William is a young, fun-loving guy. When he came to see me, he was 29 years old, with a decent job in IT that earned him R20 000 a month. He was single, but helped his ex-girlfriend with school fees and medical aid for their eight-year-old daughter. He is a very clever guy, but was not being very clever with his money.
His biggest problem was that although the girls love him – and he loves the girls – he believed that the way to buy their affection was with money. He had a girlfriend who made many financial demands on him, and he had taken out a huge loan to meet them. He did everything he could to keep her, but when the funds from the loan ran out and he couldn’t afford another, she dumped him.
That was when he came to see me. He was depressed that he had failed in his life. He wanted my help in getting rid of the large loan that had funded the ex-girlfriend as quickly as possible. He was deeply resentful of having to pay it back every month now that they weren’t together anymore. He said he was willing to do anything I said he should because he was desperate to change his life for the better.
This is the budget that I drew up for him to help him work out where all his money was going, and what he had left over:
|Group life cover
|Water & electricity
|Funeral cover with family
|TOTAL MONTHLY SURPLUS
William was using the R1 500 that he had left over every month to go out partying on Saturday night with his friends. I suggested that to get out of debt as quickly as possible, he needed to be willing to reduce the amount of money he was spending on going out. He asked me how much he should spend instead, and I explained that it depended on how quickly he wanted to get out of debt. So he decided to increase his loan repayment by R1 000 each month, leaving only R500 for partying.
He then installed a prepaid electricity meter, which helped him to keep track of and reduce his power consumption by R450 a month – which meant that he had an extra R1 450 to pay back his loan.
I also suggested that if he really wanted to build a financially stable life, he should consider using the R250 he was spending on DSTV to build an emergency fund – since he didn’t really watch TV that often anyway. I pointed out that he was just “donating” money to Multichoice, so the DSTV went, and he started saving a financial nest egg.
It took him less than 20 months to pay back his R74 000 loan. He is now debt free and helping his parents to build extra rooms on their house to rent out to earn extra income.
For me, though, the most important guidance I was able to give to William was around his sense of his own self-worth, and how it was so important to have relationships with women who are interested in more than what he has to offer materially.
After his long journey to pay back his debt, he came back to me and told me something that blew my mind. This is what he said: “I have learnt that I am more than enough to love and be loved without having to feel the pressure of buying love.”
What a powerful revelation!
Winnie Kunene is a personal finance strategist. She educates people and helps them to get out of debt – and stay out! You can visit her website at winniekunene.co.za or email her on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of 1Life or its employees.