Amelda’s Story: Changing Financial Perceptions

financial education

By Amelda Woest

When I got married quite a few years ago, I had no idea of the many financial choices that lay ahead of me. I was financially uneducated, uninformed and blissfully unaware of what was to come.

I came from a middle-class family where both my parents worked full-time to support the household. We always had just-enough to make ends meet and our holidays were spent working in my father’s business to help out. My parents only spent what they made each month, and they lived a humble life while raising us.

Poor Financial Choices

When I was introduced to Genistar, I had no idea what the company did or what services they offered. I attended because my husband had heard about the founder, Jeffrey Lestz, and really wanted to hear his story. Prior to this, I hadn’t realised that I was a textbook example of a middle-class person without any financial education, who tries to work hard, tries to save, and borrows the rest. I felt that even though I earned a good wage, it was always gone so quickly.

At the Genistar meeting, I came to understand that I was making very poor financial choices! I learnt that I was stuck in a system of debt and borrowing that was designed to keep me there. At this point, I personally had two credit cards – I thought you NEEDED to have a credit card in order to prove that you could work with credit. We used our credit cards to pay for family holidays, without one holiday ever being fully paid off before we went on another.

A Step in the Right Direction

My husband and I decided that we would implement one of the strategies that we learnt from Genistar: to get out of debt by focusing on certain debts ahead of others (debt stacking). This allowed us, over time, to push more money into the bigger debts and settle them earlier than planned, and to save more money. In addition, we started to use a budget and make amendments to our financial choices. We started living within our means.

It took us a while to implement the changes we wanted to make in our personal finances. And to be honest, we still don’t get it right all the time.

I now know there are very important building blocks you need to prepare yourself as a player in the intricate workings of the financial industry. I have learnt that the right knowledge, even acquired at a later stage, is crucial to ensure you set yourself on a different path to live debt-free and not be stuck in the debt system of this world.

Passing on the Knowledge

Now, as I raise my children, I am focusing on giving them the knowledge they need to understand the role that money plays in our lives. Robert T. Kiyosaki, best-selling author of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad, said, ‘Preparing a child for the world of tomorrow is one of the most important roles a parent plays in a child’s life.’

My advice to others is to educate yourself and your family on the real meaning of money. Talk honestly about your past financial experiences and successes, and pass on the lessons that you have learnt. Financial responsibility is a process that is learnt over time and shown through example.

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