Financial Security and a Journey to Freedom for all South Africans
We believe that we, and you, and every South African, have the right to be mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically and financially free. We believe in nurturing connection with ourselves, each other, our community and a higher power. We believe in contributing something of value that will change the lives of other South African’s and, as a result, the world in some way. We believe in the responsible use of our gifts and talents in service of what we believe and being aware of our response-ability towards others.
It is these values that drive us and anchor us in our vision to help more South Africans achieve financial security, financial independence and ultimately financial freedom.
We have a plan for how we can do this. We’ve been working on it for our whole lives, and we’ve summarized our journey below including what we believe the next steps forward to be.
Use the Table of Contents to navigate to the specific section you’re interested in reading, or start from the top and enjoy the journey along the way.
Finally, are you with us? Will you help us? We believe in the power of collaboration and co-creation and we’d like to partner with you so we can do more, be more and serve more.
Table of Contents
Our Journey to Help South African’s to Financial Freedom
Eight years ago
I started my first job in financial services as a Paraplanner. It was exciting as I was moving from an industry known for enticing people into unhealthy behaviours with money (online gambling) to a space where I was hoping to be able to help people do the opposite and save and invest money towards their financial freedom.
I had firsthand experiences to draw on as a client of financial services, both positive and negative. My Life’s story is about the pain of not planning for a family’s financial future. I am the daughter of a single mother who lost her husband unexpectedly to cancer and found herself in debt and struggling for most of her life to make ends meet. My personal financial planning experiences were a mix of frustration and contentment as I took control of my finances from an early age, determined to avoid making the same mistake my parents did by not having a plan and taking care of their financial wellbeing.
Within a few months of doing calculations and honing my technical product skill, I was promoted to a role that involved sitting in front of clients and helping them directly with their financial needs. However, what I discovered was that most of these people did not need or could not afford a financial product as they were still trying to figure out how to manage their money on a day-to-day basis. They had not mastered healthy financial habits.
I also discovered the conflict of interest that lies in how financial services professionals are paid in the industry – a conflict that exists because time and expertise is not paid for, only the sale of an investment or insurance product. This meant that I would spend time with clients helping them with budgeting and thinking about their money, but that there was no money to be earned from that time because they weren’t ready for a product yet.
One of my most heartwarming success stories was about a man in his early 30’s who had purchased a car on overdraft. He found himself overwhelmed and frustrated about living in the negative- his bank account bouncing up and down with every salary payment and expense paid following. Together we mapped out a plan for how to reduce his overdraft by paying it back and getting him to zero. Following that we were able to get him investing and within a few years he had enough capital saved to put a deposit down on a property.
This was important work. This was meaningful work. This was unpaid work. But this work was work that changed lives. I knew I needed to find a different approach. I decided learning how to coach would be the way to do it.
Five years ago
After completing a Leadership & Coach Training Programme I found myself with a vision of how coaching, financial planning and advice could be aligned as complementary services that would provide a holistic way to help people with their money. A combination of all three services would mean that a client could build a solid foundation and get better at managing their money first, before they were ready to purchase a financial product.
As a result of “you can’t unsee what you’ve already seen”, the itch to make this vision a reality resulted in me starting to plan how to exit the place of my employment and start My Journey 2 Freedom. It took about 9 months from when I first registered the Pty (Ltd) until I received my FSCA authorisation to operate and had negotiated my transition.
Three years ago
The first three years were years of constant experimentation. Along my journey I have been fortunate to have been mentored by some of the most experienced and visionary in the South African financial services industry. I was given hard-to-hear yet important advice about the value I was offering and my commitment to a business model (fee-only with little to no commission) that made growth hard and slow.
By the end of three years I had formulated and tested a client experience that brought great results. Clients were enjoying the combination and balance of a coaching experience with financial planning and advice. I was using psychometric personality assessments and various questionnaires and we were tackling the real tough stuff, and having fun along the journey together.
I knew I had found the right formula. However a new problem emerged – how to make a bigger impact.
Traditionally financial services professionals only serve a small minority of people; those that have already built up a sizeable amount of investable assets. I wasn’t chasing these clients as my focus was on helping those who were still establishing themselves and their income streams and therefore still building up stores of wealth.
The cost of my services was rising as I needed to balance the value I was offering with the amount of time and energy I had in a day to serve people and the running costs of a professional business.
How could I reach more people and reduce the cost of my services to make them more accessible?
Two years ago
The question of how to scale was one that motivated me to look at one of the successful ways of engaging with people en masse in the learning and development as well as coaching worlds – group coaching!
I had already experimented with offering smaller group coaching experiences and they were well received. What if I could scale my Coached Financial Planning process into something I could take a group of people through? Almost like DIY Financial Planning?
The result was an onsite group programme for employees that I ran over a period of seven months. Interventions included 6 Group Workshops of 6 hours each with Individual Coaching and Financial Planning Sessions on offer too. Interventions were held at two-week intervals.
