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Watch: Sam Beckbessinger discusses Manage Your Money Like a F*cking Grownup on the Anne Hirsch Show

We never get an instruction manual about how money works. We never have to pass a test to get our Money License before we can take a new credit card for a drive. Most of what we learn about money comes from advertising or from other people who know as little as we do.

No wonder we make such basic mistakes. No wonder we feel disempowered and scared. No wonder so many of us just decide to stick our heads in the damn sand and just never deal with it.

I wrote this book, because so many of the people I spoke to told me that they wished someone would.

In this clear and engaging basic guide to managing your finances, Sam Beckbessinger covers topics from compound interest and inflation to “Your brain on money”, negotiating a raise, and particularly local South African phenomena like “black tax”.

The book includes exercises and “how-to’s”, doesn’t shy away from the psychology of money, and is empowering, humorous and helpful. The book you wish you’d had at 25, but is never too late to read.

Sam Beckbessinger is a writer, user-experience designer and entrepreneur who is on a quest to help the emerging middle class understand how to take charge of their finances. She is the cofounder of Phantom Design, a company that has helped to build bitcoin wallets, cryptocurrency exchanges, smart credit cards and more. She also lectures extensively on online culture, marketing and behavioural economics. Sam holds a BA Honours Degree from the University of Cape Town, studied Strategy Design at the Gordon Institute of Business Science and was a 2014 Mandela Washington Fellow at Yale University.

Here Sam discusses her informative (and fun!) book with Anne Hirsch:

Manage Your Money Like a F*cking Grownup

Book details

2018 HSS Awards winners announced

Via the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences

The third Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Awards: Book, Creative Collection and Digital Contribution 2018, hosted by the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS), were held at the iconic John Kani, Market Theatre on 15 March 2018.

The awards laud the preeminent creative contributions of academics, curators and artists based at participating South African universities, who are working to advance HSS. The call for submissions opened in October 2017 and covered works completed between January and December 2016. Submissions comprised 39 non-fiction books, nine fiction books, 10 creative collections and seven digital contributions, and represented 23 publishers. Over 30 esteemed academics were selected as judges and reviewers.

The 2018 Winners…


 
Best Non-Fiction Book: Edited Volume
 
Sol Plaatje’s Native Life in South Africa: Past and Present
Brian Willan, Janet Remmington and Bhekisizwe Peterson (Wits University Press)

“This collection of essays focuses on Sol Plaatje’s native land through a multimodal approach thereby allowing readers from multiple disciplines to access and find relevant pieces of the puzzle. This is done in manner which gives the original text a contemporary feel thereby touching on very critical current themes such as identity, discrimination, media censorship, and gender just to mention a few. The essays are well presented and present a balanced critique of the original text. The book comprises of photographs, maps, copies of old newspapers, poems in different languages. This is innovation at its best. This collection couldn’t have come at the right time and touching on issues of student protests, decolonisation of the curriculum, the radical economic transformation, to mention a few.” – Judging panel comment
 
Best Non-Fiction Book: Edited Volume

Hanging on a Wire
Rick Rohde and Siona O’Connell (Fourthwall Books)

“The visual language of the photographs presented in this book is a powerful account of what it means to be young, rural and poor in South Africa. The photographs cover a range of social interactions from weddings, 21st birthday parties to funerals. But, more importantly the photographer captures people as they wish to be captured by the camera – irreverent, jubilant, mourning and wrapped up in the insignia of popular and global cultures.” – Judging panel comment
 
 
 
 

Best Non-Fiction Monograph

My Own Liberator
Dikgang Moseneke (Pan Macmillan South Africa)

“Dikgang Moseneke’s book contributes to the diversification of the history of South Africa’s complex liberation struggle. His memoirs go a great deal in filling a critical gap by telling the story of the PAC particularly on the question of negotiations. His memoir advances a new angle on existing knowledge.” – Judging panel comment
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Best Fiction Book: Single Authored

Tjieng Tjang Tjerries & other stories
Jolyn Phillips (Modjaji Books)

“The book’s quality and style of writing is of high standard. Its content is South African. Tjieng Tjang Tjerries & other stories is a long-awaited body of knowledge about the lives of the very ordinary, the poor and marginalised. It is a strikingly original work of narrative fiction based on the mimetics of life. The texture of the writing is finely laced and covers a wide range of emotional modalities from the tragic to comical.” – Judging panel comment
 
 
 
 
 
 

Book details

In Die pasiënt as vennoot skei die bekende dr. Dawie van Velden die kaf van die koring en gee praktiese raad om holistiese welsyn te bereik

Daar is soveel teenstrydige inligting beskikbaar oor watter dieet om te volg, hoeveel oefening om te doen, hoeveel water om te drink, watter medisyne om te neem, ensovoorts.

