cycle in, but just before I could leave another good friend I hadn’t seen in a while arrived, so I had to stay a while and catch up. Eventually I left with only 5 minutes to do 3 kilometers. “Easy” I said while flexing my quadriceps, grabbing the bike and hitting the road.

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Your unit trust doesn’t cost you 1.7% a year it costs you R15 897 a month you fool!

Happy Easter, don't let the bad fish eat all your chocolate

Happy Easter, don’t let the bad fish eat all your chocolate

If you’re thinking that title sounds familiar you’d be right. Once upon a time I wrote an article based on real people called “Your car doesn’t cost you R5800 p/m it costs you a million dollars you fool“. One of those people was my wife, the other, someone I worked with. This didn’t have a good outcome. In the first case, even though I mentioned how both my wife and her Mini had rather sexy rear ends, she wasn’t happy at being used as an example, and promptly let me know that.

In the second case my use of pseudonyms for said colleague’s name was insufficient considering there was no use of a pseudocar in the blog post. The very next day after it was published I had an email in my inbox saying “Nice article” with a link to what I wrote. I felt anything but nice, especially due to the fact that the fast car loving colleague was a person I quite liked, and wasn’t actually remotely a fool, he was simply an Audi nut.

Thanks to that experience, I’ve learnt my lesson on using family and friends as examples. It’s not worth the risk of upsetting a friend or sleeping on the couch. That’s why this post isn’t about a family member. It’s almost certainly also not about a friend. Maybe. Let’s just say it’s about a fictional character named Art. And no Art isn’t short for Arthur, Bartholomew or Stuart. In fact he doesn’t even have a name, he’s completely made up. In the same way that criticism of the president is completely racist…

Now fictional Art is quite astute financially. He’s avoided the trap of buying a house far bigger than he needs. He’s actually even avoided the trap of buying a house, and rents instead. Art has also never bought a new car. In fact, he only recently replaced his completely worn out first car with another boring used Japanese sedan.

These things along with a number of other frugal habits passed on from his parents has resulted in Art being able to save quite a lot. Around R10000 a month lately. Thanks to that he’s recently crossed the R1 million milestone in his investment accounts at the relatively young age of 29 and a bit years, something he is rightly very proud of. What’s even more impressive is that Art achieved all that, while swimming upstream. Not just any stream, but a piranha infested one.

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How to achieve financial independance

Dear Investor Challenge

I love my job, it’s easily the best thing since the slow motion running scenes on Baywatch. I love the oPamela Anderson Runningffice politics and the free food I get during the endless hours of meetings discussing nothing in particular, and the hours spent behind my desk trying to find the balance between actual productivity and complete boredom.

I’m just scared that eventually I’ll have too much money and won’t need to go in to work every day. Once my wife sees that, she’ll definitely want me to retire, and that will mean I’ll go from being the big man at the office, to replacing her handbag yorkie taking instructions, all day long.

My days will then be spent getting dragged around Mr Price Home trying to decide which of the two identical shades of blue towels would best match our guest bathroom, and cleaning my perfectly disorganised garage so that it has space for the treadmill my wife has recently developed an allergy to.

All this while being called Schmoopie is already too much, but it will also almost certainly mean I won’t be able to get drunk at the annual Christmas party, and flirt with my inappropriately young secretary.

Is there any way I can avoid this disastrous chain of events from becoming a reality?

Schmoopie

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Death spirals in South Africa and what to do about them

Death SpiralsMy wife is very persuasive. Somehow she managed to overturn my one foreign holiday per year policy this year. Actually she’s done it two years in a row. Last year we had our fantastic bike trip through 5 European countries, and then a few months later we were off to Mozambique for her sisters wedding.

For the last two weeks we’ve been traveling through Chile and Argentina, and we’ve already booked our return flights to go to Portugal and Spain in September. Fortunately we don’t really throw much money away on other luxuries, otherwise we’d be totally broke. Plus, with my recent shock realisation that my imported dress collecting better half did in fact out-save me last year, I thought I’d better not argue.

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What is the average South African’s biggest expense?

Jeeves bring me my cat foodYes that’s the question folks. What does the average (middle class) South African spend the most money on?

