Sunél’s Blog

Sunél’s Blog | Rest well
Sunél Veldtman, | 11 December 2020

I don’t know about you, but I am exhausted. It is always difficult towards the end of the year, to gather enough energy to complete everything on the to-do list. This year is even harder. I am bone-tired for all the reasons that made 2020 so tough. Uncertainty. Complexity. Anger. Compliance. Loneliness. Division. Financial pressure. Poverty. Hunger. Relationships breaking down. Anxiety. Sleeplessness. Countless additional decisions. I can go on. I ...

Sunél’s Blog | What happened to my intention for joy this year?
Sunél Veldtman, | 03 December 2020

At the beginning of this year, I wrote about setting intentions for the year. My intention was to seek joy. Of course, I had no idea what was ahead for the world in 2020 but I wrote these words: ‘And to record the joy every day. I want to actively cultivate it, to look for ...

Sunél’s Blog | Who will make money from this trend?
Sunél Veldtman, | 27 November 2020

During the past week media commentators jumped with joy when it became evident that a technical change to the definition of certain listed instruments, meant that one could now potentially invest up to 100% of one’s pension money offshore. Given how poorly South African investments have performed relative to offshore investments over the last 5 ...

Sunél’s Blog | Why we can’t help our love affair with forecasting
Sunél Veldtman, | 20 November 2020

This week I received a newsletter from a market commentator who expressed surprise at the current levels of the Rand compared to the US Dollar. At R15.50/USD, the Rand was the best performing emerging market currency over the last month. According to the publication, the Rand is widely tipped to further advance in the months ...

Sunél’s Blog | What we can learn from conservation
Sunél Veldtman, | 13 November 2020

In celebration of our wedding anniversary, we were fortunate to spend time at a reserve in the Kamdeboo near Graaff Reinet. Two decades ago, the land was eroded by overgrazing and most wildlife had disappeared from the famous Kamdeboo plains, where once herds of springbok kicked up dust clouds visible across the plains. Today, you ...

Sunél’s Blog | The other side
Sunél Veldtman, | 06 November 2020
The end of democracy and capitalism is in sight. Should Donald Trump win the US election, the outcome is certain: a white supremacist apocalypse will follow. That’s how Biden supporters feel. On the other hand, The Financial Times quotes Mike Pence declaring, “with frosty certainty that in Biden’s America ‘you won’t be safe’… that the Trumpian
Sunél’s Blog | How nearly losing it all, can bring everything in focus
Sunél Veldtman, | 30 October 2020

In 2020 many people have been faced with loss – financial loss, loss of health or even the loss of loved ones to the pandemic. It’s been that kind of year. Many of our clients faced loss – a few faced death. It has been a privilege to listen to their stories and to see ...

Sunél’s Blog | Will Donald Trump trump again?
Sunél Veldtman, | 23 October 2020

On my return from a few days off-grid, I was assaulted by reams of research on the possible impact of the American election on our future. How will a Biden administration impact global growth? Will a Trump win spur financial markets on? Speculation clothed as research or expert opinion claim to answer these questions. The truth ...

Sunél’s Blog | What have we learnt?
Sunél Veldtman, | 16 October 2020

As we slowly emerge from lockdown, I wonder, what have we learnt? Are we taking a moment to let the enormity of what’s just happened to us, sink in? Are we taking stock of the impact it has had on our bodies, minds and souls? Or our money? Have we taken a moment to express ...

Sunél’s Blog | What commitment means for your money
Sunél Veldtman, | 09 October 2020

Next week, Piet and I will celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary. It is somewhat surreal, thinking that I have been married for thirty years. It is difficult to believe that all that time has passed. It feels like our lives have come full circle – we started our married life in the City Bowl in Cape ...

Sunél’s Blog | The elegance of simplicity
Sunél Veldtman, | 02 October 2020

I’m a fan of French elegance. I am drawn to the simplicity and minimalism of their style – the blue blazer paired with a crisp white shirt never dates. It’s timeless. If you build up this type of French wardrobe, daily dressing becomes easy and effective. The same is true for a property of good ...

