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20 Things All Teens Should Know… Adults Not Exempt.

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There are a number of things teens should do whilst studying and before starting out in their careers!

Call me a old, but how I grew up seems so different from what this millennial generation expects.  I made a lot of mistakes along the way, and I see this generation making their own…

 

So in response, here are my ’20 Things All Teens Should Know…’

1. Time is NOT a limitless commodity

I so rarely find young professionals that have a heightened sense of urgency to get to the next level.  In our 20s we think we have all the time in the world to A) figure it out and B) get what we want.  Time is the only treasure we start off with in abundance, and can never get back.  Make the most of the opportunities you have today, because there will be a time when you have no more of it.

2. You may talented, but talent is often over-rated….

 Congratulations, you may be the most capable, creative, knowledgeable & multi-tasking generation yet.  As my father says, “I’ll Give You a Sh-t Medal.”  Unrefined raw materials (no matter how valuable) are simply wasted potential.  There’s no prize for talent, just results.  Even the most seemingly gifted folks methodically and painfully worked their way to success.  (Tip: read “Talent is overrated”)

3. People are more productive in the morning…

During my first 2 years in business (while I was still in my 20’s) I prided myself on staying at the office until 3am on a regular basis.  I thought I got so much work done in those hours long after everyone else was gone.  But in retrospect I got more menial, task-based items done, not the more complicated strategic planning, phone calls or meetings that needed to happen during business hours.  Now I stress an ‘office-wide’ early start time, because I know, for the most part, we’re more productive as a team in those early hours of the day.

The best years of life are also among the most expensive. Choose with care.

4. Social Media is NOT a Career!

These job titles won’t exist in 5 years time. Social Media is simply a function of Marketing – it helps support Branding, Return on Investment (ROI) or both.  Social Media is a means to increase brand awareness, more users or more revenue.  It’s not an end in itself.  I’d strongly caution against pegging your career trajectory solely on a ‘Social Media’ job title.

5. Pick-up the phone!

pick up phone

Stop hiding behind your computer. Business gets done on the phone and in person.  It should be your first instinct, not last, to talk to a real person and source business opportunities.  And when the Internet goes down… stop looking so befuddled and ask to go home. Just pick up the phone and get selling or networking!

6. Be the first in and the last to leave

I give this advice to everyone starting a new job or still in the formative stages of their professional career.  You have more ground to make up than everyone else around you, and you do have something to prove. There’s only one sure-fire way to get ahead, and that’s to work harder than all of your peers.

7. Don’t wait to be told ‘what to do’…

You can’t have a sense of entitlement without a sense of responsibility.  You’ll never get ahead by waiting for someone to tell you what to do.  Saying “nobody asked me to do this” is a guaranteed recipe for failure.  Err on the side of doing too much, not too little.

8. Take responsibility for your mistakes

You should be making lots of mistakes early on in your career.  But you shouldn’t be defensive about errors in judgment or execution. Stop trying to justify your mess-ups, you’re only going to grow by embracing the lessons learned from your mistakes, and committing to learn from those experiences.

9. You should be getting your ‘butt’ kicked

Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada” would be the most valuable boss you could possibly have. Working for someone that demands excellence and pushes your limits every day will build the most solid foundation for your ongoing professional success.

10. A new job a year isn’t a good thing ­­

One-year stints don’t tell me that you’re so talented that you keep outgrowing your company.  It tells me that you don’t have the discipline to see your own learning curve through to completion.  It takes about 2-3 years to master any new critical skill, give yourself at least that much time before you jump ship.  Otherwise your resume reads as a series of red flags on why not to be hired.

11. People matter more than perks

It’s so trendy to pick the company that offers the most flexi-time, unlimited meals, company massages, game rooms and team outings.  Those should all matter, but not as much as the character of your founders and managers. Great leaders will mentor you and will be a loyal source of employment long after you’ve left. Make a conscious bet on the folks you’re going to work for and your commitment to them will pay off much more than those fluffy perks.

12. Map effort to your professional gain

You’re going to be asked to do things you don’t like to do.  Keep your eye on the prize.   Connect what you’re doing today, with where you want to be tomorrow.  That should be all the incentive you need.  If you can’t map your future success to your current responsibilities, then it’s time to find a new opportunity.

13. Speak UP, not OUT

If you have issues with management, culture or your role and responsibilities, SPEAK UP!  Don’t take those complaints and trash-talk the company or co-workers on lunch breaks and anonymous chat boards.  If you can effectively communicate what needs to be improved, you have the ability to shape your surroundings and professional destiny.

14. You have to build your technical chops

Adding “Proficient in Microsoft Office” at the bottom of your resume under Skills, is not going to cut it anymore.  I immediately give preference to candidates who are ninjas in: Photoshop, HTML/CSS, iOS, WordPress, Adwords, MySQL, Balsamiq, advanced Excel, Final Cut Pro – regardless of their job position.  If you plan to stay gainfully employed, you better complement that humanities degree with some applicable technical chops.

