• 'It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years' – Abraham Lincoln
  • 'Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself' – John Dewey
  • 'If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you?
    Not much.'- Jim Rohn
  • 'Your present circumstances don’t determine where you go, they merely determine where you start' - Nido Quebein
  • 'I can’t change the direction of the wind but, I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination' – Jimmy Dean
  • 'What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail' – Robert H Schuller
  • ‘Don’t simply retire for something, have something to retire to’ – Harry Emerson Fosdick

Integrated National Disability Strategy

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CHAPTER ONE: SITUATION ANALYSIS

Prevalence of Disability in South Africa

There is a serious lack of reliable information on the nature and prevalence of disability in South Africa. This is because, in the past, disability issues were viewed chiefly within a health and welfare framework. This led naturally to a failure to integrate disability into mainstream government statistical processes.

Statistics are unreliable for the following reasons:

1. there are different definitions of disability;
2. different survey technologies are used to collect information;
3. there are negative traditional attitudes towards people with disabilities;
4. there is a poor service infrastructure for people with disabilities in underdeveloped areas, and
5. violence levels (in particular areas at particular times) have impeded the collection of data, affecting the overall picture. 

Some useful statistics are, however, available from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Central Statistical Service (CSS).(Footnote 1) These provide some guidance to estimated disability prevalence in South Africa.(Footnote 2)

The UNDP estimates that, in 1990, 5,2% of the world population was experiencing moderate to severe disability. This ranged from 7,7% in so-called developed countries to 4,5% in less developed areas.

In its 1995 October survey, the CSS reported a disability prevalence of approximately 5% in South Africa.

It is critical to note that disability does not only affect the disabled individual but also the family and the immediate community.

Another factor that must be taken into account is the tendency of society to view people with disabilities as a single group. Thus, people in wheelchairs have become the popular representation of people with disabilities. This ignores the diversity of disability and the variety of needs experienced by people with different types of disability. (Footnote 3)

Disability and Exclusion

Introduction

The majority of people with disabilities in South Africa have been excluded from the mainstream of society and have thus been prevented from accessing fundamental social, political and economic rights.

The exclusion experienced by people with disabilities and their families is the result of a range of factors, for example:

• the political and economic inequalities of the apartheid system;
• social attitudes which have perpetuated stereotypes of disabled people as dependent and in need of care; and
• a discriminatory and weak legislative framework which has sanctioned and reinforced exclusionary barriers.

The key forms of exclusion responsible for the cumulative disadvantage of people with disabilities are poverty, unemployment and social isolation.

  • Poverty and exclusion
  • Unemployment and exclusion
  • Exclusion through legislation

Sectors Experiencing High Levels of Exclusion

Introduction

It is important to recognise that there are sectors within the disabled community which have experienced greater discrimination than others. These sectors have experienced, and still experience, comparatively higher levels of exclusion from the social, economic and political environment.

This demands special targeting in order to redress past and present inequalities. Special attention must also be given to understanding and addressing the conditions which have led to the extreme vulnerability of these sectors.

The following are the most vulnerable groups:

  • Women with disabilities, particularly black disabled women
  • Children with disabilities, particularly black disabled children
  • People with severe intellectual or mental disabilities
  • Elderly people with disabilities
  • People with disabilities living in remote rural areas
  • Youth with disabilities
  • People with disabilities who have been displaced by violence and war
  • People with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (aids)
  • People with multi-disabilities

Causes of Disability

Many factors are responsible for the rising numbers of people with disabilities and their consequent isolation from the mainstream of society.

  • VIOLENCE AND WAR

Disabilities are caused by violence, especially against women and children; injuries as a result of landmines, and psychological trauma.

  • POVERTY

Disabilities are caused or exacerbated by overcrowded and unhealthy living conditions. Disability feeds on poverty, and poverty on disability.

  • LACK OF INFORMATION

People do not have accurate information about disability, its causes, its prevention and its treatment. This is because of a high illiteracy rate and poor knowledge about basic social, health and education services.

  • FAILURE OF MEDICAL SERVICES

The occurrence of disability is increased by the inadequacy of primary health care and genetic counselling services; weak organisational links between social services; the faulty treatment of the injured when accidents occur, and the incorrect use of medication.