Their house? No but it’s a good guess. Houses are expensive, but this expense can cost you more than your house.

Beer? Boerewors? Biltong? No it’s not one of the 3 B’s either.

The wife? Hopefully not…
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Can you make more money?

Mandela - Money won't create success the freedom to make it willSpeed up your time to financial independence by simply making more money, what a revolutionary idea!

No I’m not here to sell you on some crazy pyramid scheme, in fact I’m going to recommend you completely forget anything related to pyramid schemes or multi-level marketing (MLM) exists, because well researched evidence points to the fact that 99% of participants involved in MLMs lose money. Even if you don’t you’re almost certainly going to annoy your family, and alienate your friends, just don’t do it. Starting one can be very profitable though if you don’t mind the risk of jail time, like this smart lady who managed to convince thousands of people to buy a cheese making kit earning her €145 million…

No, none of that rubbish, just an honest way to earn a few extra Rand so that you have more to save and invest. But first I’ll start off with a statement. It’s far easier to save more than it is to make more. That’s why whenever someone asks how they can get their finances in order, I always recommend they look at the burn side of their budget rather than the earn. It’s something you have complete control over, and in most cases is filled with excess, waste and debt repayments. There’s bound to be some low hanging fruit, so most people can find money to save somewhere. My wife did that last year, and though I still can’t figure out how, she managed to out-save me without even trying. We figured this out weeks ago, and I still get almost daily reminders…

But sometimes trimming the budget isn’t enough to get ahead, and you just need to earn more.

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You bought a new car and 4 other signs that tell everyone you’re bad at maths

1) You’re bad at maths because you bought a new car

Quite a few of my friends read my blog. Some of them like Wendy* are even on board with the whole save enough to retire really young idea, but maths isn’t her forte as the following conversation should show:

Wendy: Can you believe Bill* just bought that big BMW*. So stupid, he makes less than I do. What do you think it cost?
Patrick: Well it was about 2 years old, so it’s probably worth around R300 000.Be like Bill, buy used cars.
Wendy: R300 000! I’d never spend that on a used car. I’d much rather get a new one for that price. What an idiot.
Patrick: Well the minute you drove out of the showroom in a new R300k car you’d lose R60 000. After one year of owning it your total loss would be around R90 000. After a year of owning his used car, Bill would only lose R30 000.

Conversations like that often have a lot of uncomfortable silence following them, especially when Ms want to be frugal bought a brand new (though much cheaper) Kia a few months back.

*Names and even cars have been changed. I’ve learnt my lesson on using even relatively similar examples before.

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How much to save each day to retire with R10 Million

Teaching for moneyDear Investor Challenge,

I’d like to be rich one day. Properly rich, not just the “If you have a roof over your head and food in the fridge you’re richer than most of the world” rich, but actually very wealthy. A millionaire just won’t cut it, I’m aiming for a huge stash of cash. R10 million should do quite nicely.

I’m in Matric at the moment, and I have a part time job waiting tables on weekends. I make a fortune there, at least a couple of hundred a shift…

Next year I’m starting a teaching degree. I know it doesn’t pay well, but it really is what I want to do. The reasonable hours and long holidays are also going to be a bonus too.

So what are my chances of getting to R10 million with the totally shameful teachers salary I’m expecting to earn one day?

Teach to be

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Our government really doesn’t want us to invest locally

Dear Investor Challenge,

We really need investment in South Africa. It’ll create jobs, stimulate the economy and drive innovation which could one day cure AIDS, Malaria and Cancer. It’ll even end the current scourge of crime we’re suffering so much under. But be warned, as fantastic as that sounds, if you do invest in South Africa I’m going to punish you.

Yes, I’m going to punish you, hard. And not in the 50 shades kind of way but really miserable pain. Exclusively to your rear pocket, where you carry your already heavily punished wallet. Of course I will still punish you for investing internationally, but it’ll be so much worse if you keep your money in SA.

But please, ignore the fact that keeping all your investments here is bad for your wealth, terrible diversification and completely ignores the efficient market hypothesis, just invest locally, it’s the right thing to do. Like paying your TV license so Hlaudi can get his next bonus or raise. Or both.

Thanks,

The South African Revenue Service.

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