15. Both the ‘Size’ and ‘Quality’ of your ‘Network’ matter

business-networking

It’s who you know more than what you know, that gets you ahead in business.  Knowing a small group of folks very well, or a huge smattering of contacts superficially, just won’t cut it.  Meet and stay connected to lots of folks, and invest your time developing as many of those relationships as possible. TIP: Here is my Networking Advice – check out www.crunchtime.link 

16. You need at least 3 Professional Mentors

Get a financial mentor, get an accounting mentor and get a business mentor, with these three people in your back pocket, you can and will succeed.

The most guaranteed path to success is to emulate those who’ve achieved what you seek. You should always have at least 3 people you call mentors who are where you want to be.  Their free guidance and counselling will be the most priceless gift you can receive (TIP: “The Secret to Finding and Keeping Mentors”).

17. Select an Idol

You may not know what to do, but your professional idol does.  I often coach my employees to pick the businessperson they most admire, and act “as if.”  If you were (fill in the blank)… how would he or she carry themselves, make decisions, organise his/her day and accomplish goals? You’ve got to fake it until you make it, so it’s better to fake it as the most accomplished person you could imagine (Shout out to Tony Robbins for the tip!)

18. Read more books… fewer Tweets/Texts!

Your generation consumes information in headlines and 140 characters:

Creativity, thoughtfulness and thinking skills are freed when you’re forced to read a full book cover to cover.  All the keys to your future success. Lay in the past experience of others. Make sure to read a book a month (fiction or non-fiction) and your career will blossom.

19. Spend 25% less than you make!

(Set up your free MONEY101 Personal Budget… just register and get started!) https://www.money101.co.za/register

When your material needs meet or exceed your income, you’re sabotaging your ability to really make it big.  Don’t shackle yourself with golden handcuffs (a fancy car or an expensive apartment).  Be willing and able to take 20% less in the short term, if it could mean 200% more earning potential.  You’re nothing more than penny wise and pound-foolish if you pass up an amazing new career opportunity to keep an extra little bit of income. No matter how much money you make, spend 25% less to support your life. It’s a guaranteed formula to be less stressed and to always have the flexibility to pursue your dreams.

20. Your ‘Reputation’ is priceless, don’t damage it!

Over time, your reputation is the most valuable currency you have in business.  It’s the invisible key that either opens or closes doors of professional opportunity.  Especially in an age where everything is forever recorded and accessible, your reputation has to be guarded like the most sacred treasure.  It’s the one item that, once lost, you can never get back.

 

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Financial Emigration – What it is and does it apply to me?

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Simply put, financial emigration is the amendment of your status with the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) from “Resident” to “Non-resident”.

This status effects on how the exchange control regulations are applied to you but does not affect your citizenship. Until you formally financially emigrate you are still considered to be a “Resident”. This has resulted in many people, having left South Africa for other countries many years ago, still being considered as a Resident by the SARB because they have not completed the formal process of financially emigrating.

There has been much consternation since an amendment to the Income Tax Act was proposed in 2017 regarding the exemption of foreign income for calculating income tax. As this amendment
came into effect on 1 March 2020 the interest surrounding this amendment has increased fairly dramatically in the run up to the change.

At issue is the application of Section 10 (1)(o)(ii) of the Income Tax Act and the determination of where the taxpayer is considered to be resident – on 1 January 2001 South Africa changed the basis of its tax system from sourced to residence based.

Current Position

Section 10 (1)(o)(ii) provides that a South African tax resident’s employment income that relates to services physically rendered outside of South Africa is exempt from tax, providing that individual is rendering services for or on behalf of their employer outside South Africa:

  • For a period exceeding 183 full calendar days, in aggregate, during any 12-month period (commencing or ending during a year of assessment) and
  •  In the same 12-month period, must be outside South Africa for a continuous period exceeding 60 full calendar days.

Where the above situation applies to an individual, all remuneration earned in relation to the foreign employment will be exempt.

This situation applies to many “ex-pat” South Africans who are currently working abroad.

The original intention of this exemption was to avoid double taxation on this income. SARS; however, has stated that while this was the intention, it was not meant to provide a mechanism
through which South Africans could avoid paying tax i.e. where work is performed in countries that have zero or low tax rates.

To prevent this SARS has amended Section 10 (1)(o)(ii).

Future Application

The initial amendment was to limit the amount of exempt income to R1 million but in the budget speech on 26 February 2020 this amount was increased to R1.25 million.

When determining this foreign income, the taxpayer must include the value all benefits received as part of their foreign employment such as accommodation, flights back to South Africa or elsewhere,school fees etc. In this scenario it is conceivable that the foreign income could fairly easily exceed the R1.25 million threshold.

Any amounts in excess the R1.25 million threshold would be subject to income tax in South Africa.