  • UNHEALTHY LIFESTYLES

Disability is caused by the misuse and/or abuse of medication as well as the abuse of drugs and other substances. It is also caused by deficiencies in essential foods and vitamins. Disability may also be caused by stress and other psycho social problems in a changing society.

  • ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS

Disabilities are caused by epidemics, accidents and natural disasters; pollution of the physical environment, and poisoning by toxic waste and other hazardous substances.

  • ACCIDENTS

Disabilities are caused by industrial, agricultural and transport related accidents and sports injuries.

  • SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT

The fact that people with disabilities are marginalised and discriminated against creates an environment in which prevention and treatment are difficult.

The Medical Model

Introduction

Disability has historically been regarded predominantly as a health and welfare issue and state intervention has, therefore, been channelled through welfare institutions. The responsibility for 'caring' for disabled people has thus generally fallen on civil society. There has been little or no commitment to addressing disability in other areas of government responsibility.

The Medical Model of Disability means that organisations for people with disabilities are usually controlled by non disabled people who provide services to people with disabilities.

The vast majority of organisations for disabled people were founded by people concerned with creating a more 'caring' environment for different groups of disabled people.

Their aim was usually to provide treatment, or to create alternatives to begging or 'hiding away'. The philosophy was that disabled people were not to be hated or feared, but rather to be pitied or helped as part of the 'deserving poor'.

People with disabilities very seldom had any say in the aims, objectives and management of these organisations. The emphasis was on dependence and the focus on the nature of impairment. This meant that all interventions were based on assessment, diagnosis and labelling, with therapy programmes developed separately and through alternative services. Generally, ordinary needs were not taken into account.

The social attitudes which resulted from the perception of disability as a health and welfare issue have invaded all areas of society. The result is that disabled people and their families have been isolated from their communities and mainstream activities. Dependency on state assistance has disempowered people with disabilities and has seriously reduced their capacity and confidence to interact on an equal level with other people in society.

Thus the dependency created by the medical model disempowers disabled people and isolates them from the mainstream of society, preventing them from accessing fundamental social, political and economic rights.

Social exclusion manifests itself in:

  • The Family
  • The Built Environment
  • Mainstream Services
  • Social Relationship
  • Communications
  • The Labour Market and Employment Opportunities

DISABILITY AS A HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEVELOPMENT ISSUE

An understanding of disability as a human rights and development issue leads to a recognition and acknowledgement that people with disabilities are equal citizens and should therefore enjoy equal rights and responsibilities.

This implies that the needs for every individual are of equal importance, and that needs must be made the basis for planning. It further implies that resources must be employed in such a way as to ensure that every individual has equal opportunities for participation in society.

In addition to rights, people with disabilities should have equal obligations within society and should be given the support necessary to enable them to exercise their responsibilities. This means that society must raise its expectations of people with disabilities.

A human rights and development approach to disability focuses on the removal of barriers to equal participation and the elimination of discrimination based on disability.

The Social Model of Disability

The social model of disability suggests that the collective disadvantage of disabled people is due to a complex form of institutional discrimination. This discrimination is fundamental to the way society thinks and operates.

The social model is based on the belief that the circumstances of people with disabilities and the discrimination they face are socially created phenomena and have little to do with the impairments of disabled people. The disability rights movement believes, therefore, that the "cure" to the "problem" of disability lies in restructuring society.

The social model of disability implies a paradigm shift in how we construct disability. Thus:

  • It is the stairs leading into a building that disable the wheelchair user rather than the wheelchair.
  • It is defects in the design of everyday equipment that cause difficulties, not the abilities of people using it.
  • It is society's lack of skill in using and accepting alternative ways to communicate that excludes people with communication disabilities.
  • It is the inability of the ordinary schools to deal with diversity in the classroom that forces children with disabilities into special schools.(Footnote 12)

The social model therefore emphasises two things: the shortcomings of society in respect of disability, and the abilities and capabilities of people with disabilities themselves.

This results in an approach that requires that resources be made available to transform so-called "ordinary" amenities and services to cater for a more diverse environment.

The Social Model, therefore, implies that the reconstruction and development of our society involves a recognition of and intention to address the developmental needs of disabled people within a framework of inclusive development. Nation building, where all citizens participate in a single economy, can only take place if people with disabilities are included in the process.

