How to carve out a financially stable future

The future is quite terrifying for many of us, since we have little idea what could happen tomorrow. All of a sudden, our life could change because of forces beyond our control. Though we often try to prepare for the worst case scenario, our ignorance – whether willful or not – can still blind us to possible radical changes. To help protect ourselves and our families, we must begin considering ways to create a financially stable future. This will help create a solid foundation which could help lessen any negative effects life throws at us.

Budget and save

The first thing anyone must do when tackling their financial stability is create a budget. This means having firm knowledge about how much we earn against how much we spend. Within this, we can begin creating categories of expenses: necessities, luxuries and so on. By having firm numbers, we can see if we’re spending too much on luxuries and not enough on savings.

Obviously we can’t save what we don’t have – but it could be that potential savings are being squandered on unnecessary items we can live without. We can buy cheaper food, avoid frequent social engagements, drive less and so on. Money Crashers’ budget guide notes that budgeting is key to all financial decisions.

“Once you have an established budget, you will want to keep it in check. The discipline and associated knowledge that you are making good long term and short term financial choices will … take you from living paycheck to paycheck to being able to see the long term results of your disciplined savings and financial planning.”

Learn about investments

The stock market is a tricky beast. It takes years to learn the various mechanisms, rules, players and actions involved. This is why people tend to give their money to brokers and others who work daily with such complicated systems. We should investigate what investments are best for us, depending on our budget and plans. It could be that the simplicity of, say, Sanlam unit trusts are better suited than investing in property.

Work hard, get raises

One of the most important aspects of living is earning enough to live. We have to be able to make enough that inflation doesn’t catch us. Inflation means, basically, the value of our money decreases in terms of purchasing goods and services. R50 today buys far less than R50 of ten years ago. This is why we need to focus on salary increases, since we want to stay ahead or keep up with inflation. The salary we got a few years ago might have been able to maintain our lifestyle, but today, if we have that same salary, we can do far less with it. This is not a sustainable way of living – not to mention this provides no opportunity to save and create retirement possibilities.  

What to look for in investments

One of the most important ways that we attempt to secure our finances, whether as individuals or business owners, is with proper investments. Knowing what makes for good investment then is crucial to everyone, in terms of financial decisions.  Let’s consider what a good investment looks like.

What is an investment?

Broadly speaking, investment refers to something that will ideally generate income, profit or will appreciate in the future. As Investopedia highlights: “In finance, an investment is a monetary asset purchased with the idea that the asset will provide income in the future or will be sold at a higher price for a profit.”

Examples of investments that most people know and use are stocks, businesses and real estate. Each of these can be invested in, ideally leading to an increase in an investment’s value – which means, should we wish to cash out or sell, we will have more at the end of the day.

Naturally, this means there will be better and worse qualities defining what constitutes good investments.

What makes for a good investment

The first thing to consider is what the total value is of the company versus the stock. This means knowing market capitalisation. The Economic Times defines it as: “The aggregate valuation of the company based on its current share price and the total number of outstanding stocks.” We should speak to financial experts so that we aren’t overpaying for a company’s stocks. Bad investments are often a result of paying too much for stock, for companies that are in fact worth less in terms of market capitalisation calculations.

Second, we should know about a company’s overall growth and per stock growth. As one investment expert noted:

“Most investors focus on a company’s share price. They should spend more time looking at a related question – how many shares the company has, and whether that number is growing or shrinking.”

This has an enormous impact in terms of the financial decisions we make, since it could mean we get swindled easier.

Third, we must remove emotions from business investment. No matter how much we might love a business, relate to its staff and so on, these shouldn’t be sufficient reasons for our investment. While feelings and emotions can drive a business toward profits, that’s no guarantee.

All of this is incredibly important when considering what constitutes best investments in South Africa and around the world.  

How to treat your employees better


If you want to engage with your employees and inspire them to greater productivity, you’ll need to change the rules at your workplace. Invest more in the growth of employees and simply treat them better–as they are highly valued assets who help achieve the vision of business. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. Here’s six ways on how to treat employees better.

Show them what it means to start a business

Expose them to tough choices and situations that they’ll need to experience to start their own business. Give them responsibility and ownership. Help them see the importance of delivering value to the people around them. Be a beacon that inspires them to follow. Eventually they may leave you, but they’ll look back and appreciate what you did for them.

Unite them

Managers like to say their employees are like family. Team metaphors are apt–individuals are brought together for a time to accomplish something and often feel they can achieve more as a team than alone. But don’t ask them to take one for the team. It has to be reciprocal.

