For many years Lerato Chabedi gave little thought to money, for her it was just a means to buy the things she needed. She never had the desire to manage her finances by saving, investing or budgeting, until now.
“I come from a middle-class family, my mother made good money selling clothing and my father is a taxi owner. I had a comfortable upbringing and in my adult life, I just spent my money as I wished, she says. “Being a Values and Money facilitator at Heartlines has given me a different outlook on money, I’ve had to do my research and make mature decisions.”
Lerato joined the Values and Money team in March, and has been part of a five-week values and money series on SABC vernacular radio stations, in partnership with SABC education. She participated in the sessions in Setswana on Motsweding FM.
She believes the biggest challenge her listeners are struggling with is saving.
“People want to save but they find it difficult to. One of my listeners complained that when he started saving, there would be unexpected financial demands that would require him to dip into his savings and he would feel discouraged to continue.”
“It’s an issue that many are faced with when trying to save. People want to give up when life’s challenges set them back financially. I encourage people to save because it’s better to have a back-up plan when you’re faced with unforeseen circumstances.”
Some of the people she has engaged with on radio are struggling with long-term saving because they believe the money they earn is too little and they believe saving requires a lot of money.
“It’s important to drive the message across that you can save from the little that you have, which can make a big difference in the long-run,” she adds.
Lerato has an education in electrical infrastructure construction and is perusing a career as actress. She has been using social media to share tips on money management and says she wants to educate young women in the entertainment industry on how to manage their careers as a business.
“If you want a career in entertainment you have to understand how a contract works. Often young people will sign a contract with the excitement of getting a gig, but before you sign, it’s important to understand your contract,” she says.
“There is a lot of pressure for young people in the entertainment industry to be famous and portray a glamorous lifestyle on social media even if you’re broke. It’s this kind of peer pressure that can lead to debt and at times drug addiction. For young women, the pressure to portray a glamorous life can also make them fall victim to the ‘Blesser culture’ which means they date older, rich men to fund an expensive lifestyle,” she adds.
She also believes that young women who find themselves growing up in homes where there is financial instability, divorce or poor family relations, can affect their decision to rely on older men for money. She says there is a lack of financial education for impressionable young women who need to learn the value of hard work.
“It’s good to love having money and to spend what you have earned, as long as you know you worked hard for it,” she says. “Young women need to be encouraged to study, work hard and learn how to start a business so that they don’t have to depend on someone else’s money.
Having a ‘Blesser’, also known as a sugar daddy, is like having a full-time job, you have to be constantly available and it can affect many areas of your life. These young women are just beginning their adult journey, and are dating men who can be in their 60s who don’t care about their other responsibilities. Young women can find themselves in a position where they drop out of school, leave their jobs or even fall sick.”
Lerato says more than sharing money tips on social media, she also speaks to her cast and crew members about money, using her environment as an opportunity to share what she has learnt.
Of the five Heartlines money values, she believes in Responsibility in Spending.
“I never used to think about how I spent my money and now I also see the importance of saving. I’ve discovered that managing my finances has made my life simpler.”