Existing Disability Structures

Introduction

The paradigm shift (from the medical to the social model) has come about largely through the development of strong organisations of disabled people (DPOs). Central to the concept of the social model of disability is the principle of self-representation by people with disabilities through DPOs.

One of the most important initiatives undertaken by the DPOs over the past few years has been the development of a number of charters which express the demands and rights of people with disabilities in South Africa.

DISABLED PEOPLE'S ORGANISATIONS

Disabled People International (DPI) is recognised by the United Nations as the international assembly of disabled people. DPI recognises Disabled People South Africa (DPSA) as the national assembly of disabled people in South Africa. DPSA is a national organisation of smaller community-based disabled people's organisations.

Over the years, a number of parent organisations have also been founded. The Disabled Children Action Group (DICAG) has the largest membership, with affiliated community-based parent organisations throughout the country.

A number of national disability-specific DPOs, with international links, has also emerged over the years. These include:

  • The Deaf Federation of South Africa (DEAFSA)
  • The South African Blind Worker Organisation of South Africa (SABWO)
  • The National Organisation of the Blind in South Africa (NOBSA)
  • The South African Mental Health Federation
  • The Quadriplegic Association of South Africa (QUASA)
  • The Down Syndrome Forum of South Africa
  • The South African Epilepsy League

It is also important that people with intellectual or severe mental disabilities are able to speak for themselves through the use of advocates. The South African Federation for Mental Health has embarked on an advocacy programme to develop the concept of self-representation by people with severe mental and/or intellectual disabilities.

The disabled people and parent organisations concentrate on advocacy and development work aimed at empowering people with disabilities. Very few of them receive any government support.

SOUTH AFRICAN FEDERAL COUNCIL ON DISABILITY

The South African Federal Council on Disability (SAFCD) is the national umbrella body for all national disability NGOs. It is the national forum where all national welfare organisations, as well as national organisations of disabled people and parents, come together to negotiate and develop common visions for the equalisation of opportunities for people with disabilities. The national welfare councils concentrate on service delivery (Footnote 13) and are part-subsidised by government.

The following service/welfare organisations are affiliated to the SAFCD:

  • The Deaf Federation of South Africa (DEAFSA)
  • The South African National Council for the Blind (SANCB) The National Council for the Physically Disabled (NCPD)
  • The South African National Epilepsy League (SANEL)
  • The South African Federation for Mental Health (SAFMH)
  • The South African Foundation of Cheshire Homes
  • Occupational Therapy Association of South Africa (OTASA) Dm The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA)
  • South African Council for the Aged

Disabled and parent organisations that have affiliated include:

  • Disabled People South Africa (DPSA)
  • Disabled Children Action Group (DICAG)
  • Down Syndrome Forum of South Africa
  • The National Council of Quadriplegic Associations in South Africa (QUASA)

The SAFCD is the recognised structure interacting with Government on disability issues. Government and the SAFCD are currently investigating the feasibility of transforming the SAFCD into a statutory body.

The paradigm shift away from the medical towards the social model implies a change in the way financial support is provided by government. This meant that the development work engaged in by DPOs must be carefully evaluated against work done by the currently funded service organisations.

NATIONAL CO-ORDINATING COMMITTEE ON DISABILITY

The National Year of the Disabled in 1986 saw the establishment of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Disability (ICCD). Its function was to implement the recommendations of the 1986 Report on disability. This structure was, however, disbanded in 1992 after the national disability rights movement pointed out that not a single recommendation had been acted upon.

The National Co-ordinating Committee on Disability (NCCD) was eventually established in 1993 to serve as a co-ordinating and advisory body to government on disability matters during the transitional period. Membership falls within three main categories, namely: key national government departments; national disability service/welfare organisations, and national disabled people organisations.

Four permanent working commissions (on prevention, rehabilitation, equal opportunities and public awareness) and a committee on legislation spearheaded policy proposals in key areas during the transitional period. The South African Disability Institute (SADI) was founded to lend a facilitating, co-ordinating and supporting role.

The NCCD is currently being restructured. After extensive negotiations between government and the NCCD, it was decided that SAFCD should become the representative structure of people with disabilities.