Sunél’s Blog | A chat with a friend, a stolen cell phone, financial independence and a pandemic
Sunél Veldtman, | 18 September 2020

Three stories were woven into one experience for me during the past week. A friend shared his dreams with me, daring dreams that may cost him a big chunk of his capital, perhaps most of it. He ended by saying that he’ll be happy to live a simple life if it all fails. He will be ...

Sunél’s Blog | What is the value of advice?
Sunél Veldtman, | 11 September 2020

When I was a young parent, my dad gave me a piece of parenting advice that probably changed the course of my life and saved me and my children from the trauma of helicopter parenting. It freed me to enjoy my children as unique humans. If I had to pay for that advice, I wonder what ...

Sunél’s Blog | A lesson from historical romance novels
Sunél Veldtman, | 07 September 2020

I read historical romantic novels in old fashioned paper format before bedtime. Life is difficult enough, so what I read before falling asleep must help me escape and switch off from screens and the day’s challenges. However, historical novels are often more than an escape. They can be useful. They can expose ways of living ...

Sunél’s Blog | Spring is in the air, or is it?
Sunél Veldtman, | 28 August 2020

From my office window I notice the dark oak branches sprouting delicate fresh leaves and the poplars’ twigs forming fat buds. The sun rises earlier and suddenly it feels lighter. The dark days of mid-winter and lockdown are behind us. Can you still remember what it felt like? How hopeless and dreary the future seemed in ...

Sunél’s Blog | One way to deal with anxiety
Sunél Veldtman, | 21 August 2020

When I searched my previous blogs, surprisingly, I found the word anxiety in only one previous blog. It is not a reflection of how I have felt or how most of our clients seem to feel. If you are like me, at some stage during this pandemic, you have probably felt anxious about the future, ...

Sunél’s Blog | What could happen?
Sunél Veldtman, | 17 August 2020

What do you want? What will happen if you focus your money, time and energy on the thing(s) you want? It’s not complicated. It’s just very difficult. It’s difficult to choose what you want. It means saying no to a lot of other stuff. And then it’s difficult to apply focus and resources to that thing. Most people never ...

Sunél’s Blog | Don’t talk to me about Botox
Sunél Veldtman, | 07 August 2020

I dread women’s month because I become inundated with pink invitations to industry events on topics ranging from Botox, self-esteem improvement coupled with the money mistakes women make. What are we thinking? I would love to know if any of my male readers have ever been invited to a comparable financial industry event? The industry ...

Sunél’s Blog | Why you need losers in your portfolio
Sunél Veldtman, | 31 July 2020

Everyone knows. You should not put all your eggs in one basket. You should diversify so that your wealth is protected against the unforeseen. What does this mean? It means that the prospects of your investments should be linked to different factors. If all your investments do well at the same time, then it probably means that your ...

Sunél’s Blog | Dare to dream
24 July 2020

I believe in dreams. As a money expert, it is quite something to admit but my current reality exists because I dreamed: Foundation Family Wealth is the product of my dream to help people live their best life with their money; living in Cape Town is the result of my dream to live closer to ...

Sunél’s Blog | What’s on your mind?
Sunél Veldtman, | 17 July 2020

Just when we thought it could not get worse, it did. Now we have lockdown and load shedding, all without alcohol. Yes, the winter cold fronts have been welcome and there is the silver lining of nearly full dams (in the Cape), but the freezing cold in the dark has come at a dark time ...

Sunél’s Blog | How scarce is money?
Sunél Veldtman, | 10 July 2020

I spent the first few years of my life on a small Karoo farm. There was freshly baked farm bread with homemade butter every day, milk from our own cows, meat from our livestock, vegetables from our own garden and eggs from our own animals. Writing this now, I realise that for the reader this ...

Sunél’s Blog | Poor prospects, poor returns?
Sunél Veldtman, | 03 July 2020

The return on an investment is determined by two factors – the prospects and the price you pay for those prospects. If you pay too much for the prospects, the total return on your investment can be as poor as an investment with poor prospects. Imagine there was an investment with great prospects, but you had ...

Sunél’s Blog | Wealth built on inequality, is fragile
Sunél Veldtman, | 26 June 2020

Last week, I took some time away from my blog space. I needed some time to process what has transpired since the outbreak of COVID-19. While away, I felt compelled to send this blog – a version of it was waiting in my outbox. The world has never been a more unequal place. South Africa specifically, ...

