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The Average Man Who Can: Bongani Maduna

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Straight out of Transkei I was propelled into the model C schooling system first in Johannesburg and later Durban. With little or no time to adjust from rural to urban life I had to compete in an environment where other kids knew what a bank was, what saving was and what earning money meant.

My early years in this new environment were spent trying to make sure I never failed my grades so as to not jeopardise my mother’s employment as her boss at the time was my sponsor.

When I was 16 years old my mother opened my first bank account. It was up to me to distinguish the difference between interest and bank charges on my bank statement. It was these bank charges that made me realise that a savings account was not going to get me far in the competition of learning how to make your money work while you are a student.

It wasn’t until my then mother’s boss’s husband turned guard-father, introduced me to shares. That’s when I saw the power of learning about making your money work for you while it sits in the hands of the banks or investment brokers.

Initially, I had no clue what shares were but from the little I had read after speaking to my guard-father. I knew that a good dividend yield was far better than interest earned on a savings account. So armed with little or no knowledge about the stock market, I plunged myself into stock market research: I wanted to know what made the markets move.

My first real investment came in 2008 when I sold my first car for R23 000.00. I was given the option to put this money in a bank account. I rejected this option vehemently, because 23 months’ worth of bank charges and monthly expenses would have eroded the money to nothing. I therefore opened my first investment portfolio with no clue as to what shares I was going to buy, but I knew then I had taken the first step to wealth creation. Come success or failure I had begun the journey of a maverick.

My parents did not believe in spoon feeding which led to many unnecessary transactions and losses in my early days of investing. It was after all those losses that I realised I’m a passive trader. This meant that I need to find blue chips and go long. So long as the companies’ business models make financial sense in the now and the ever tech-filled future.

If there’s anything I’ve learned over my journey, it’s to “Begin with the End in mind” (Covey, 1989).

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