OFFICE ON THE STATUS OF DISABLED PERSONS

The NCCD played a key role in the establishment of the Disability Programme in the Ministry without Portfolio in the Office of the President which was responsible for the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). On the closure of this Ministry, the Office on the Status of Disabled Persons was moved to the Office of the Deputy President where it now has directorate status.

CHAPTER ONE: NOTES

(1) 1995 October Household Survey

(2) Although estimates of disability prevalence vary considerably, the studies completed by the UNDP and the Central Statistical Service provide important information on the nature and effect of disability on individuals and families in South Africa. This information is reinforced by the recorded experiences of disabled people and their families. Data has also been collected by organisations representing and working with this sector of the population.

(3) Reports of the abuse of deaf children in schools are common. These children are a particularly victimised group because, without an interpreter, they are unable to communicate their plight.

(4 )In 1993, disability grants were paid out to 593 162 people. The average grant (1993) of R350 paid out to approximately 30% of people with disabilities was often used to support entire families.

(5) The Disabled Children Action Group (DICAG) estimates that 98% of mothers of children with disabilities living in rural areas are unemployed, semi-literate or functionally illiterate single women. Deserted by husbands and lovers, often socially ostracised by their communities, and banished into isolation by their extended families, they tend to withdraw into a world of their own.

(6) Such as fetching water or firewood, and paying dearly for private transport to hospitals, schools and pension pay

(7) For example, the loss of social security benefits; the inability of agencies to provide safe accessible shelter, abuse

(8) Although the overall policy recommendation is for the inclusion of children with disabilities in mainstream education, the Deaf community believes that Deaf children need special schools, claiming that this is of cardinal importance for their concept and learning acquisition.

(9) For example, entrances and toilet facilities of public buildings, poor town planning, etc.

(10) Such as day care, education, transport, health, sport and recreation, etc.

(11) Such as public media, public service communication systems.

(12) Footnote 16 refers.

(13) For example, social work services, sheltered employment, assistive device provisioning, rehabilitation services, employment placement.

Successful disabled athlete, Natalie du Toit

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Natalie du Toit is one of the most successful disabled athletes of all times, and an inspiration to many. She is one of the most recognisable faces and names in sport
and public life in South Africa.

Having competed at the Kuala Lumpur Games in 1998 as an able bodied athlete at the age of 14, she lost her leg in a motorcycle accident in 2001. Despite this setback, she was determined to compete at the Manchester Games both as an able bodied and disabled competitor just to prove it could be done. She achieved her goal, swimming into a creditable eighth place in the able bodied 800m Freestyle, and winning gold in the 50 and 100m Elite Athletes with a Disability (EAD) events.

In May 2008 Natalie became the first athlete in history to qualify for both the Olympic (for able-bodied athletes) and the Paralympic Games in the same year, when qualifying for the 10km open water race at the open water world championships in Seville.

PUBLIC SPEAKING

Natalie's story has become an inspiration for many people in South Africa and all over the world. She shares her life's journey with audiences in a candid, informal
way that is both riveting and motivational. Finding time in her busy training schedule is not easy, but she is available to schools, companies and other groups who may benefit from her talks.

SUMMARY OF NATALIE'S SPEECH

Everyone goes through good and bad times in life. However, we always tend to focus on the good things and celebrate them; we ignore the bad things, which unfortunately often end up hindering us. My story is a personal journey of how I have learnt to face my good and bad situations and deal with it in a manner that I understand would be the best.

What I have done (and are still busy doing) to overcome my adversity and the lessons I’ve learned along the way, I believe holds true regardless of your age, sex, race, religion, nationality or financial standing. It all comes from selfbelief - an exceptionally powerful tool, if we could just learn how to use it correctly every day.

Put life and disability cover at the top of your New Year's Resolutions and List of Priorities for 2015.

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Just as you make sure that your briefcase is packed for the office and your children’s school clothes are in order, so you should also make sure that your personal financial affairs are in order and what a better time than now to reflect on your personal finances.

For complete peace of mind, make sure you can tick all the points on the check-list below before you rock 2015.

1. Cover against the proverbial bus

By the end of this year some 130 000 South African income earners would have lost their lives, while an estimated 43 000 earners would have suffered total and permanent disability. Given South Africa’s poor road safety track record over the festive season, many of these actuarially predicted deaths and disability cases would sadly have happened in the last month or so, says Peter Dempsey, deputy CEO of the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA).