Sunél’s Blog | The long-term will not fix this
Sunél Veldtman, | 12 June 2020

On the 13th of October 2000, I was standing at the end of a jetty on a lake high up in the Drakensberg selling my clients’ Dimension Data shares. I remember the day because it was my 10th wedding anniversary. My husband and I had gone to a remote guest house to celebrate – the jetty was the only ...

Sunél’s Blog | You may acknowledge that you’re sad
Sunél Veldtman, | 05 June 2020

Emotion has such a bad reputation. The general belief is still that emotions should be ignored or repressed. Worse still, is the belief that emotions are signs of immaturity and should not come into play in decision making. Some emotions seem more acceptable, like happiness or surprise, whereas fear and sadness frequently leave us uncomfortable or are regarded as ...

Sunél’s Blog | Put up your fences
Sunél Veldtman, | 29 May 2020

Most of us know how to take care of our physical security. We put up burglar bars, fences and walls. We raise the walls and top them with electric fences. We install alarm systems. We have panic buttons linked to armed response. We belong to village watch groups. We may even have permanent bodyguards. We ...

Sunél’s Blog | How confident should you be now?
Sunél Veldtman, | 22 May 2020

Correlation does not equal causation. Confusing the two is a basic error in critical thinking. For example, if there is a declining trend of COVID-19 infections in Italy at the same time that more people are wearing masks, it does not mean that the declining trend was caused by the mask-wearing. But let’s first backtrack to ...

Sunél’s Blog | The last of the human freedoms
Sunél Veldtman, | 15 May 2020

This week, as I digested President Ramaphosa’s speech, I was struck by the enormity of what we are experiencing. Not for the first time, an acute anxiety about the outcome of the Great Lockdown overwhelmed me. The economic consequences will be extremely difficult to deal with. Maybe you haven’t felt anxiety. Perhaps you have felt powerless, ...

Sunél’s Blog | The stories we tell ourselves
Sunél Veldtman, | 08 May 2020

A blog by Carl Richards (they are the shortest, most impactful blogs on money and life that you do not want to miss) alerted me to the gap between facts and stories. And the potential impact of that gap. COVID-19 is a good example for illustrating this: the facts, the story and the gap. Right now, there ...

Sunél’s Blog | A different kind of capital is now
Sunél Veldtman, | 01 May 2020

Most of us toil, throughout our lives to convert human and physical capital into financial capital. We derive income from our human and physical capital, and then we save enough to fund our future income through our investments, culminating in retirement. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have focussed on the demise of financial capital as a ...

Sunél’s Blog | What I learnt about change through moving
Sunél Veldtman, | 24 April 2020

Note: I wrote this blog some time ago and then Coronvirus happened and it seemed more appropriate to talk about that. I guess by now, you’re also weary and perhaps heartsore from all the Corona stories, so I’m sharing the story of our move to Cape Town with you. Because despite what we are living now, life will go ...

Sunél’s Blog | Facing that big question
Sunél Veldtman, | 17 April 2020

As the lockdown continues, our realities diverge. Some are working hard to survive by revamping their business models or changing their products. Others are locked out of their shops and cannot do much about it. Others are trying to juggle home schooling kids and jobs. Others may already have lost their jobs or shut down their businesses. Some may ...

Sunél’s Blog | The Wisdom of our Grandparents
Sunél Veldtman, | 10 April 2020

During my childhood, my grandmother lived with us from time to time. Her presence had a lasting impact on my childhood memories. I remember how she scraped the bowl clean when she was baking, how she saved the leftovers of lunch for dinner and how she cared for her clothes. She wore a dress to ...

Sunél’s Blog | Do we care enough?
Sunél Veldtman, | 03 April 2020

COVID-19 puts a spotlight on the plight of millions of South Africans who are living in poverty. They don’t have access to decent healthcare and sanitation. They live in shacks. The lucky ones have jobs far from their homes. Even the lucky ones know hunger intimately. Unless our country tackles this problem with the urgency ...

