The one-on-one financial planning sessions have been a hit at previous editions of Leaderex. These unique, and free, offerings are again hosted by the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa (FPI) in 2017 and enable delegates to spend time talking with Certified Financial Planners® about anything from retirement planning, to savings tips, investment strategies to developing sound financial habits.
David Kop, Head: Public Policy and Consumer Affairs at the FPI, believes these sessions are a vital ingredient in educating South Africans about financial affairs. “Knowledge without action will get you nowhere,” says Kop. “So once someone has attended a financial education session they ask, what next? The pro bono consultation with a financial planner will allow them to explore some of the themes that they learned during the Leaderex workshops and how to apply this to their own situation and develop a personalised road map to their financial freedom.”
There will be much to build on from the Leaderex masterclasses, spearheaded by lead sponsor the JSE. According to Mpho Ledwaba, Head of Marketing at the JSE, the stock exchange is fully committed to education around investing, saving and getting financially fit. “A number of savings and investment studies tell us that South Africa has the lowest culture of savings and investing,” he admits. This is attributable to little disposable income and even less knowledge about how to save using formal channels.
Stokvels continue to be popular schemes for many South Africans, but the JSE would like to see more people benefiting from the growth potential of the stock exchange. As a result, the JSE spends a lot of its time and effort teaching South Africans about investing. This requires speaking to people in a language they can understand and facilitating self-education via learner modules hosted on the JSE website. “We also deliver these modules with videos and information you can download, depending on how you learn,” says Ledwaba. “We simplify the terms to give people confidence, they’ll learn what the All Share Index is and what a share is and how it impacts them and possibly their pension fund,” he explains.
Leaderex’s Savings & Investment sessions on 5 September 2017 at the Sandton Convention Centre feature a number of JSE-lead discussions including: Building a Legacy
, by Zeona Jacobs; Sustainable Investment
, with Corli le Roux; Forex 101
with Elaine Masiletsa; and even information about the JSE’s Investment Challenge
game for youngsters and adults alike. The Investment Challenge “enables you to test your skills. Using phoney money you can build your portfolio,” explains Ledwaba. “It helps to build confidence.”
Young South Africans are a particular focus of the JSE and Ledwaba believes Leaderex is the ideal platform to speak to youngsters who are interested in their careers, and personal development. “We want to give people as much information as possible. For example, youngsters now go around saying they want to trade forex, so we’ll be giving information about what is available on the exchange, how much money it requires and what you need to know,” he says.
The sessions also highlight new buzzwords and products, like exchange traded funds
(ETFs). So, the closing session of the day falls to Nerina Visser, an independent ETF advisor, and Ledwaba believes this is one discussion not to miss. “We’ll be looking at ETFs and how they work for passive investors, who don’t want to be checking the graphs every day. That’s very cost effective and we will highlight what is available. It’s a great opportunity.”
While the JSE aims to make information accessible, the FPI experts will provide a hands-on approach for those looking for personal insights.
What can you expect when you sit down with an advisor at Leaderex? Well, says FPI’s Kop, any discussion must begin with the basics of budgeting and an understanding of debt. “One should not consider investments if one is over indebted. Once the basic pillars have been addressed one can start looking at savings,” he says, noting that South Africans are under enormous pressure with high debt levels and increasing costs.
Given that much of our financial behaviour is learnt from our parents and families, Kop believes financial education is essential to empower new generations of South Africans and help to overcome any mistrust of the financial services sector. “Our first interaction with money comes from our parents,” he says. “It is vitally important to have conversations with children from an early age about money and the management thereof so that they can form good habits from the start. Parents must also look at how they work with money and how that may affect their children’s perception of money. The discussion within a family should not just be about the money, but about experiences and feelings regarding financial matters.”
If you haven’t been lucky enough to enjoy this sort of education at the knee of your parents, FPI experts can talk to you about developing a financial plan. “Come and talk about your worries, concerns or that dream that you have, and find out where to start to make them a reality,” says Kop. “Financial planning needs to be holistic and focused on individual goals. As far as the one-on-one financial planning sessions go, the delegate should feel free to discuss any goal(s) that they may have, from a holiday to saving for that special event to retirement.”