Dempsey says every income earner should make sure that they have enough death and disability cover in place. “As an income earner it is your responsibility to make sure that your family is looked after financially should you die. In the case of disability, the additional financial impact of having to care for the special needs of a disabled family member no longer able to earn an income is often underestimated.”

The 2013 Life and Disability Insurance Gap Study conducted on behalf of ASISA by True South Actuaries & Consultants in partnership with the UNISA Bureau of Market Research (BMR) shows that people earning more than R150 000 a year are most critically underinsured.

On average households supported by these earners would need to find an additional income of R10 000 a month should a breadwinner die and R20 000 a month to plug the gap should one of the earners become disabled. The alternative would be to cut household expenses by 36% in the event of death or by 46% should the earner become disabled.

What to do now: If you currently do not have life or disability insurance cover, meet with a financial adviser. It is important that you decide on the right level of cover with the help of a trusted financial adviser as your decision will be influenced by how much you can afford to pay in premiums, your number of dependents, your life style, and your debts.

If you do have life insurance policies, meet with your financial adviser to review the cover. Most people underestimate how much life and disability cover they require.

2. Cut the red tape for your beneficiaries

Make sure that you have completed the beneficiary nomination form for your life policies. If you do not specify a beneficiary, your life insurance proceeds form part of the estate. Since your bank accounts will be frozen on death, this means your family will have to wait some time before they receive money, and only after all debts have been repaid by the estate.

If you do have a beneficiary nomination in place, the life insurance company will pay out within days provided the necessary documents have been submitted and no foul play is suspected in the cause of your death.

What to do now: Check with your financial adviser or the life company whether you have previously completed a beneficiary nomination form. If you have, ensure that your nominations are still relevant and that the percentages of the proceeds to be allocated to them are correct.

Also remember that trustees of all pension funds and retirement annuities (RAs) have to abide by Section 37C of the Pension Funds Act, which states that the trustees of a retirement fund are obliged to consider all dependents together with nominated beneficiaries when allocating the death benefit. Therefore, when you nominate beneficiaries for your pension fund or RA, make sure you put down the names of all people who are financially dependent on you, even if it is your ex-spouse. This will speed up the process and ensure that those who did depend on you financially continue to receive financial support. If your beneficiary nominations are incomplete or not up to date it can take the trustees up to 12 months to finalize a payout.

3. Document your last wishes

Make sure that you do not die without a will. This would result in endless and unnecessary complications for those you leave behind.

If you have children, give careful thought to what should happen to them if you and your partner are killed at the same time. While this is one of the most difficult situations to think about, it is also one of the most important. Often this decision will also impact on your beneficiary nominations.

What to do now: Contact your financial adviser, your lawyer, your bank or your life insurer for assistance. To speed up the process, give careful thought as to what your will must state. The list below will also help you prepare.

4. Emergency contacts

Does your family know who to contact regarding your finances should the proverbial bus strike and you do not return home one day?

What to do now: Compile a list of people that your family should contact in an emergency. Top of your list should be your financial adviser, together with your policy numbers and details of other investments.

You should also list bank accounts, medical aid details, and short-term insurance details, especially if these are in your name. If you have debts, list the details as well so that the person dealing with your estate can make contact with the relevant institutions. Most importantly, make sure that everyone knows where to find this list. Also maintain an up-to date list of assets and liabilities, where they are held and what the values are.

How to Live With Disabilities

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Two Parts: Adjusting Emotionally & Adjusting Physically

Having a disability, be it new or chronic, can seem incredibly difficult. Society is set up so that it caters towards people who are not disabled, even though 20% of people around the world have disabilities. Regardless of your location or lifestyle, there are changes you can make that makes living with a disability easier, and your life happier. By adjusting both emotionally and physically, you'll be able to settle into a happy and comfortable life, even with a disability.

Part 1 of 2: Adjusting Emotionally

1. Accept your situation. Possibly the hardest aspect of emotionally adjusting to a disability is coming to terms with your prognosis. While it is always good to hope for and work towards recovery, if you do so while looking at your current state with disdain, you’ll end up depressed and unsuccessful. You need to accept your current situation as well as your possible future. By doing so, you’ll be able to focus your efforts on improving your standard of living, rather than on how upset you are with the way things are working out.

