The moment it all changed

By Drum Digital
31 August 2015

Be prepared to catch life’s curve balls

‘My mom never had a proper financial plan, so when she lost her job I became her Plan B, her lifeline’

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She’d been working at her dream job for just four months and was looking forward to the travels she’d embark on, the car and house she could finally save towards, the fun she’d have with her friends . . . Then, a single conversation one afternoon changed it all for Ayanda Siswana (24).

“It was after work one day in 2013 when my mother sat me down and broke the news of her retrenchment. She’d no longer be bringing in money and I now had to share my salary with her. I had to take care of both of us. I suddenly looked at my job and at my salary with new eyes,” she recalls.

“I went from feeling as if I had all the time in the world, to realising that life had thrown me a curveball and I’d have to re-evaluate my plans and priorities.

“My salary was all we had, so I had to do something to protect my ability to earn.”

Many people can relate to Ayanda’s story and the stark reminder of how much we should value our ability to earn an income. If the unforeseen happened to Ayanda she needed to know both she and her mother, Nomsa (59), would be financially secure and protected.

“The moment it all sunk in for me was when I had to buy groceries for the household with my first paycheque while watching my friends enjoy their money.

“Although I never viewed this as a burden, I’d also never imagined that at the age of just 22 I’d be responsible for my own and for my mother’s wellbeing. I was suddenly buying my mother things like airtime, cosmetics and bus tickets to visit family. It was a real eye-opener.”

Ayanda’s five key financial lessons

  1.  Appreciate your ability to earn money

There’s so much value in being well and healthy and able to earn an income. It’s one of your main assets and you should protect it in case something like disability comes your way.

  1. Start to save early

The trick to successful saving isn’t how much you can save, but how soon you begin. Initiate short- and long-term savings plans as soon as you start working.

  1. Expect the unexpected

Open a short-term emergency fund which you can dip into on rainy days.

  1. Value your health

Money can’t buy health, but poor health can cost you dearly. Think about the financial implications of an unhealthy lifestyle – and make responsible decisions.

  1. Keep a balance

Prioritise your finances, but don’t neglect to reward yourself too. Life should be lived and enjoyed.

For Ayanda’s full story, go to

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