In Die pasiënt as vennoot skei die bekende dr. Dawie van Velden die kaf van die koring en gee praktiese raad om holistiese welsyn te bereik: wanneer die liggaam, siel en gees optimaal gesond is. In hierdie boek wys dr. Dawie hoe die pasiënt medeverantwoordelik is vir sy of haar eie gesondheid.

Dr. Dawie van Velden praktiseer in Pietersburg en Sabie waarna hy aansluit by die UOVS as Direkteur van die Studentegesondheidsdiens. In 1984 word hy aangestel as senior lektor aan die Universiteit van Stellenbosch waar hy die Departement Huisartskunde vestig tot en met sy aftrede in 2003. Hy ontwikkel ’n belangstelling in sportgeneeskunde en holistiese gesondheidsorg en is betrokke by navorsing oor die gesondheidsvoordele van matige wynverbruik en die Mediterreense dieet.
 
 
Boekbesonderhede

"This book will forever alter the way you see the people who live on the margins in Johannesburg" - Gayle Edmunds reviews Vaya

Vaya

 
Vaya the Film
is based on the lives of four young men from the Homeless Writer’s Project: David Majoka, Anthony Mafela, Madoda Ntuli and Tshabalira Lebakeng, and rooted in their experiences of coming to Johannesburg. Vaya the Book brings you the people and stories that inspired the award-winning film.

Through personal stories that are intimate and hard hitting, Vaya will both surprise and shock you. It offers a rare lens into life in Johannesburg and amplifies the voices of people who live on the city’s margins. The book will ignite conversations and debate about what the city means to millions of ordinary people who navigate its streets with courage and humanity.

Developed by the Homeless Writer’s Project, and containing accessible history, debates and interactive activities, here are the stories and people that inspired the award-winning film.

Vaya will both shock and inspire.

The Homeless Writer’s Project was started in 2010 by filmmaker Robbie Thorpe and joined soon after by Harriet Perlman. It gives a voice to the voiceless by creating opportunities for stories to be developed into films and published media. The group meets once a week to share stories and ideas and create a safe place for discussion. The film script for Vaya began in story workshops, where participants shared and told stories over a period of six years. These lived experiences were written down and crafted into a film script.

Gayle Edmunds recently reviewed this remarkable book for City Press; read an excerpt here:

Home. A place to call home. This book will forever alter the way you see the people who live on the margins in Johannesburg, and your concept of home.

The book, and the movie of the same name it complements, is the product of an initiative started in 2009, The Homeless Writers Project.

The programme offers people a space to tell their stories of living and surviving on the streets of the city. Those stories were workshopped into the film, and the making of the film brought about the book.

Four of the co-authors of Vaya – David Majoka, Madoda Ntuli, Anthony Mafela and Tshabalira Lebakeng – share their experiences of coming to the city in search of those fabled jobs and opportunities. What each of them find is an existence they didn’t expect. Each man has a different story of homelessness, but each triumphs over his circumstances in unexpected and varied ways.

The stories of the four main protagonists are interspersed with essays by experts, such as Peter Delius and Sarah Charlton, that offer context for why the city is the way it is, how the lopsided infrastructure development justified by racist laws still rule the way many people on the margins of society experience the city.

In her essay, Understanding Homelessness, Charlton explains the nuances of homelessness, showing up the ignorance of those who assume those who “sleep rough” have some addiction or character flaw.

Continue reading Edmunds’ review here.

Book details

Maalvleis-liefhebbers: hierdie empanada resep skrik vir niks!