Sunél’s Blog | So really, how are you feeling right now?
Sunél Veldtman, | 27 March 2020

When you read this, South Africa will be at the start of its lockdown, following our European and Asian friends who have been in lockdown for some time. We have been called to fight a war against an invisible and silent enemy, by staying home. And, even if we do not want to admit it, most of us are ...

Sunél’s Blog | Corona and the human mind
Sunél Veldtman, | 20 March 2020

The COVID-19 virus fall-out is a great example of the flaws in human thinking. For a complex problem – like, what is the most appropriate response by a country’s government to the spread of a deadly virus – you need complex thinking. However, most people rarely apply the rational, thinking part of their brains. Most human ...

Sunél’s Blog | On swings and roundabouts
Sunél Veldtman, | 12 March 2020

The last week of February was one of the worst in the history of markets – global markets declined by more than 10% in USD. Pervasive panic as a result of the spread of the COVID-19 virus from China to the rest of the world dominated the news and social media. The virus has already brought much of ...

Sunél’s Blog | The risk of going it alone
Sunél Veldtman, | 06 March 2020

What goes through a successful man’s mind when he pulls the trigger a day after his retirement? From the outside, he had it all: an illustrious career, a happy family, a big circle of friends and the trip of a lifetime planned. But he harboured a secret. He never told his inner circle that he ...

Sunél’s Blog | You may not die from old age, but from retirement.
Sunél Veldtman, | 28 February 2020

Retiring is dangerous. Who would have thought? While people may initially report improved health after retirement due to lower stress levels, studies show that the risk of death increases by as much 20%; and the risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke increases by as much as 40% after retiring. It is not ...

Sunél’s Blog | The success of optimism
Sunél Veldtman, | 26 February 2020

There was one underlying golden thread that ran through most of 2021’s customary start-of-the-year investment roadshows. There were no bold proclamations; rather, the word optimism softly appeared in almost all presentations given by the most respected industry analysts. Optimism about improving global economic conditions, the resurgence of global industries decimated by Covid, the continued price ...

Sunél’s Blog | Why Buffet is wrong
Sunél Veldtman, | 21 February 2020

You believe in yourself. You have done your homework. You go for it. Go big or go home, is what they say. After all, Warren Buffett said “diversification is protection against ignorance. It makes little sense if you know what you are doing.” You think it’s certain. You are in control. You are wrong. And so is Warren Buffett in ...

Sunél’s Blog | Planning for failure should be part of our plans
Sunél Veldtman, | 19 February 2020

Disruption is here to stay. And the pandemic has just shown us how disruptive disruption can be. It has brought whole industries to a standstill, grounded aeroplanes, halted travel, left rental cars in parking lots, stopped conventions and elective medical procedures. Some of these industries may recover, but many will have changed dramatically. Secure jobs ...

Sunél’s Blog | You can’t take it with you
Sunél Veldtman, | 14 February 2020

When babies come into the world, they are naked, vulnerable, all wrinkly and truth be told, ugly. Similarly, people typically leave the world vulnerable, wrinkly and yes, ugly. In a lifetime, we gather our possessions, properties, bank accounts, investments and all sorts of other links to the world around us. When we die, we die ...

Sunél’s Blog | Managing money through the rearview mirror
Sunél Veldtman, | 07 February 2020

My eldest is learning to drive and I am becoming more conscious of my driving. Driving is one of those things that you do without consciously thinking about when to look in the rearview mirror. But I have now become aware of looking in the mirrors again. Although looking in all your mirrors is essential for safe driving, the most ...

Sunél’s Blog | Habits of Small Things
Sunél Veldtman, | 31 January 2020

Habits, scientists say, emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort (Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit). They are the legs of resolutions and without them, resolutions typically fail. Research increasingly shows that they are worth pursuing (the good kind at least) and that it is even possible to change behaviour by making tiny changes to ...

Sunél’s Blog | A year of intention
Sunél Veldtman, | 24 January 2020

2020 is here. It has a good ring to it – a new year and a new decade. A blank page on which we can continue to write the story of our lives. If the 2010s didn’t work out well for you, here’s a new chance. A new chance for a new beginning. What will you do with it? I’m ...