Julia: The South African Saver

I found a gem this week: Julia 🙂 She is a South African (can I get a happy dance please?!) who has been aggressively saving for the last 8 years so that she can reach financial independence as soon as possible. And what financial independence means to her is being able to CHOOSE to work IF she wants to (when/where/how etc.). We are totally on the same page.

Here is the link to the podcast – scroll down to the 7th July (it’s from about 35 minutes in to about 60 minutes). These are the things that stood out for me though:

  • Based on the long-term history of the South African stock market your investment DOUBLES every FIVE YEARS (due to the magic that is compound interest).
  • Over 8 years she has invested R2.3 million. But compound interest means that she now has over R4 million. Beautiful, beautiful compound interest. (Based on your investment doubling every 5 years, by the time Julia is 65 she will have R128 million if she never adds another cent to her investment).
  • “Early days set me up” (again because of the magic of compound interest). In other words, it is always better to save whatever you can NOW than to delay it until later.
  • “Procrastinating their way to poverty”. That hit me hard. Not what I want.
  • She invests using index funds. I clearly need to research what the hell those are…
  • She earns a shit-tonne of money. Which sucks because it makes it too easy to write off her message with “well I don’t earn that much so I will never be able to do what she is doing”. However, if you keep listening you will hear the point: she could have easily bought a fancy-smansy car (like most people with her income do) but instead she chose to invest/save. The rest of us plebs might be choosing between buying a coffee or investing/saving but the principle is still the same.
  • [After a certain baseline] income determines lifestyle (not savings percentage).
  • Very interesting for me (because of the complete lack of blogs/information about this in South Africa) was her savings percentage: one-third to tax; one-third to life and travel; one-third to savings/investments. Her investment rate has slowed since she had a baby and bought a house though.

I’m really excited to have found Julia. And I’m also really excited to have discovered The Money Show with Bruce Whitfield. I’m becoming such a financial nerd! 😉 Now to find out about those index funds….


Charlie Bucket looking into the sunset (Secunda, South Africa)



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