Mother’s Day is for thinking about me (and my money)

I know this is as good a day as any other for stock take about me, the writer says.

I know this is as good a day as any other for stock take about me, the writer says.

Published May 12, 2024


By Therèse Havenga

Being a mother and wife means that I hardly ever think of myself first.

I feel too guilty. I want my family to be well, and my daughter to have ample opportunities.

Even when I consider some of my dreams, I take into account that I would love my family to share those dreams with me, for instance, travelling. Nothing inspires me more than seeing novel places and gathering new experiences.

That said, I know this is as good a day as any other for stock take about me.

Are my retirement savings, and my husband’s, on track? And what am I putting away for my dreams?

On 26 February 2024 this year, IOL reported the following from the 10X Investments Retirement Reality Report 2023, based on the findings of the 2023 Brand Atlas Survey:

49% of women respondents said that they didn’t have a retirement plan (compared to 43% of men). Only 5% said they have a well-conceived retirement plan (compared to 11% of men). These are scary numbers.

They also reported that women save more than men (30% compared to 26%) but that men invest more (24% compared to 14% of women). I know people often use savings and investments interchangeably, but at Investo we refer to investments as making your money work for you in a long-term savings vehicle such as a retirement annuity.

While I am comparing men and women in terms of their money, I can also refer to the Momentum/Unisa Household Finance Insights Report 2023.

The analysis shows more males (17,5%) than females (12,9%) are financially literate. It explains more males than females are generally interested in numeracy fields, many women enter employment later and patriarchy is another cause of women being on the backfoot. That is also why men calculate better. But women are better at financial reasoning (57,9% of the literate).

For me, this means that women must use their better financial reasoning to their advantage.

We all feel the challenges of day-to-day living – higher taxes, petrol, electricity costs and inflation at supermarket level all add up to squeeze the budget.

Often people simply can’t cope without a second stream of income. This is especially so for single-mother households, but even happy families don’t always mean happy finances.

But today, in celebration of Mother’s Day, I want to make the case for putting aside something for our dreams.

I’m privileged that I’ve had the opportunity to study and that it could help me along in my career. But my career will end, and that’s why I’m thinking that I may want to attempt coaching one day.

I also love singing and would love to teach individuals or a choir, giving back some of the pleasure I have enjoyed.

These dreams may not cost a lot of money, but I want to budget for them. For all I know now, my dreams may also change. Maybe I can sing at an old-age home for free but setting up a small shop with antiques or similar pretty things will take some capital. I also want to “budget” for the time and effort it will take me to achieve my objectives.

Recently I read a meme (from Mindset Therapy) that says it takes discipline, routine, education, action and mentality to make dreams a reality.

I sometimes joke and compare the power of compound interest to patience – if I give my money enough time, it will start growing exponentially and help me along with my dreams.

I dream of a day when many women will have the confidence, courage and independence to chase their own dreams. When we can rid ourselves of the ties of stereotypes. Financial independence is after all just one of the building blocks of dreams.

Therese is available for any interview or profiing opportunity on this.

Therèse Havenga is Head of Business Transformation at Momentum Investo.