When you need a new car

Buy a new carIf you drive a car in South Africa, you will understand the hassle of replacing it. Once you have decided on a make and model, the paperwork begins. Some dealerships will try and rip you off, by adding extra administrative costs to the transaction.

In this instance, I was told that the administrative costs would exceeded R8 000. However, the last time I bought a car, the paperwork cost just R1 500. While reading through the contract, I also noticed that the finance provider wants to charge me a monthly fee, just to manage the account. Continue reading

Still not Treating Customers Fairly

Treating the customer fairlyIn 2011, the Financial Services Board (FSB) announced they would be launching Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) in South Africa. Last year, Northwood released a blog that noted a few instances of non-compliance from financial planners. TCF is a relatively new Financial Services requirement, and is meant to ensure that those who practice in the Financial Services Industry provide their clients with suitable products and services.

In the event of a dispute, it also requires Financial Service Providers to be able to prove they have delivered on the six TCF principals. Unfortunately, many FSPs are still in contravention. Recently I came across two such cases. Continue reading

Changing with the times

Northwood Financial ServicesNorthwood Financial Services CC first opened its doors in 1990, with a complement of only two staff members. Everything was simpler back then, and processes were relatively easy to manage.

Twenty-eight years later, things are far more complicated. My regular radio broadcasts generate a significant number of queries. Daily emails and phone calls now number in the hundreds, and as a result, the Northwood staff has grown to six. Continue reading

A victim of crime

victim of crimeThe world is rife with criminals wanting to help themselves to your hard-earned cash or belongings. Crime can strike anyone at any time, and with cybercrime on the rise, banks often send out notifications warning us to be vigilant, lest we become another statistic.

However, nothing beats a good old fashioned mugging.

I was attacked in the street the other day. My wallet and mobile were taken from me by two thugs I can only assume were druggies looking for their next fix. Within a minute, my identity disappeared. Obviously, the cash in my wallet is gone, but they even used my stolen ID to cash in the points on my PnP Smart Shopper card. Continue reading

Taking care of yourself during retirement

Women retirement financial planningI have been in the financial services industry for a number of years now, and have encountered many different people, from all walks of life. Naturally, I have a few tales to tell. One particular encounter will remain with me forever. It was not a happy one.

I remember visiting an 85-year-old who had worked as a teacher. Her sole asset was her home in a rundown part of Goodwood. To make ends meet, she had sold her refrigerator, and on her kitchen counter was a tin of dog food. Continue reading

Money worries

money worriesIt always takes me by surprise when I find out just how long people manage to live with their money worries before seeking help. It’s almost as though they’re hoping their financial issues will be resolved automatically.

A financial advisor, or in more serious cases, a debt counsellor, should be able to help. After all, this is what they are trained to do. Naturally, as with any other service, there will be a cost involved. However, potential clients often balk at the cost, and choose to muddle on by themselves. Usually to their own detriment. Continue reading

Funding life’s uncertainties

Emergency fund lending moneyAt Northwood Financial Services CC, we encourage our clients to have a diversified portfolio of assets. One of these assets we refer to as an Emergency Fund.

An Emergency Fund, as the name suggests, is used to cover any expense that you haven’t budgeted for. Such as car or home repairs, holiday spending money, a deposit on your next property or even retrenchment. Continue reading