Your Relationship With Money

Sunél Veldtman

Sunél Veldtman is the visionary behind Foundation Family Wealth. She has a 21-year history in finance and has advised and consulted to some of the wealthiest families in South Africa. Sunél is passionate about inspiring people to utilise their resources to bring balance and happiness into their lives.
Sunél holds an Honours Degree in Economics, is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a Certified Financial Planner .She is a Member of the Institute of Stockbrokers and the Financial Planning Institute.
Sunél is the author of Manage Your Money, Live Your Dream, a financial guide for women.
She has the unique ability to make complicated financial matters straightforward and applicable.

What is it with women and money?

I was in my thirties, had a baby girl at home and desperately wanted to spend more time with her. I felt trapped in my job but could not make the changes that I wanted to make because I had no control over my finances. Even though I held three post-graduate financial qualifications, had over a decade experience of working in insurance, stockbroking and investments; and had advised some of the wealthiest families on their investments, I still somehow had managed to convince myself that I could not read a bank statement.

How had I gotten myself into that position?

I had all the theoretical knowledge but could not put it into practise for myself. You might be wondering at this point – if a financial guru cannot get this right, how can I? However, I am proof that it is not only about financial knowledge as much as it is about our relationship with money.

What is it with our relationship with money?

I grew up in a very traditional home. My dad was the breadwinner and took care of all the financial matters. My mom ran the home and took care of us. I was looking for a partner to take care of me in the same way. I never realised that my husband’s home background was very different to mine (and very unusual for that time). We both had a picture of being taken care of, but in his home, it was his mum that took care of all the financial matters.

I still find that many women have this picture – a sort of ‘Cinderella’ idyll. You want to feel safe and secure – taken care of. You want someone else to take the responsibility for the hard stuff. You want the prince on the horse to make it all happen.

You may think that we have come a long way; that women now take care of themselves. However, I find that even professional women and self-made entrepreneurs have little appetite for taking care of their personal finances. In so many cases, they still outsource it to their spouses or financial advisors. I see them in my office regularly, the self-made millionaire shifting all their financial matters across the table to make it all happen and be taken care of by someone else.

Why is it that women just do not relate to their money, talking about money or learning about the world of money?

We do not discuss the stock market at braais. We do not, in general, have a natural curiosity about financial matters. I blame the financial industry for talking to women in ways that simply do not connect with them. Putting pink branding on products designed primarily for men, and then marketing them to women, also does not help. However, we cannot completely shift the blame.

It is time our attitudes to our personal finances match our attitudes towards our careers and the rest of our lives. Just as we need to learn about our bodies, we need to learn about and take control of our money.

It is not easy, even for me, even now, to sit down and familiarise myself with my personal finances. It is the last thing I feel like when I have worked hard and taken care of my family. However, it is the first step to being responsible for my own finances, and not relying on others to manage my money and my future.

Are you ready to take the first step too?

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