Evita se empanadas
Lewer ongeveer 12 maalvleishappies
Bereidings- en gaarmaaktyd: 10–15 minute |
Yskastyd: 1 uur | Baktyd: 35–45 minute

Hierdie Argentyns-geïnspireerde maalvleishappies gaan niemand laat huil nie. Allermins. Dis ewe lekker as ’n ligte middagete, piekniekkos of ’n lekker kosblikbederfie. Moenie skrik vir die baie botter nie – die geheim van ’n goeie empanada lê in die vleissouse wat in die pan vorm en dit kry jy net deur, sommer met die intrapslag al, baie botter te gebruik.

deeg
2½ k koekmeel
1 t bakpoeier
½ t sout
125 g botter
¼ k water
1 eier
2 e water

maalvleisvulsel
125 g botter
1 groot ui, fyngekap
5 stingeluie, in dun ringe gesny
500 g maalvleis
¼ k sultanas, in kleiner stukkies gekap
1 t paprika
½ t rissievlokkies
¼ t fyn komyn
sout en varsgemaalde swartpeper na smaak
2 hardgekookte eiers, fyngekap
13 groen olywe, ontpit en fyngekap
¼ k geroosterde amandelvlokkies

1. Deeg: Sif die koekmeel, bakpoeier en sout saam in ’n groot mengbak. Sny die botter in blokkies en vryf met jou vingerpunte in die meelmengsel tot dit soos growwe mieliemeel lyk.

2. Giet die water bietjie-bietjie by tot ’n sagte, hanteerbare deeg vorm. Draai die deeg toe in kleefplastiek en laat vir 1 uur in die yskas rus.

3. Maalvleisvulsel: Verhit die botter in ’n swaarboompan en braai die ui en stingeluie tot die uie sag en deurskynend is. Voeg die maalvleis by en roer liggies met ’n vurk sodat die vleis nie klonte vorm nie. Braai tot die vleis verbruin het.

4. Voeg die sultanas by en kook saam vir ’n minuut of twee. Haal af van die stoofplaat en roer die paprika, rissievlokkies en komyn by. Geur met sout en peper. Laat die vleismengsel heeltemal afkoel en roer dan die res van die vulselbestanddele liggies by.

5. Voorverhit die oond tot 180 °C. Voer ’n bakplaat met bakpapier uit.

6. Rol deeg uit tot ongeveer 3 mm dik op ’n meelbestrooide werksvlak. Gebruik ’n koekiedrukker van ongeveer 7,5 cm in deursnee en druk 12 deegsirkels uit (’n paar ekstra sal nie kwaad doen nie).

7. Klits die eier en die water saam. Verf die rande van die deegsirkels met van die eiermengsel. Skep 2 opgehoopte eetlepels vulsel in die middel van elke deegsirkel. Los ’n randjie rondom oop. Vou die deegsirkel toe om ’n halfmaan te vorm. Druk deegrande vas om te verseël.

8. Pak die halfmaantjies ’n entjie uitmekaar op die bakplaat. Verf die deeg met die eiermengsel. Bak in die oond vir 35–45 minute tot bruin. Sit warm of teen kamertemperatuur voor saam met ’n mengelslaai.

wenk: Jy kan die deeg nog makliker in ’n voedselverwerker voorberei: Voeg net die blokkies botter een vir een by en verwerk. Voeg ook die water bietjie-bietjie by en laat die masjien die mengwerk doen.

Maalvleis

Boekbesonderhede

"Know what you really care about, and don’t piss money away on stuff that you don’t." A Q&A with Sam Beckbessinger, author of Manage Your Money Like a F*cking Grownup

We never get an instruction manual about how money works. We never have to pass a test to get our Money License before we can take a new credit card for a drive. Most of what we learn about money comes from advertising or from other people who know as little as we do.

No wonder we make such basic mistakes. No wonder we feel disempowered and scared. No wonder so many of us just decide to stick our heads in the damn sand and just never deal with it.

I wrote this book, because so many of the people I spoke to told me that they wished someone would.

In this clear and engaging basic guide to managing your finances, Sam Beckbessinger covers topics from compound interest and inflation to “Your brain on money”, negotiating a raise, and particularly local South African phenomena like “black tax”.

The book includes exercises and “how-to’s”, doesn’t shy away from the psychology of money, and is empowering, humorous and helpful. The book you wish you’d had at 25, but is never too late to read.

Sam Beckbessinger is a writer, user-experience designer and entrepreneur who is on a quest to help the emerging middle class understand how to take charge of their finances. She is the cofounder of Phantom Design, a company that has helped to build bitcoin wallets, cryptocurrency exchanges, smart credit cards and more. She also lectures extensively on online culture, marketing and behavioural economics. Sam holds a BA Honours Degree from the University of Cape Town, studied Strategy Design at the Gordon Institute of Business Science and was a 2014 Mandela Washington Fellow at Yale University.