• Don’t confuse acceptance with laziness. Accepting simply means that you fully understand that your situation is what it is; you still have the ability to work on   improving it, though.
• Denying or ignoring the severity of your disability can make regular emotional and physical tasks much more difficult.

2. Don’t focus on your past. If you are new to having a disability as a result of an accident or a progressing illness, it can be very hard not to compare your present state to the way things were in the past. Letting go of your past goes hand in hand with accepting your situation. You don’t need to forget the way you were previously, but you shouldn’t look at your past with despair because of your present situation. Enjoy the memories from the past (before you might have suffered a disability) but don’t let them hold you back. Always be in the process of moving forward and aiming to improve your current situation.

• You can still spend time reminiscing, but don’t let it depress you.
• If you find that you spend all your time thinking about your life before, you should aim to do other activities that   force you to plan for the future.

3. Do your best to keep positive. People who are optimistic when suffering a troubling circumstance tend to be happier and healthier than those who are cynical about their lives. You can make a huge difference in your mental and physical functioning by aiming to stay positive even when you’re going through some difficult things. Although the idiom might be worn out, always look on the bright side. You can’t be reliant on external stimuli and experiences for your happiness; you need to take responsibility for your own happiness, or you may never find it.

• Try to find the good in each situation, even if it is something small. For example, if an old friend stops hanging out with you, see that it is good that you now know who your true friends are.
• Whenever you feel like making a negative comment, consciously stop yourself. Some people use the ‘rubber band trick’, in which they keep a rubber band around their wrist which they snap themselves with every time they have a negative thought, to condition themselves to be more positive.

4. Don’t isolate yourself. It can be tempting to want to avoid people and social situations when you’re depressed, but doing so will only make you feel worse. Don’t use your disability as an excuse to isolate yourself from friends, family, and activities you love. Instead, you should be doing the opposite. Take whatever chances you’re given to get out and experience new and exciting things. Hang out with friends, go to social gatherings, visit family, try new hobbies. You’ll be much happier if you’re doing enjoyable things with people you love.

• Spending time by yourself is different from isolating yourself. You should always try to fit in alone time, but don’t spend all of your time alone.
• Consider having a weekly date with a close friend or family member. That way, even if you are very busy, you’ll always have a reason to get out and see someone you enjoy.

5. Focus on your strengths. Something like a disability can make it easy to see all your faults and flaws, and difficult to see your strengths and abilities. Instead of looking at the things you can no longer do, instead, look at the things you are still quite good at. Additionally, encourage and grow these strengths whenever possible. If you have a difficult time writing because your hand shakes too much, try using that to paint beautiful watercolors instead. There are always going to things that you can do, and you should aim to do those things well.

• When talking about your disability, don’t focus on listing things you’re no longer able to accomplish. Always speak about your abilities first.
• Consider taking classes that will help you to grow your talents and abilities.

6. Consider seeing a psychologist. Although the thought of telling a stranger your problems might initially seem cringe worthy, there is no better person to help you through transitioning with a disability than a psychologist. Psychologists are trained to help people deal with the mental and emotional trauma that may accompany a new disability, and are able to provide you with the resources and services you need to overcome yours. Look for psychologists in your area who specialize in disability services, and make an appointment to see them. If nothing else, seeing a counselor regularly is a good way to help deal with problems you might be struggling with unrelated to your disability.

• If you’re suffering from an emotional or mental illness correlated to your disability, a psychologist will be able to offer therapy and medication to help out.
• Always be upfront and open about discussing your problems with a psychologist. The more honesty you have, the more help you can get.

7. Attend group therapy classes. Group therapy (like AA) for people who have disabilities is a great way to not only overcome your emotional struggles, but to also meet other people dealing with the same types of issues as you. It may seem like a waste of time, but it has shown that people who attend group therapy regularly end up happier and better emotionally adapted to their disabilities. Look for group therapy in your area, and see if there are classes specialized to the disability you’re dealing with.

• If you’re seeing a psychologist, they will likely have suggestions for group therapy you may attend.

