Many people believe that money makes the world go round. Actually, gravity and physics take care of the spinning, but if you think about it, on some level every single human activity is linked to making and spending  money. This is not necessarily because all people are greedy or because advertising is brain-washing the consumer, but simply because money is the key to satisfying our basic needs for survival and to fulfilling our desires. The truth is we all could do with a million or two and if you really want to you can become a millionaire. Perdeby will tell you how.

Today there are more South Africans from humble backgrounds becoming very wealthy than ever before. Rose Matthews* is one of them and she offered Perdeby some advice that could perhaps set an aspiring Tukkie on the road to riches. Born into an Afrikaans, middle-class suburban household, Rose was not exactly born with the proverbial silver spoon i her mouth. She went to public schools and even dropped out of UP before completing her teaching degree. Today, Matthews is one of the wealthiest and most successful women in the country. She has a range of small businesses such as a blueberry farm and a security firm.

This super-mom, entrepreneur and business guru made her first million when she turned 40. Matthews explaine: “When we started the business we had no cash flow to brag about. Customers paid by the seventh, if we were lucky, but our employees’ salaries were due by the 25th. We used to borrow money against the access bonds on our houses from the 24th to the seventh in order to pay salaries. We only paid ourselves every other month when we had the capital.” According to Matthews, her current net worth “is millions more than it was 20 years ago.”

Her advice about money is the kind of mantra written on the bathroom mirrors of the people on the Forbes Billionaires List. The golden rules mentioned include: “Save a portion of your income every month. See it as an expense, like rent” and “It is good if you can grow a capital base that is more than triple your monthly expenses.”

Tips on what to do with money once you have it can be handy, but for those of you yet to master alchemy or still who are figuring out how to make it big, Matthews recommended, “Don’t try and copy what others have done, try and find the stuff that is not being done, that actually irritates you, [for example] look for a need.”

Apparently, building and maintaining great wealth is not reserved exclusively for the brilliant, beautiful or lucky. If you are so broke you can hardly afford to pay attention, it may be worth considering that the majority of South Africans over 16 years earn less than R30 000 annually.  According to Unisa’s report on the level and distribution of income inSouth Africa, approximately 522 000 South Africans were earning R500 000 or more per annum in 2010. This comparatively small group, a mere 1,6% of our population, acquired almost a third of the nation’s total income for the year.

Four South Africans, including South Africa’s first black billionaire, Patrice Motsepe, featured amongst the world’s wealthiest on the Forbes Rich List 2011, which boasted a record breaking number of new billionaires, their staggering combined net worth totalling around R32,39 trillion. 

Motsepe was born inSowetoand has built an empire currently worth around R3,3 billion.

If so many South Africans from humble backgrounds, like Rose Matthews and Patrice Motsepe can make it big, really big, by learning, planning and persevering, it might just be possible that you or anyone else can make millions ? even if you can only afford two-minute noodles for dinner.

*Name has been changed

Photo: Brad Donald


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