Money Heroes - Episode 2

Money Heroes

Money Heroes is a 13-part series that explores various topics that influence our short- and long-term financial decisions. From credit and retirement to investments and holidays, we've got you covered with sound advice from industry leaders in South Africa that will accelerate your journey to success.

In the second episode of this series, experts shared insights on the reality of unemployment in South Africa. How do you stay motivated when you don't have a steady income and how do you even prepare for unemployment?

Get all your answers below.

Unemployment is a reality

Jeanette Marais, deputy CEO of Momentum Metropolitan, says that the harsh reality in South Africa is that the unemployment rate is more than 29%.

"The chances are that 1 in every 3 people might face being unemployed at some point in their lives or in their careers."
Jeanette Marais, Deputy CEO of Momentum Metropolitan

One of the first things you should do when you've lost your job is to talk to your family. Jeanette recommends that getting your whole family on the same page is one of the best things you can do in order to prepare everyone for the lifestyle changes that goes alongside unemployment.

How to prepare for unemployment

If you work in a country or an industry where you can predict a downscale, plan ahead. Preparing your resume and looking out for extra job opportunities is some of the ways that Jeanette suggests you can be as prepared as possible for unexpected events like retrenchments.

Fortunately, there are financial products that can help you prepare for unemployment. Momentum, for example, has a home loan protector that can cover your home loan payment for up to 12 months. There are even products in the market that will replace your income for a certain amount of time.

Three principles from Theo Vorster

From a personal finance point of view, Theo Vorster, CEO of Galileo Capital Holdings, has three principles that he believes is essential when you're faced with unemployment.

"In a weak economy, like ours, where there's no growth, unemployment will be part and parcel of our daily lives," Vorster says. "If you're in a company or an industry that's under pressure your risk is higher. Plan for it!"

Here are Theo's three principles.

How Yashmita Bhana bounced back

The reality of unemployment might hit at the most unexpected times and come as a complete shock. For one South African businesswoman, this was exactly the case.

In 2007, Yashmita Bhana had a company with an ex-partner. She went on maternity leave while all was still well but when she returned, she found that millions were missing from their coffers. She left the company as a director and was faced with the sudden reality of not even having enough money to buy nappies for her new born.

"You can always train a person in certain skills but you can't train a person's attitude."
Yashmita Bhana, CEO of Nikha Technology Group

But Yashmita, a natural entrepreneur, didn't take unemployment lying down. She felt that she could make a difference by not only creating a job for herself, but also for others. Shortly after her setback, Yashmita started Nihka Technology Group, a digital technology company that specialises in business analytics, data analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics. Today, the company has 50 employees and partners with Huawei, Dell and Microsoft among others.

"The strongest thing that has gotten me through the past 11 years is a sense of belief," Yashmita shares. "A belief that anything is possible and a belief that you can get out of the gutter."

The possibilities of flexible work

While unemployment is a shock for some, it's part of a plan for others. Many mothers, for example, choose to raise their children and often just wish they could work on a more flexible schedule. Similarly, many students want to work but know their studies need to take priority for a few years.

It's for these reasons that Phillipa Geard started RecruitMyMom.co.za and RecruitAGraduate.co.za. Both online recruitment agencies aim to assist people to find jobs that suit the season that they're in - whether that's in first year or with a first born. These sites are free, easy to use and connects job seekers with relevant employees by hosting resumes online.

"I think generationally we're seeing a shift in the perception of women at work," Phillipa says. She adds that technology is facilitating more flexible possibilities for women to continue their careers while raising a family.

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