Benni and football legends share their money lessons
Nedbank and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) announced legendary Bafana Bafana striker Benni McCarthy as the ambassador for its retail bank campaign at the Nedbank Football and Finance Summit held in Sandton today.
McCarthy, who was received with great applause by staff was joined by fellow football players, past and present, including Mark Williams, Amanda Dlamini, Ronwen Williams, Daine Klate, Thabo Nthethe and Scara Thindwa. They each shared their personal money journeys, the ups, downs and pearls of wisdom to avoid the excesses of instant gratification in order to secure their financial futures.
Started in 2019, the Nedbank Football and Finance Summit was launched as a thought leadership and knowledge sharing platform created to discuss various topics in football and finance in conjunction with the Nedbank Cup, South Africa’s premier club football knockout tournament currently underway.
“When we launched the Nedbank Money Secrets campaign across the country last year, we found that South Africans struggle to talk about money, which is was reflected in the fact that a third of people spend more than they earn and over 10 million people have bad debt,” said Khensani Nobanda, Nedbank’s Group Executive for Marketing and Corporate Affairs. “Through the Nedbank Cup, we realised that footballers are faced with the same financial challenges and we felt that Benni McCarthy is one of the few footballers who embodies the philosophy that money well managed can make a real difference in people’s lives and in the country’s future as well.”
“I was a young player from a very underprivileged background and, overnight, went from handling between ten rand and twenty rand to handling millions,” McCarthy said. “I realised that the people who suddenly felt they could advise me about my finance, hadn’t done it for themselves. I decided to be more sensible about my money, so that my family could benefit after my playing career came to an end.
“The toughest financial lesson I learned was being young and easily persuaded. You have to ask other players, especially more experienced players, about what things cost, how to do certain things and try to surround yourself with people who can give you great advice,” he said.
Two panel discussions were hosted by popular sports presenter Thato Moeng featuring current and former professional footballer players as well as Mutsa Chironga, Nedbank Consumer Banking Managing Executive, Tobie Badenhorst, Head of Sponsorships at Nedbank and Glyn Binkin, Players Club Managing Director.
“Unfortunately, a lot of players fall into the trap of wanting to show off for people around them, chopping and changing cars to flash on Instagram,” said Williams, SuperSport United and Bafana goalkeeper. “As a result, I’ve even seen players I looked up to going through financial difficulties, and I often speak to players in trouble because of unwise decisions. I was fortunate that I had people around me who promoted smart financial decisions.
“For instance, when I started at SuperSport, Gavin Hunt would always say that if a player bought a new car, he would cut them. He always encouraged players to buy property rather than lots of cars,” he says.
Dlamini said that although football wasn’t as lucrative for women as the men’s game, female players needed to learn sound personal finance management as money started to grow in women’s football.
“We are seeing more sponsorships coming into women’s football, and more South African players are getting lucrative overseas contracts,” she said. “These players can also get trapped by the excitement of new money from endorsements and bigger salaries, but they need to do a lot of work to ensure they save and invest their money wisely.”
Klate emphasised the importance of players adopting a modest lifestyle off the pitch, even if they see their salaries grow from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands a month overnight.
“The ordinary citizen can retire at 65, but a player’s career at the peak lasts only up to 15 years and can easily be cut short,” he said. “If you earn R300 000 a month, don’t live a R300 000 lifestyle, but maintain a lifestyle that reflects the understanding that you will have to transition out of playing, which can be very difficult, and even more so if you aren’t prepared.”
Binkin, a player agent, said he advised players to see themselves as a business, seeking opportunities that go beyond the field, a sentiment echoed by Bloemfontein Celtics veteran Nthethe, who shared his lessons from starting a business while still actively playing.
Chironga said players’ challenges reflected the same challenges ordinary South Africans faced daily in managing their money to meet their financial goals. “We are working hard to help people manage their money better. In 2019, we spent a lot of effort reducing banking fees, especially in the entry level market, launching a range of easy-to-use zero-fee bank accounts. We expanded our footprint and launched a unique stokvel account that is designed to help communities meet their money goals,” he said.
Badenhorst added that the Nedbank Cup would be hosting a series of activations around the country where people will be able to engage with Nedbank’s mobile sales team and stand a chance to win a VIP experience at the Nedbank Cup Final.
“We’ll also have an innovative Fan Zone where they’ll be able to experience the amazing opening ceremony at the final.” Badenhorst said.
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