Throw R3,9 million my way and I’m not going to complain, but if past experiences teach us anything, it’s that South Africans aren’t good with their money.
Over the weekend, a show called I Blew It premiered on DStv, focusing on South Africans who have “come into money by chance, an inheritance or payout”.
One of those ways would be winning the Lotto, although that cash can often burn a hole in the pocket. Over to Times LIVE:
A Brits tyre-maker [using the fake name ‘Thabo’ and pictured below] who played the Lotto religiously spent R500 over two years, hoping his luck would change.
One Saturday in 2008 he hit the jackpot, netting R1.8m. And then it took him just four years to run through the money.
His priority when he won was to build his mother a house, which cost him almost R800,000. He bought himself new clothes, a cellphone and four vehicles – a second-hand Toyota Corolla for R40,000, a bakkie, a minibus and a Golf GTI.
Today, all that remains is the home he built for his mom.
He totalled two cars in accidents and, unable to afford the maintenance on the minibus and the Golf GTI, sold them.
It’s a good thing that his mom still has that house, because that’s where the unemployed father of four now lives, relying on handouts from family and friends to survive. He doesn’t play the Lotto any longer, and has sage words of advice for those who do:
“I learnt that I should’ve listened to the financial advisers and invested the money. I invested some of the money but then withdrew it after a year. With more money comes a nice life. I enjoyed it but now it’s hard. Life is harder now because I know what it’s like to have that kind of money,” he said.
Talk to a financial adviser, we cry out from the rooftops. Given that Seth has bought us tickets for Friday’s MegaMillions draw, with a paltry $548 million pot (reduced to $309 million if you take the payout), it’s advice we will all bear in mind.
Next up on the show was Nonhlanhla:
…a car accident changed her life. She went from a R3,000 monthly salary to splurging on designer sneakers and becoming the local micro lender thanks to a payout from the Road Accident Fund (RAF).
A car accident in 2013 left her with severe back pain, constant headaches and injuries to both hands. Four years after her accident, she received a R1m payout from the fund and the first thing she did was quit her job, believing she could live off her payout.
You have to be pretty shrewd to live off a million bucks, as she soon found out:
“You think it’s not going to finish. It took me eight months and then I realised I suddenly didn’t have as much money left,” the single mother said.
She spent R60,000 renovating her grandmother’s house, took her relatives on weekly shopping sprees, bought a used minibus for about R150,000, and splurged on sports bags, clothes and sneakers.
She also became the neighbourhood lender, loaning close to R10,000 – money she says she is still owed to this day.
“Everyone was calling me about their problems and wanted to borrow money, it wasn’t long before I had what we call ghost money, you have it but you don’t know what happens to it.
Not sure she can blame that R10 000 as the real culprit – that amounts to 1% of her windfall.
There was further excessive, unwise expenditure:
…blinded by love, she said, she splurged on her beau – who she later broke up with – buying R4,000 rims for his car and pimping the sound system for R10,000.
At least she still has R200 000 in her bank account, and her family use the minibus she bought to run a transport business.
There’s a third sob story, which we will skip over, and get to the bit about what qualifies as life-changing:
Winning anything less than R4m is “small change”, said [financial adviser Philip] Malan, because that amount is not enough to sustain anyone.
“It’s OK to buy a decent house or a decent car, but my advice is never stop working. Your biggest asset is the ability to generate an income,” Malan said.
I’ve done the maths, and I reckon I just could about make R4 million work if I lived in a backpackers on the KZN south coast for the rest of my life and had no dependents.
Think I’ll wait and see if Friday’s MegaMillions win comes in before I make any rash decisions.
By the way, I Blew It is on Mzansi Wethu (channel 161) every Saturday at 7:30PM.
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