Follow the Absa money makeover challenge


Follow six ordinary South Africans as they take up the City Press/ Absa Money Makeover Challenge and undergo a six-month money makeover boot camp.

Each candidate has been allocated their own Absa financial adviser who’ll assist them to organise their finances and reach their personal financial goals. The candidates will be required to complete certain financial tasks and to stick to their budgets to win incentive prizes or be selected as the final winner. Personal finance expert Maya Fisher-French (pictured) will share their stories with you to inspire you to start your own journey.

Contestant: Colen

Creating intergenerational wealth

So busy building your investments you’ve neglected the basics of estate planning? Colen is an area manager at a petrochemical company and is married with three children. He’s focused on building a real-estate portfolio made up of various properties including flat rentals. While Colen doesn’t have significant consumer debt, he’s stretched on his property debt. The property business can’t sustain itself without him relying on his personal budget. This is putting strain on his family commitments. 

Colen’s adviser: Jean-Pierre van der Merwe has been a financial adviser since 2015. He redflagged that Colen had no will or insurance to assist his family if something happens to him, and his property portfolio’s structure would leave a big tax bill. 

Contestant: Bellah

Turning a business into positive cash flow

Running a business but have no idea whether it’s making money, or can’t understand why there is never enough to meet your expenses? Bellah is a 45-year-old entrepreneur running her own construction company in Pretoria. Despite having a significant turnover last year, Bellah has no idea whether her business is making a profit. Although she receives large lump sum payments from projects, Bellah never seems to have enough money to meet her living expenses. As a result, she’s taken on significant debt.

Bellah’s adviser Stacey Coulson has a post-graduate diploma in financial planning. “The first priority for Bellah is to start paying herself a regular salary from her business every month so that her debit orders don’t bounce. Currently all her policies have lapsed.

Contestant: Mishack

Recovering when life happens

A debt crisis doesn’t just happen because you live the high life. Sometimes life happens when you’re not prepared for it Mishack works in government in a communications role. He’s happily married and father to a nine-year old son and two-year-old twins.

Over the past few years Mishack has been hit with a great deal of difficulty which has negatively impacted his finances. It started when he had to help his mother buy a home.

Mishack’s adviser “The main goal for Mishack is to reduce his expenses which will result in more funds available to settle debts and remain with a positive cash flow,” says Johan Frouws, who’s been a financial adviser for 12 years. 

Contestant: Nono

Using a side business to build a legacy

A great way to find that extra cash is to start a side gig and use it strategically Nono (33) works as a TV producer and recently got married. She has a teenage daughter who lives with her parents in KwaZulu- Natal. Nono has a side business selling her own body-care products. She loves her current job and has no intention of making her side business a full-time one, but she’d like to increase employment opportunities for others and leave the business as a legacy for her daughter.

Nono’s adviser Steve Williamson has been a financial adviser for 15 years. “Having worked with [winner] Samke in the last Money Makeover Challenge I realised that first I want to track progress and execution of our plan weekly.” 

Contestant: Peter

Leaving the safety of the corporate world

Have you had to tap into credit lines after leaving the security of a regular income? Peter is in his early 40s and left his well-paying corporate job to join a startup. The business didn’t take off and he had to call it quits, accepting a consulting job on an annual contract. Having given up the large corporate salary, the family relied on credit to meet expenses.

They have four children, three of whom still live at home.

Peter’s adviser Leighanne Decker is happy Peter and his wife, Helen, are working together. “The goals that’ve been set are to have his short-term debt resolved, have a budget he’s sticking to and have him save rather than overspend. 

Contestant: Catherien

Working together in marriage and money

Do you and your partner argue about money? Is one a spender and the other a saver? Catherien is in her late 40s and is married to “an amazing man” but they’re not on the same page when it comes to managing money. “I’m tired of being a nagging wife, but I know if we’re on the same page and start managing our money together, we’ll do well.” Her husband, Jan, earns an erratic income and doesn’t feel it’s possible to budget.

This puts a great deal of pressure on Catherien financially as she feels the responsibility to find the money to pay those extra bills. She’s started a side business selling aromatic oils which is providing some additional income.

Catherien’s adviser Riette Visser was a financial adviser on last year’s Money Makeover Challenge but admits Catherien’s situation will be difficult. “Our goal is to get her husband on board. The first step has been for the couple to put together a household budget.”

Follow the journey on social media #CPMoneyMakeover

Facebook : @CPMoneyMakeover,

Twitter: @CPMoneyMakeover and on Instagram: @city_press

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