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Cathy Sibanda, CFEI

by Team Sammy

Cathy Sibanda, CFEI

We are pleased to have Cathy Sibanda share with us some of her “first” money memories and responses to a few of our questions on kids and money.  Welcome Cathy!

About Cathy

Cathy is a mom, a wife, finance enthusiast and a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI).

She is a born again Christian and has been married for nine years. Her family is her greatest treasure. A busy mom; she is currently juggling between career, school and being an available mom.

Cathy lives in Gaborone, Botswana, Africa.

You can discover more about Cathy, her work and mission at: Financial Literacy Trust | Gaborone, Botswana

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In Her Own Words - Back Story

I was born in a small town called Lobatse, in the southern part of Botswana.

Having lost my mum at four years old, I grew up around lots of cousins, uncles, and aunts.

I vividly recall Sundays were for church without fail, school holidays were for visiting faraway relatives and school days were strictly for schooling and studying. No playing was permitted when schools were open.

I spent the greater part of my life in Gabane, a village in the outskirts of the capital city of Gaborone, with my family, almost all my school years.

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Budgeting is a Great Habit

Team Sammy: What was one of your first money memories?

Cathy Sibanda, CFEI: We did not have enough money at home when I was growing up. Nevertheless, my aunt would budget on a piece of paper whenever it was time to replenish our groceries.

The little pieces of paper served as once off budget sheets. If you were to peek on them, they had a list of items to buy and their estimated costs. That happened without fail.

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Candy Time

Team Sammy: What was your first saving experience or memory?

Cathy Sibanda, CFEI: To me having a few coins called for candy time. If I had money I would think of buying candy.

I started saving money once I was a university student. It is a positive habit I developed over time. Initially I relied on a stop order as I would always fail to save.

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Little Coins Land Right in the Piggy Bank

Team Sammy: Are you using a piggy bank, savings jar, envelopes or another mechanism with your children to teach them about saving? Please share a little about how it going.

Cathy Sibanda, CFEI: As a parent I have made it a goal to instill money skills in my kids at a young age.

My four year old already has a piggy bank for her coins. We are not there as yet but we are taking baby steps.

I am grateful that she appreciates the little coins she picks around the house and they land right in her piggy bank.

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Priceless Early Earning Memory

Team Sammy: What was your first job (formal or informal)? How much did you earn and what you did with the money?

Cathy Sibanda, CFEI: I wouldn’t regard it as a job, but at fourteen years old I used to write articles for a local newspaper. I would get paid P150, which is around 14/15 USD.

That was a lot money for form 2/grade 9 student at that time.

My then class teacher learnt of the opportunity. She pushed me to write. I would handwrite my stories and give them to her to submit to the Newspaper Office. Which she did, and would inform me once the issue was out.

She was very consistent at this, and encouraging me to write more. I would get the cheque from her, and go to the city on a Saturday morning to cash it at the bank. Having a cheque addressed specifically to me was priceless.

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A Wonderful Money Mentor

Team Sammy: Who was your primary or one your main money mentors as a child or teen?

Cathy Sibanda, CFEI: My late uncle – may his soul rest in peace, was my mentor. I think because I thought he had a lot of money, and he was a chartered accountant.

He was able to afford what he wanted and was an also a bread winner. He inspired me in many ways and influenced my love for numbers.

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Treasure Your Money

Team Sammy: At what age and how did you come to realize money had a value?

Cathy Sibanda, CFEI: I would say around ten years I knew money had value. You start learning and if you get money you really treasure and want to keep it at least.

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Financial Illiteracy a Big Challenge

Team Sammy: What piqued your interest in personal finance?

Cathy Sibanda, CFEI: A few years ago, I was in my final year for my first degree in Finance. As part of my study programme, I embarked on a dissertation entitled, ‘The Factors Affecting the Development of an emerging Capital Market: A case of the Botswana Stock Exchange’.

The findings of the study revealed that one of the challenges faced by the exchange is the nation’s financially illiteracy. I developed an interest on personal finance then and decided to take it upon myself to educate the nation on financial literacy.

It was just a dream. After graduation from the degree programme, I enrolled on a personal finance programme with the National Financial Educators Council to learn more about financial literacy.

Exactly a year later, the Financial Literacy Trust was born with a vision to raise a financially literate generation. The trust is an early market mover in financial literacy issues in Botswana.

Giving Wisely is a Great Habit!

Team Sammy: Does giving back start with focusing on your own financial health? What should we be teaching kids about giving responsibly?

Cathy Sibanda, CFEI: You cannot give what you don’t have.

The saying you cannot pour from an empty cup is true. Start with yourself first. Kids learn by observing what the parents or guardians around them do.

Let’s teach them but bear in mind that they are observing us. Our lives indirectly instill money behaviours in them.

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One Money Habit

Team Sammy: One question I ask everyone is: If you could only teach a child one money habit, what would it be and why?

Cathy Sibanda, CFEI: Saving is fundamental to achieving your financial freedom. Do it all the time, it will save you on a rainy day.

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Start at a Young Age

Team Sammy: Should financial literacy be taught in schools?

Cathy Sibanda, CFEI: Financial literacy is one of the important lessons. It is very unfortunate that it is not offered in schools in many countries including mine – Botswana.

Kids should be taught personal finance from a young age. Several research studies have proven that financial mindsets are developed from a young age. That is why in the Japanese culture they spend the first ten years of a child’s life instilling all the key principles.

In the absence of personal finance lessons at school, it is the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children understand the basic money skills.

To step in, we have established the Financial Literacy Academy to equip the kids and teens with money skills. 

My dream is to advocate for the inclusion of financial literacy as part of the school curricular in Botswana.

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A Favorite Money Quote

Team Sammy: Do you have a favorite money quote?

Cathy Sibanda, CFEI: Yes.

“College graduates spent 16 years gaining skills that will help them command a higher salary; yet little or no time is spent helping them save, invest and grow their money.’’ – Vince Shorb, National Financial Educators Council

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Five Financial Nuggets

Team Sammy: Is there anything else you would like to share?

Cathy Sibanda, CFEI: Learning money management should be everyone’s priority! Here are my top 5 financial nuggets:

(1) Savings, savings, and more savings! This will become your best friend on a rainy day. 

(2) Stay in your financial lane. Do not try to impress friends with money that you do not have. 

(3) Money and friends/family do not mix. If you are to have good relationships, don’t lend money to friends and family. 

(4) Do not make other people’s financial emergencies yours!

(5) No matter what, never stop building your emergency fund.

Thank you Cathy!!!

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