Q&A with author Sam Beckbessinger

 
What’s your financial background, and how did you get into the field?

I don’t have a background in finance; I have a background in talking to people and trying to make stuff easier for them. I’ve been working in user experience, research and design for about 10 years, and a lot of what I worked on focused on financial apps and tools. Over the years, I’ve done work for most of the banks, and local money management app 22Seven, which is part of Old Mutual. I co-founded Phantom Design, a fintech product design studio because I wanted to shake up this industry. I’m obsessed with making money management simpler, because finance bros like to make it all sound a lot more complicated than it is. Not having a background in finance helps, because my approach is a lot more human-centred. I don’t have any patience for the nonsense jargon or questionable money-making tactics that infect so much of the industry.
 

What made you particularly interested in personal finance and how people spend?

Money is about a lot more than money. It’s about your choices, and what kind of life you want to live. Being in control of your money means being an active steward of your own life.

In my early twenties, I had so many self-limiting narratives about money. I chose jobs I hated because I was terrified of being broke, and then I went and overspent and got into debt, to try to fill the hole of how miserable those jobs were making me, and so somehow I ended up poorer than I started when I took those supposedly lucrative jobs! Past-me was a dumbass.

Think about how much money you’re actually going to earn over the course of your lifetime. Really picture it. If you earn just R10 000 a month from age 25 to 65, getting just a 6% raise every year, that’s nearly R20-million. There’s a lot of big, audacious dreams you can turn into reality for R20-million. You have a lot more choices than you realise.

I want to help people take control of their spending, and put their money into the things they really care about, the things that matter to them. I want more people to live the lives they truly, fiercely want to live.

What prompted you to write How to manage your money?

I’ve spent a lot of the past decade talking to people about money, and so many of them told me that they wished a book like this existed: a no-nonsense, no-jargon, no-bullshit guide to the basic principles of money management for people in their twenties. No-one else seemed to be writing this book, so I did.

Also, I did it for the fame and riches.

What interests you most about the field?

Human brains are weird, yo. We like to think that we’re these rational creatures that make logical decisions all the time, but really we’re all just primates with pants on. Getting better with money is hard, just like quitting smoking or taking up exercise or any other kind of behaviour change. It’s not enough to understand what you should be doing. Actually figuring out how to trick your primate brain into doing that smart stuff is the tough part. I’m fascinated by behavioural science and helping to shape healthier cultural narratives around money and choices.

What’s the one thing that people across the board just can’t seem to get right when it comes to managing their money?

We delay saving, because it seems hard and we think now’s a bad time and we can’t really afford it and there will be plenty of time later and it will be easier when we’re older and earning more and and, and, and…we have a million excuses. But the thing about compound interest is that what matters most is time, so starting early is so important. Compare someone who saves for their retirement for just five years between age 25 and 30, with someone who starts saving at age 30 and saves all the way until they’re 65. Who ends up with more money? The person who started younger. You don’t have any time to waste.

Also, we’re not scared enough of debt, in this country. Debt will almost always grow faster than your investments, so while you’ve got debt, the smartest thing you can do is to get rid of it as fast as humanly possible.

What are your top five tips for getting your financial act together?

1. Automate everything, because human brains are no good at willpower. Just set up an automatic payment on payday to move money to your financial goals (whether it’s saving or debt repayments). That way, you don’t save what’s left after spending, you spend what’s left after saving (that’s a tip from Warren Buffet, and that guy is SMART). Aim to save 30% – it’s easier than you think.

2. Know what you really care about, and don’t piss money away on stuff that you don’t. I find it helpful to have one really chunky, audacious goal in mind that has a real price-tag attached to it. This helps when you’re trying to remind yourself why you’re NOT going to buy that new gizmo you don’t actually need, even though it’s shiny and on sale.

3. Put your day-to-day spending money in a separate bank account (I call it my fuckaround fund). Top it up once a week, and never spend more than you have in that account.

4. Free up money from the boring shit, not from the stuff you love. Don’t fret over every piece of avocado toast you order – rather find cheaper car insurance, or move to a lower-fee investment fund. Be frugal with the big stuff like housing and transport costs, not the small stuff that makes you happy.

5. Don’t waste money on cars unless you actually really love cars.

Book details

 
Also available as an eBook.