Cape Town - A friend once told me about a co-worker who was given share options in the company they worked for. The company grew quickly and within five years the strike date for the options had come and gone. The co-worker did not even remember that he had owned the share options, nor realised that he had lost over R15m by not purchasing the shares on the strike date. You’d think he would have at least put a reminder on his phone. I’m sure he didn’t sleep very well for a few months.
This might be an extreme situation, but it highlights a very important part of financial education that is not taught in formal institutions and that most people lack as a result - a general sense of personal financial awareness. People are willing to work hard and long hours to earn money, but spend no time protecting it or understanding how best to use it.
I am not surprised anymore by friends who tell me that they've never looked at their payslip or checked their bank statement; that they don't know how much tax they pay each year; or who ask whether they should pay off their house before their car (they shouldn't).