Beware the scarcity mindset
27 Oct, 2023

Nirdev Desai, Head of Sales at PSG Wealth


Nirdev Desai, Head of Sales, at PSG Wealth, explores the ‘run for cover’ investor tendency in the face of increased interest rates and the weakened purchasing power of the rand.


For most, real incomes haven’t kept up with inflation over the past five years. Disposable income is low, exacerbated by higher debt-servicing costs resulting from increased interest rates and the weakened purchasing power of the rand. In times like these, it is easy to develop a scarcity mindset, protect what one has, and develop a risk-off investment outlook – all of which lead to a short-term focus. This scarcity mindset is compounded by the daily news events vying for our attention on issues such as politics, the environment, markets, and the economy.


Despite these headwinds, there are many investors who are achieving successful outcomes, who exhibit an abundance mindset, and who find positives to focus on amidst society’s problems. Without proper context, these investors may be seen by sceptics as out of tune with reality, yet they flourish and overwhelmingly have a healthier relationship with money and greater financial freedom. It may be wise to take a page from these individuals’ books and emulate some of their habits and traits.


Think long term, and make time your best friend to build wealth


Many things in life are happening faster than ever before – including news flow, technological change, and heightened market volatility. Investors’ holding periods in stocks are also part of this acceleration – having decreased from five years in the 1970s to less than ten months today ( Yet, perhaps surprisingly, the only certain way of achieving expected returns from growth assets reliably hasn’t changed since then, and 10 years is still the recommended time horizon.


With individuals living longer and the same time horizon required for growth assets, it is arguably even easier to build immeasurable wealth with time on your side. Further, by embracing financial planning aimed at realising intergenerational wealth, the advantage of time suddenly takes on new meaning and can easily turn a scarcity mindset into one of abundance.


Have a plan, and don’t get distracted


All good intentions require a commitment to a goal and habits to be built to ensure the plan is achieved. Summer bodies are built in winter – when it’s the hardest to put in the effort to achieve fitness goals. Fitness goals are more likely to be achieved by starting early, practising consistency by forming healthy habits, and ensuring that the desire to reach them is always greater than temptations that arise along the way.


In the same way, embarking on a journey to financial independence starts with formulating a plan, committing to achievable goals that are not derailed by the daily temptations of instant gratification, and planning upfront for how you will deal with those temptations. Finally, just as it is easier to maintain fitness than it is to become fit, financial wellness is much easier to achieve if you make your financial plan part of your lifestyle, avoid being tempted by ‘rewards’ that derail your financial plan, and commit to maintaining your financial independence once you achieve it.


Have a coach to keep you on track


There is no single factor that will have a greater impact than seeking the services of an expert to help you build a personalised plan and to keep you focused on achieving your goals – whether on your journey to health or your journey to financial freedom. Enlist a financial coach to motivate you, guide you when things get tough, and minimise the enticements that may derail your financial plans when life’s temptations become too strong to resist on your own.


If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together


Surround yourself with like-minded people. The easiest way to achieve this is by encouraging a positive mindset towards financial planning amongst those closest to you. Your family can either be your biggest drag – as experienced by many South African households with additional dependants – or your biggest support structure. Fostering a positive mindset in relation to finances with those closest to you will facilitate a healthy relationship with money and financial matters and help you achieve financial freedom collectively.






@Nirdev Desai
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