It was his upbringing in rural Limpopo that inspired Arnold Ravhutulu to become financially savvy. He says growing up in a poor home made him persevere to pursue his dreams and taught him financial discipline.
“When I started working I wanted to better my life, my family and future. I have been wise with my finances and often set goals,” he says. “I am dedicated and hard-working. I think if I had had a comfortable upbringing I wouldn’t have persevered to be where I am today.
After leaving Limpopo, Arnold got his first job as a security guard earning a salary of R408 per month. Despite the low salary, he saved to pursue his dream of furthering his education.
“At the time, the working conditions in the security industry were bad. I would work long hours from 6am to 6pm and only get three days leave per month,” he says. “I told myself that it is not a permanent situation and I would have a better life. I worked for nine years and saved to further my studies.”
His dream was to become a teacher, however, he received freelance work at the SABC and fell in love with broadcasting.
“The job changed everything. I fell in love with the media industry and changed my goals. I decided to do media studies and journalism at Rosebank College.”
He went on to find a permanent job at Soul City where he received funding to obtain a certificate in Communications from Wits University, and later study Corporate Communication and then Social Behavioural Change.
Today, in addition to being a sports commentator on Phalaphala FM, he works as a values and money facilitator at Heartlines. He has been part of a five-week values and money series on SABC vernacular radio stations, in partnership with SABC education and participated in the sessions in Xitsonga on Monghana Lonene FM.
“When people call in, often they complain that the money they earn is too little, making it difficult to save, but I believe it’s about having a change in attitude and behaviour,” he says.
“Statistics have shown that people who earn a lot of money struggle with debt, and those who have little can manage their income, no matter how small. If you have R100 you can achieve a lot of things, as opposed to someone who has a lot of money and spends it unwisely. Some people say they will start saving when they earn more money, however, when they start earning more money, they’re not satisfied and delay even further.”
Arnold says there are enough educational platforms teaching South Africans how to manage their money, but they are not being taken advantage of.
“I believe black South Africans are afraid of change. They do not see the bigger picture and fail to set big goals. At times they are comfortable in their difficult circumstances and accept that life is that way. One can sit in the same job for many years, even if one is not happy with the salary. It’s important to take risks, change jobs, set new goals and try something different.”
Arnold believes there are many ways in which people can overcome their difficult financial circumstances and improve their livelihoods.
“There are so many options today to get money, you can use your creativity or share your skills. Today, South Africa has a high unemployment rate of young graduates. Young people shouldn’t dream of finding a job, but rather start their own businesses. Young people cannot sit at home with a degree and expect government to hand opportunities to them. It all comes down to having a different attitude.”
Arnold believes in the Heartlines money value of Responsibility in Spending.
“You need to be responsible in order to achieve your goals. To adopt the other values such as wisdom in borrowing, generosity in giving, self-control in saving and honesty in earning, you need to responsible with your finances,” he says.
All the Heartlines money values are important, they talk to each other and they are like steps that you take to get from the bottom to the top of the ladder. If you miss a step on the ladder you won’t make it successfully to the top.”