Take it to extremes

We live in an era of extreme sports. Arrange it so that people can achieve more in their workplace than anywhere else. Suggest that they do extra programmes, like marketing, accounting or hr management courses, to further explore a burning interest and to improve their skills, help them thrive and get them promoted. Make sure to research the course content thoroughly so they can pursue their passion to its fullest potential.

Surprise them

Please them just like you would please a client. It doesn’t cost much to reward an employee who gets a job done. Give certificates, dinners, get a masseuse to come in every Friday, write employee’s personal notes about what you liked about their work, and so on.

Make them fearless

Ensure that employees are not distracted or paralysed by fear, notably about job security in a world of acquisitions and layoffs. Coach them to be bold and brave at all times and not to be afraid to raise their opinion about certain matters.

Help them thrive

If people are overworked, they won’t thrive – they’ll taper off eventually. Managers should ensure there is healthy food, standing desks for those interested, fresh air, flexibility to exercise during the day, and a sensible workload.


How to improve your office security

Offices can contain a wide range of valuable items – from computers, to legal documents, to cash. Many businesses are at risk from employee theft, criminal break-ins and intellectual property theft. As a business owner or professional office manager, what can you do to make sure your office workplace is as secure as it can be? Here are a few tips to secure your office premises.

Keep communication open

Always keep communication lines between you and employees open. Make sure employees can easily recognise if someone is out of place, and help them feel comfortable speaking up. Also, have communication options available in the event of an emergency. This may be a speaker system or handheld communication system for your management team.

ID employees

It’s best that employees in large companies wear identification cards or badges. This tells other employees that each person is supposed to be there. ID badges maintain professionalism and allows for better security.

Have an emergency plan

Having a plan in case of emergencies will help to ensure your office security, even after other measures may have failed. This will also help employees know what to do in the event of an intruder.

Use an access control system

This is one of the most effective office security tools. Access control systems control who has access to your building. Keypad and card reader systems only allow access to people who you’ve given access to. They have effective locking mechanisms, and you’ll be able to know exactly who has entered your building and when.

Make entrances visible

For added office security, make sure entrances are visible. When entrances are visible to other employees, your security personnel, or a secretary, people who enter without permission can be spotted and identified more easily.

Secure your premises

Although CCTV images are more often associated with solving crimes rather than preventing them, they remain a significant deterrent. CCTV, however, should only be seen as one aspect of the overall security system for your premises; thieves can always cover their faces or keep out of camera shot. It’s important to know exactly where to place the cameras and check that lighting is sufficient. It is also recommended to install a video wall controller. Thus, whenever a suspicious activity takes place, one can go back to see what took place.

Use effective lighting

With burglaries normally taking place at night, security lighting on the outside of your premises can be an effective deterrent. It’s likely to make burglars feel observed, and therefore vulnerable, as well as allowing occupiers to see anyone who is approaching the building and highlighting high-risk areas.


5 tips to keep your office secure

Offices can contain a wide range of valuable items – from computers, to legal documents, to cash. Having an effective security policy not only protects the contents of your building from theft, it can also reduce the cost of your insurance premium. Whilst every company is different, below are some general guidelines to follow to help make sure your building is secure.

Use a monitored alarm system

An alarm should be among the first things to think about installing to enhance security. An alarm is a significant deterrent to thieves and can transmit emergency signals via a mobile phone, landline or internet connection to a monitoring station, which dispatches police to the scene when needed. Some systems also have a two-way voice intercom, which will connect the chosen employee/business owner directly to the monitoring station, should the alarm go off. This ensures that even if an intruder gets into your premises, police will be alerted in the shortest possible time.

Install CCTV

Although CCTV images are more associated with solving crimes than preventing them, they remain a significant deterrent. CCTV, however, should only be seen as one aspect of the overall security system for your premises; thieves can always cover their faces or keep out of camera shot. It is important to know exactly where to place the cameras and check that lighting is sufficient. It’s suggested that you install a video wall controller to ensure that anything suspicious, is recorded.

Keep everything locked and organised

When you leave your office, even for a few minutes, be sure that you have your computer locked and your confidential papers stored safely. Always keep your office door closed, regardless of whether you’re in or out of your office. Before leaving for home, clean your desk, dispose of every confidential document properly by shredding it, make sure that all the windows are closed/locked, and lock desk drawers and file cabinets.

Label your office equipment

Use stickers or seals with your logo and inventory number to label all your office equipment. Take an inventory of all your equipment and put the list somewhere visible (on the office wall, for example) so you and your co-workers can easily check whether everything is in its place.

Ensure that unannounced guests cannot enter the premises

There are various types of electronic locks that can only be unlocked only with the appropriate card key or tag, and can easily be connected to an alarm system. Put a reception desk and receptionist in the lobby or hire security personnel to make sure that guests announce themselves appropriately and that no unwanted persons are able to move around your premises.