By Anesu Gwatidzo
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve found myself being challenged to answer the question “what is your why?” So I began to reflect on it in the hope to come up with a conclusive deduction as to how I ended up in the financial services sector. I quickly realised the answer wasn’t too far off.
I remember this particular event so vividly. The interesting part for me is that it’s the only thing I can really remember from that time. The year is 2002. I’m six years or seven years old at the time. My mother asks me to go to the bank with her. The reason for that is because I’m eligible to receive my first cheque book and she had opened a savings account for me that had been running longer than my life span which I thought was incredible. Technically I could not make any actual payments with it without the authorisation of my guardian but that was not important at all at that time. I thought to myself, I’ve got money I didn’t know about or worked for but still have access to? An absolute win right! You can only imagine the excitement a six-year old me felt at the time. We were banking with Beverly Bank at the time. The bold red colours with the big white B. Felt like wealth. We get to the bank and the attendant explains to me how it works. He says to me ”it’s quite simple young man all you do is contribute, money appreciates, the value of your money is stored, savings mature and you can opt to check out your savings when you are eighteen years old. So In my head at the time the bank is the perfect system. How can one establishment have all this money and give you more money in the long run? It’s full proof right? What could possibly go wrong?
Fast forward five years later. The year is 2007 and I’m eleven years old. We are in a mathematics class. We start working on a simple interest math problem. Essentially the Principle multiplied by the rate and the time of what you put in should equal the interest. So based off that logic I immediately think to myself I’ve got a savings plan that’s been going for what almost 20+ years now. The plan is reaching maturity in a couple of years so I should have a substantial amount of money saved up by now and I’m really curious to know how much has accumulated in the account. I get home that day full of excitement and start telling my mother what we had learnt in math class that day. Simple Interest. So obviously I ask her and remind her of that day she took me to the bank. She is surprised that I remembered that but at the same time, I can see she has this smile she puts on when she’s both amused by my childlike innocence and genuine interest but also about to deliver some disappointing news.
Firstly she responds with a slight laugh followed by a smirk as she shakes her head and says “Beverly?”. “Beverly shut down a long time ago. It’s been almost three years now since they stopped operating. The bank collapsed and they have not paid any of their depositors which includes you and me.” She can tell I’m confused and I don’t understand what she’s saying to me. All I really want to know is where is my money and what happened to it and all I’m hearing is there’s no money left. How? I can hear the bank attendants words ringing in my head “Simple young man all you do is contribute, money appreciates, the value of your money is stored, savings mature and you can opt to check out your savings when you are eighteen years old.” It’s only been a few years since we had that conversation and now you’re telling me I have no more money in my account? It did not make any sense to me at all. How can a “full proof” system fail? In our conversation, there was no mention of loss but that is the only thing I hear now. How can everything disappear overnight and external factors affect an entire financial ecosystem? What is this inflation thing I keep hearing about? If money is a store of value how can the value of your money erode? All these questions came to my mind more frequently from that day onward.
Over time I decided I needed answers. Surely there were ways to minimise exposure to such risks. Investing in your future had to have some sort of security and real benefits right? What does that security look like and how can I start to build that security for myself and help other people develop their own long term wealth. At the top of all those questions and the most important one that came to mind almost as an obligation to myself was how could I ensure that another seven year old kid did not have to go through the same realisation or financial loss that I went through? Since that day my why started to take shape and it has not changed since.
What is your why?
Anesu Gwatidzo is a Business Development Specialist at Carrick Wealth which is a dynamic an independent financial services provider specialising in integrated wealth management. You can connect with Anesu here: LinkedIn
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