Don’t be a fool this April

Johann Rossouw | 01 April 2024

Johann is an Associate Financial Planner at Fiscal Private Client Services. He holds the Certified Financial  Planner® accreditation and has a keen interest in personal finance and how financial markets affect our everyday lives.

The 1st of April may be a day for pranks and laughter, but when it comes to your finances, being a fool can have lasting consequences. This year, steer clear of the silly financial "tips" and embrace smart money moves that will leave you feeling empowered rather than embarrassed.

Here are a few foolish financial decisions that you should avoid – not only in April, but every day of every year. Instead, make some smart money moves that will make your wallet smile:

Folly #1: Investing in the "Next Big Thing"

Reality: There is no doubt about it, South Africans are social creatures. We love nothing more than to gather around the braai with something cold to drink and talk about everything from rugby to politics to finances. While I do not encourage you to skip the braais, be very wary of the information you consume. Seemingly exciting things you heard about at a braai do not always make good investments.

The news is full of stories about people who have lost their hard-earned savings through get-rich-quick schemes.

Don't fall for fleeting trends or insider tips that you heard about through the grapevine. Research thoroughly before investing and consider a diversified portfolio that aligns with your risk tolerance.


Folly #2: Maxing out your credit cards

Reality: It is easy to swipe and believe you can pay it off later. But credit card debt can become a heavy financial burden to bear. High interest rates can quickly turn a small purchase into a mountain of financial stress and destroy wealth.

Use credit cards responsibly and pay them off in full each month to avoid paying interest.  


Folly #3: I’m too young to think about retirement

Reality: Adulting poses its own unique set of challenges, and the allure of instant gratification can lead us astray from achieving financial freedom.

The undeniable truth, however, is that the earlier you embark on the journey of saving for your golden years, the more substantial the rewards.

Starting to save now allows you ample time to benefit from the power of compound interest, often hailed as the 8th wonder of the world.

Now that we have discussed the follies to avoid, here are a couple of tips that will make your wallet smile and lead to long-term wealth creation:


Tip #1: Embrace the power of budgeting (without the tears)

Budgeting doesn't have to be boring or something that you have to spend hours on. There are numerous free budgeting apps and tools available. Track your income and expenses to identify areas where you can cut back. Every rand saved is a rand earned.

Tip #2: Automate your savings

Set up debit orders or automatic transfers from your bank account to your investments. This "out of sight, out of mind" strategy ensures you're saving consistently without having to think about it. Pay your future-self first as soon as you receive your salary.

Tip #3: Laughter is the best medicine (For your finances too!)

Financial planning doesn't have to be stressful. Find resources and information that make learning about money fun and engaging. There are plenty of financial podcasts, blogs, and even games designed to help you become more financially savvy. Partner with an adviser who holds the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) accreditation and understands your circumstances, goals and aspirations.



April Fools' Day is a prime time for scammers. Be on the lookout for suspicious emails, phone calls, or text messages. Never share personal information or banking details with unverified sources.

By following these tips, you can avoid financial folly and put yourself on the path to financial security. Remember, taking control of your finances is empowering – you'll be laughing all the way to the bank (without the prank!). Financial literacy is the best defence against becoming an April Fools' Day statistic. Invest in your financial education and watch your money grow!