Why Is Professor Driving A Bakkie?

I met Professor Lindi* in Pretoria where she and I were guest speakers at a women’s event. I didn’t know she was a professor at the time (if I knew, I would have been a bit shy) and when the music started, I went to her and got her up to dance. It was a beautiful, happy event. She bought a copy of From Debt To Riches and within weeks we started with consultations as she needed a fresh pair of eyes to look at her finances as she prepares to slow down for retirement.

Prof is one of the wealthiest people I have come to know. But when you meet her, you wouldn’t guess. There is nothing about her that would give this away –not even the car she drives. During one of our consultations, I asked her “Prof, you have so much money and yet you are so simple“. She then told me her story, it goes as follows; Earlier in her career Prof spent a few years working and studying in Ukraine. She was amazed at seeing just how simple the lifestyles of the professors and other academics were. At first it came as a shock to her but over time, she actually began to appreciate the simplicity of their lifestyles and decided that she was going to keep her lifestyle simple.

It is this simple lifestyle that has seen her living in a beautiful home with her family, owning two more investment properties in the best locations which are all paid up. She also has ample money in several investment accounts. Such is the beauty of simplicity.

I hope that if you are a professional or some other high income person reading this, you too would decide to adopt a simple lifestyle because the sad truth is that many high income professionals are heavily indebted and they do not save / invest their money. In the end, they have very little to show for their high incomes, except too much debt and stress that goes with it.

For fun, Prof would drive a bakkie to university. When the lecture finishes, she would ask two students to help her take her stuff to the car. She loves seeing the shock in their eyes when they see the bakkie. Some would even ask her if she is okay? This is her way of starting a conversation with her medical students about money and that being a doctor doesn’t mean you have to have a fancy car and lead an extravagant lifestyle. She warns them about the perils of too much debt.

I wish that we had more professionals /professors / lecturers / etc. speaking to the young professionals about money. Those who are earning a lot of money are sometimes so over indebted that they are constantly stressing about money. Some professionals are in debt from the 1st salary and they cannot afford to retire.

Some of us grew up in poorer environments and we never imagined we would have so much money and when we have it, we then just spend all of it and we have little to no savings and investments. If you are reading this and you are in a position to invite us to address your young professionals, contact us. The onus is upon us to change the narrative for the sake of our future generations. ThuthukaSA has had the pleasure of conducting workshops for young professionals and others in companies that employ young graduates. Such workshops are necessary and they do make an impact in how people spend, save and invest their money. Good money management is necessary for all of us, regardless of our income levels.

*Lindi is not her real name.

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