Making a living vs getting a life

Many hard-working, honest South Africans go to work every day, abide by the laws, follow expert financial advice and pay their taxes, and yet still struggle to survive each month, with little prospect of breaking out of the cycle or retiring comfortably after 40 years of dedicated service. Dr Koos du Toit, CEO of P3 Investment Group poses an alternative to simply eking out a living: getting a life.

Two months into the New Year and most of us have settled back into familiar routines and old habits, exciting New Year's resolutions and inspiring intentions forgotten in the never-ending struggle to make a living.

"Essentially, the difference between making a living and getting the life you want to live is about whether you are working for your money, or whether your money is working for you," says Dr Koos du Toit, CEO of P3 Investment Group. "Of course, we all have to ‘pay the bills', but becoming the master of your money matters, instead of remaining a slave to it, will allow you to spend more time doing the things you love, while your money works for you; instead of you spending your life working for money or ‘making a living'."

Four ways we become slaves to money
*    The debt-to-income ratio in South Africa stands at a whopping 80%, which means South Africans are spending 80% of their income each month simply repaying debt, making us slaves to our creditors.
*    If you are among the majority of South Africans who do not save money each month, you are setting yourself up to remain a slave to the credit providers in the future, should anything unexpected happen, such major repairs to your vehicle or a broken fridge.
*    Investing in asset classes that do not produce inflation-beating returns, which means the value of your capital invested is eroded, instead of increased, each year.  Similarly, investing in pension and retirement funds that the insurance companies themselves admit are hopelessly inadequate.
*    Tax Freedom Day - the day on which the average South African taxpayer has earned enough money to cover the year's tax bill – has fallen between 20 April and 2 May over the last 10 years, making you a slave to the taxman at least four months out of each year.

P3's smart strategies to become the master of your money matters, and to get a life instead of making a living!
1.    Take control! Set priorities regarding the things in life that are really important to you. Then make sure your spending habits, your credit behaviour and your time usage match the priorities you have identified.
2.    Cut down! Be ruthless in cutting down your expenses and your credit accounts. Spend only according to the priorities you have identified and slash your debt burden by paying off your existing debt as fast as possible.
3.    Save! One of the best ways to save is to pay any extra money you have into your home loan. If you have an access bond, you retain access to any extra funds you've paid in, but in your home loan, this money is working for you – not by earning a little bit of interest, but by reducing the interest payable over the life of the home loan by thousands of rands over time.
4.    Invest in assets that produce inflation-beating returns. There is no better investment than residential buy-to-let property, which offers low risk, yet high return. In addition to your very limited amount of capital appreciating in value each year, a buy-to-let property will also provide an inflation-linked passive income for life.
5.    Maximise your tax benefits by getting expert advice. Tax payers who own residential buy-to-let property enjoy exceptional tax benefits.

"You don't have to spend your life making a living – simply surviving from month to month with no real hope of breaking out of the cycle of slavery to money and with no prospect of a comfortable retirement one day. Two months of this year has already passed – will you allow another year to pass without throwing off the shackles of slavery to money?" asks du Toit. "Take control of your financial future, become the master of your money matters and your time and, essentially, get a life! The P3 Investment Group has helped hundreds of ordinary South Africans to do just this – it can be done, and you can do it, too! The first step is to remember your exciting New Year's resolutions and inspiring intentions, and then to take action to make them a reality.

CEO: P3 Investment Group

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