Options

Affected South Africans may still avoid having to pay South African income tax if

  • There is a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) in the foreign country where they employed to provide services which applies or
  • They can claim a foreign tax credit in respect of taxes paid in the foreign country on their foreign sourced income now subject to income tax in South Africa (this may not help South
    Africans in no or low tax jurisdictions such as Dubai).

Financial Emigration

While applying a DTA may be an option, the application of the DTA only applies for a particular tax year. This then requires the taxpayer to make a separate application every year – a potentially costly and time-consuming exercise.

The process of financial emigration, whilst more onerous, is a longer-term solution. If required, this status may be reversed at a future time but there are implications if this is this is done with 5 years of the SARB approving the emigration.

While Financial Emigration is an option for individuals who do not intend to return to South Africa, there are costs involved with the process. It is recommended that you speak to a Tax Practitioner regarding the implications of financial emigration to establish if this is the preferred option for you.

Written by: Derek Pettitt, Tax Practitioner and Registered Financial Planner

Get in touch with Derek by filling out the below form:


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Saving for your child’s education

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A parent wants to ensure the best future for their child. One of the best ways to give your child a head start in life is to help them get quality education.

A lot of South Africans. However, are not saving up for their child’s education. This is mainly due to the challenging economic situation in our country and living expenses. The cost of education rises faster than inflation unfortunately. If education seems expensive now, in the future, it will be even harder to cover all the costs.

If you have or are going to have a child soon, here are a few tips for saving for your child’s education:

1. Start Now

Start saving for your child’s education as soon as possible- if you can, before your child is born. The sooner you start saving, the faster your money will grow and the less you must save monthly.

2. Consider taking ownership of the investment

While it may seem like a good idea to invest money in your child’s name, you may want to keep it in your own name. If the money is in their name, once your child turns 18, they can spend the money however they want- and they may not have their priorities set on education at that stage of their life.

3. Do your homework when it comes to fees

Although private education in South Africa is excellent, the cost to send your child to a prestigious school can be crippling. Decide early on what type of school you’re going to send your child so that you can save accordingly. Remember a goal without a plan is just a wish.

4. Find the best method to pay for fees

Some schools offer a discount if fees are paid upfront for the year instead of monthly or quarterly. This may be a good offer to take up if the discount is a significant amount. On the other hand, you may want to consider whether you should rather invest the money and pay the school fees in monthly instalments. Often, debt is the deciding factor for parents. If you must take out short-term debt, such as credit card and retail card debt, it may cost you more than the rebates offered by the school. There is no such thing as good debt though.

In conclusion start now and have a set plan. Our kids are our future leaders and you want the best for their future.

Written by: Andre Becker, Ubuntu Capital Momentum Financial Planner

Get in touch with Andre by filling out the below form:

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How can a Financial Planner help me?

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When you are sick you go to a doctor right? When your plumbing acts up you call a plumber right? Who would you call then if you need help with your Finances? A financial planner, right?

And here’s why:

Do you need the services of a financial planner?

How do you know if you could benefit from the services of a financial planner?

You may not have the expertise, the time or the desire to actively plan and manage certain financial aspects of your life. You may want help getting started. You may benefit from an objective, third-party perspective on what are often emotional and difficult decisions. And in today’s hectic world, it can be beneficial just to have a financial expert looking over your shoulder to double-check your planning efforts and make sure you stay focused and follow through with your financial plans.

Like most people, you have hopes and dreams and life goals for yourself and your family. These might include buying a home or business…planning for life’s unforeseen events…estate planning…saving for an education for your children…taking a dream vacation…reducing taxes…retiring comfortably. Financial planning is the process of wisely managing your finances so that you can achieve
your dreams and goals, while at the same time helping you negotiate the financial barriers that inevitably arise in every stage of life.

I again ask the question; do you need a financial planner?

A Financial planner can help you do the following:

  • Set realistic financial and personal goals (to become financially and personally organised)
  • Set up a valid executable Will, living Will and medical power of attorney
  • Assess your current financial health by examining your assets, liabilities, income, insurance, investments and estate plan
  • Develop a realistic, comprehensive plan to meet your financial goals by addressing financial weaknesses and building on financial strengths
  • Plan for life’s unforeseen events and be ready should they occur (Life cover, Funeral cover etc)
  • Put your plan into action and monitor its progress
  • Help you stay on track so you can meet your financial goals
  • Saving enough for retirement, or rolling over a pension or just saving for a specific goal
  • Handling the inheritance of a large sum of money (easy come easy go). Unless its managed properly
  • Preparing for a marriage or divorce
  • Planning for the birth or adoption of a child
  • Facing a financial crisis such as a serious illness (Critical illness and Disability cover)
  • Caring for aging parents or a disabled child
  • Coping financially with the death of a spouse or close family member
  • Funding education
  • Buying, selling or passing on a family business
  • Protecting a key person valuable to your business

In essence making sure should life unexpected events occur that you are READY to take them head on.

Written by: Andre Becker, Ubuntu Capital Momentum Financial Planner

Get in touch with Andre by filling out the below form:


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