The results were incredible. Now, not only were the participants learning through their engagement with me, they also benefitted from engaging with a second facilitator (a Coach who co-facilitated the group workshops and coached half of the participants) as well as from the collective workshop space where they could share their stories and learn from each other too.
And then covid-19 arrived and we went into our first hard lockdown.
One year ago
By the time the world was thrown into chaos by covid-19 and forced lockdowns, I was already working online using platforms like Skype and Zoom and quite comfortable to do so too. However, what became evident was the need to repurpose the group onsite experience to a hybrid online experience.
Along my journey I shared what I was exploring and experimenting with anyone and everyone who would listen. I’ve forged some important relationships as a result where we’ve connected around a shared passion to make financial coaching, planning and advice more accessible to more people.
I also realised that one of the problems I was trying to solve – making the cost of my services more affordable was being met not only by the group experience, but also by looking to business to pay for the programme as an investment in their employees.
Research has since emerged to confirm that there are many benefits to investing in the financial wellbeing of one’s employees. These benefits include tangible financial benefits as well as less tangible ones including:
- Increased Business Bottom Line as happier, less stressed employees are more focused, engaged and productive as they spend less working time worried or focused on their personal financial concerns.
- Decreased Business Risk as financially well employees are less likely to commit fraud or steal.
- Better Employee Retention as employees who manage their money better are less likely to seek employment elsewhere as a way to increase their earnings.
- Less Wasted HR Hours as over time there should be less garnishee orders to manage as financially well employees manage their debt commitments better and pay off their debt faster.
- Easier Salary Negotiation Conversations for HR as when employees experience increased financial wellness and satisfaction they will be more realistic about their salary demands.
- Higher Employee Engagement as a result of employees being less stressed and anxious and able to focus in the here and now and not be distracted.
- Satisfied Employees who understand and appreciate the company benefits and total cost to company package that they have been given.
The past year has been a year of taking the learnings and successes of what has come before and turning them into new experiments, learnings and now successes too.
This year My Journey 2 Freedom has grown and multiplied our capacity to engage with and impact more people through not only merging with another visionary financial professional but also through investing in an online platform that allows us to offer a Membership Experience consisting of hybrid learning experience such as :
- Self-paced Courses
- Social Community
- Individual coaching and planning sessions
- Group MasterClasses
I am proud of what we have achieved – because although this has been an eight year solo journey to finding and living my purpose, it’s been a collective journey as I’ve partnered and ended partnerships and piloted and pivoted and collaborated and lived alongside others who have contributed their own gifts to my vision and brought us together to this point, today.
I can also now say “we” because My Journey 2 Freedom is now more than just me. There are two of us in the business and many more in our community of Change-Makers that we have the privilege of engaging with daily.
The Results we’ve Achieved
Whilst I can talk about how proud I am of the impact I know we’ve made, hearing it from the mouths of those that have been on a journey with us will tell you so much more.
Following you will find testimonials from individuals and couples who have worked with us by going on the My Journey 2 Freedom Experience journey of Coached Lifestyle Financial Planning & Advice. I have also included testimonials from the two corporates we have worked with – the one onsite as well as the one most recently through our new hybrid online programme.
Individuals and Couples
Eighteen months later, I still don’t quite have the money thing all figured out, but as a creative entrepreneur just starting off on her own, I think that’s fine – especially with MJ there to tame my chaos."
In a year I went from scared and disempowered to courageously negotiating business deals from a place of self worth and values, not afraid to turn down offers that didn’t align with my new found will to thrive and not just survive.."
The My Journey 2 Freedom Financial Wellness Programme was run from October 2019 to March 2020. Some of the most meaningful results included :
- 95% of participants had created and stuck to a budget by coaching session 2 (month two).
- 90% of participants felt less or no stress in January 2020 compared to previous years as they had planned and stuck to their budget over the festive season, leaving them with enough money to make it until January’s pay day (month four).
The biggest gain I got from the My Journey 2 Freedom Programme was...
The Finances on Fire Challenge was run from May to December 2021. Some of the most meaningful results included :
- 80% of participants had saved more in the seven months of the challenge than they would have if they had not been part of the challenge.
- 100% of the participants did not create any new debts during the challenge.
- 80% of the participants paid off debt during the seven months of the challenge.
I feel more confident about my ability to...
The biggest change to my financial circumstances since starting the FoF Challenge is...
“I now understand how amazingly sexy finances can be. I want a sexy bank statement. I want to know what my money looks like every month. This journey feels like I'm hugging myself. The biggest thing about this programme is that it's guilt-free."
How you can help : Are you in?
We’re confident about the programme we’ve created and excited to roll it out to more forward-thinking businesses who believe that taking care of their employees mental wellbeing through empowering their financial well-being is part of their change-making mission.
Are you working in one of those businesses? Are you one of those employers?
We want to partner with you!
If you’re even slightly curious, please book time with us to explore below. We look forward to connecting with you and exploring how we can help and empower more South African’s to financial security, independence and freedom together.
BOOK TIME WITH US TO
Schedule a quick 40mins Connection Call with us to explore your corporate needs. We look forward to walking the journey towards financial freedom with you and your employees.