Lessons from nature’s masters: Building your financial nest
19 Jul, 2022

If you have ever marvelled at nests created by weaver birds you will appreciate 10X Investments taking inspiration from the animal kingdom to encourage South Africans to get back up, dust themselves off and start to rebuild their personal wealth after two tough years.

10X has released a series of wildlife videos showcasing inspiring tales of animals – from the mighty ant and the dung beetle to the hyena and the elephant seal – that regularly face difficulty and disaster.

The series, Resilience is in our nature, supports the company’s Rebuild SA campaign, which gives savers who open a new unit trust or tax-free saving account the first half of the year absolutely fee-free. The offer runs from January 17 to February 28. Ts and Cs apply.

Male weavers go to extraordinary lengths to build their nests with the single-minded purpose of impressing females and attracting a partner. If a male is lucky enough to have a female weaver swoop in to consider his “proposal” he can expect no pandering to his ego, not even constructive criticism. Mrs Weaver-to-be, the fussiest of female fauna, will review the intricate, labour-intensive work of the males apparently without emotion. Should she find anything not to her liking she simply flies off, and the male is obliged to take the nest apart and rebuild from zero.


Building wealth, like building a nest, takes time. Destroying it? Not so much

It can take Mr Weaver more than a week of intense labour to construct his nest. And if Ms Weaver disapproves, the nest will be destroyed in minutes.

Similarly, building up a nest egg of savings takes time. But, as many South Africans have discovered in the past two years, all your hard work can be destroyed in a comparatively very short time.

Know your enemies

A bird has many enemies, from predators to bad weather and loss of habitat, threatening its survival. The weaver must protect itself and its offspring against the forces that stand against them. That pretty, intricate entrance to the nest serves as a lot more than an attractive approach for the ladies. The narrow, funnel-shaped design keeps the harsher weather out and makes it tricky for predators to gain access.

Humans have many enemies too, often with the self being Enemy Number One. One threat most people face is not having the resources to support themselves in their old age. This is an example of a case where humans are their own worst enemy, being the first to prey on their own savings. Therefore, limiting access to retirement savings can be an excellent defence (savings in a retirement annuity can be accessed only from the age of 55).

Another defence tactic is to have an alternate source of capital for emergencies so that you don’t have to dip into your nest egg. A money market fund is an ideal choice as an emergency fund because it offers easy access to capital when it is needed as well as consistent returns.

Understanding the building blocks as you rebuild your wealth

Careful choice of building materials

The weaver chooses his building materials with care. The majority of the nest will be made with long pieces of grass, which are pliable and can be woven together. Sticks, roots and feathers are used for structure and insulation.

Similarly, when building an investment portfolio one should combine a diverse range of materials, or assets and investment products, for their different benefits.

An emergency fund, for example, should be in a low-risk savings vehicle, which can be accessed quickly. Retirement savings, on the other hand, are better off held in a long-term savings vehicle that is high on equities, which will probably be volatile in the short-term but offers the best growth potential in the long-term.

The more you learn the more you earn

Weaver birds are exceptional in the animal kingdom in that they can tie knots. This skill sits at the heart of their weaving success, ensuring their nests are more structurally sound and can be built in a variety of places. Good knot-tying takes practice, however, which is why it’s harder for a novice male to win a lady’s attention. If there were an internet for weavers the more enterprising youngsters might download a tutorial and leapfrog the learning process, but they must improve by practicing.

When it comes to investing, human beings are spoilt for choice on sources of information and lessons. The more the fledgling investor learns about investing the better equipped and more confident they will be to make good choices for themselves. So don’t panic if you’re starting out and fear tying yourself in knots, just keep weaving.


Open a new unit trust or tax-free savings account with 10X Investments before February 28 and pay no fees before July.

The content herein is provided as general information. It is not intended as nor does it constitute financial, tax, legal, investment, or other advice. 10X Investments is an authorised FSP (number 28250). 10X Index Fund Managers (RF) (Pty) Ltd is a Manager registered under the Collective Investment Schemes Control Act, 2002.


Website | + posts
Share on Your Socials

You May Also Like…


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!