Since its launch last month, the Liberty Blue Table Sessions (BTS) have featured our renowned panelists and financial experts unpacking the value of women in our economy and giving our viewers practical advice on the best ways to preserve their financial freedom. The first season of the YouTube conversational series is hosted by veteran broadcast personality and financial journalist, Gugulethu Mfuphi, as she engages with influencers, thought leaders, entrepreneurs and Liberty’s own experts on topics that reflect the realities of women in South Africa. From financial planning to the new challenges and absurdities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the BTS talks are providing valuable insights we hope will help women realise their full potential.
It’s sad but true: women need to save more
It’s been proven time and time again that women – on average – earn less than men, save less than men and live longer than men. For Liberty Financial Planner, Daphne Rampersad, women must empower themselves by being ahead of the curve as society catches up.
“The more people we get on board to understand the hard realities facing women, the better they can understand the situation, so we can start reducing the gender pay gap,” she says. “Women are already becoming key financial decision makers in households, with 41% of South African households headed by women. Through saving and investing, women can continue to grow their financial independence,” she says.
Money can change the dynamics in a family
Sindi Mondi, Liberty investment specialist, explains that in some cases, women hand over their financial responsibilities to their partners, effectively handing over their economic power. Money, she explains, doesn’t have to define us – and it certainly shouldn’t be used as a power tool in a family or love relationship.
“Take back your power, get involved in planning, financial matters, always be learning,” says Mondi. She believes we need to have those courageous conversations with our partners to express a need for financial independence.
Take a breather! Self-care is important
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone in different ways, though it’s often emotional and financial health that suffers in such times of volatility. Financial advisor, Mariette Tappan, has been telling all her clients first and foremost: breathe!
“In lockdown, people are doing too much, there’s anxiety surrounding everything we do. There’s a fear of not being able to provide for our families. Sometimes we feel that if we stop working, even for a minute, something bad will happen. We need to take a step back and see what you can address and what’s out of your control,” she says.
Stay positive, stay informed
The economic volatility surrounding the pandemic is intimidating, according to Liberty’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Dominique Stott, but we need to focus on some of the positives that have come with the lockdown.
“There’s been increased mindfulness, altruism and even generosity with people opening their hearts to others. There’s also been an opportunity for people to develop through digital learning,” she says. Getting this information can be as simple as having a conversation with a financial advisor or taking a course online to improve your general knowledge around your finances.
Education matters – and can unlock the ability to go your own way
Maxine Muller, financial advisor at the Family Counselling Centre, says she would never have ended up in her current position without her experiences throughout her education. “The assets I received through my education allowed me to do what I wanted with my life, to improve people’s lives,” says Muller.
Her studies also taught her about the importance of open communication, learning about her clients and their lives allowed her to “be real” with them. “They’re so much more open to engaging with you when they realise you’re not here to tell them I told you so, you have to show you’re in it with them,” she says.
Success means finding your biggest passion and protecting your biggest asset – YOU
As Liberty’s Head of Trade Marketing, Lisa Hovgaard has been able to use her passions to succeed. “If you’re busy pursuing what you love, the money always follows – even in a pandemic. The problem is, once the money starts coming, you have to make sure it works for you properly,” she says.
“When you do feel you have enough income to sustain yourself or your family, you need to remember to protect yourself. If you can’t work today or you’re retrenched, you’d be in dire trouble, as well as the people who depend on you,” she says.
Insuring your major assets, your home, your car is integral once you can afford it. “But most importantly, protect your biggest asset, which is you,” says Hovgaard.
To learn more, watch Season 1 of the Blue Table Sessions on the Liberty YouTube page: www.youtube.com/channel/UCC8emEYWYy-ux9rePUgsNxA