Part 2 of 2: Adjusting Physically

1. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. One of the biggest stumbling blocks to overcome when new to a disability is becoming comfortable asking for help, when necessary. Although it can be frustrating or embarrassing, asking for help is often something that must be done. Know when it is appropriate to do something on your own, but don’t stress your limits. Pushing yourself too hard to accomplish something could actually be dangerous and cause you physical injury. Learn that you should not be ashamed of asking for help, and getting aid does not mean that you are not successful or incapable of accomplishing what you want.

• If necessary, make sure that you have people (or a nurse) around at all times to offer you help.
• Consider getting a service dog, if applicable.

2. Look into government help programs. It’s not easy having a disability, but you don’t have to struggle without support. If your disability significantly impacts your daily life, there are programs through the government and major charity organizations that are available for help. Get in contact with a local social worker to find out what programs you qualify for, and how they can benefit you.

• Keep in mind that many programs require multiple doctors visits to verify your disability, so don’t be offended if you’re asked for verification via a new doctor.
• Search charities in your area that might be able to help with your specific disability.

3. Consider getting a service dog. Service dogs are incredibly beneficial for two separate reasons: they may be able to help you perform tasks that your disability prevents you from performing, and they also supply animal-therapy, reducing your risk of depression and loneliness. If your disability prevents you from successfully accomplishing everyday tasks, you should look into getting a trained service dog. A service dog will allow you to get help whenever you need it, without being reliant or dependent on individuals in your life.

• There may be a government program or charity organization that can help provide you with a service dog.
• Some service dog programs have long waiting lists, so keep in mind that you might not get yours immediately.

4. Maintain hobbies and interests, when possible. If you stop doing your favorite things, you’ll only feel worse. When at all possible, do your best to maintain your favorite hobbies and activities. If things you previously loved to do are no longer easy for you, look for new ways to perform them. For example, if you used to love to read but can no longer accomplish that, consider listening to audio-books; if you are now using a wheelchair and love sports, look for teams in your area that accommodate wheelchairs.

• Consider starting new hobbies, too.
• Taking classes for a new hobby is a good way to be social and to do something you enjoy.

5. Keep up your overall health. Good diet and regular exercise are important for everyone, but can be especially helpful when you’re transitioning into a life with a disability. Make sure that you are eating regular meals that incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables. Try to do physical activity every day, depending on what your skill set and level is. Keeping your diet and exercise in check will also reduce the risk of depression and loneliness, as they both increase levels of dopamine and serotonin (happy hormones) in the brain.

• If necessary, look into doing physical therapy as your daily exercise.
• Always check with your doctor before significantly altering your diet.
• Regular exercise will help you to build and maintain muscles which may help overcome a physical disability.

6. Look for jobs which compliment your abilities. You may find that as a result of your disability, you are unable to keep a former job or to perform job tasks you used to be able to. In order to stay financially aloft and entertained, you should look for a new job that you can be successful in regardless of your disability. Make a list of the things you’re good at, and possible occupations that relate to those talents. Search for these types of jobs in your area, and see what comes up. Remember, it is illegal for an employer to even ask about your disability, so so long as you’re able to accomplish the job at hand, your disability should not prevent you from being hired.

• Workplaces which are under the American Disabilities Act must provide you with accommodation, if they’re able.
• Consider doing volunteer work for fun, if finances are not an issue.

Disability: Are You Financially Prepared?

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It strikes like a bolt from the blue: unwanted, unexpected, unwelcome. Unfortunately, many of us are totally unprepared for the financial hit that disability can bring.

Imagine: you're suddenly unable to work. Without an income, you quickly exhaust your savings, undermining your family's financial security. The money you've managed to put away for a vacation, the kids' education, and your own retirement now has to be spent on gas, groceries, and other necessities. The worry is suffocating. The stress and sleepless nights can seem unbearable.

Worse, it could continue for a long time. Long-term disability lasts 31.2 months, on average, so the long-term financial impact can be devastating. Over half of all personal bankruptcies and mortgage foreclosures are a consequence of disability, according to a 2005 Harvard study. 

Most people live month to month. There's little or no money left for unexpected emergencies like an injury or illness - the primary causes of disability.

What can you do?

Prepare a plan. Our Financial Security Plan provides a painless guide to preparing for the unthinkable. Plus, it's a lot faster and easier than squirreling away 31.2 months’ worth of savings! Start planning today so you'll be ready tomorrow.

 Your Disability Security Plan

You hope it never happens, of course. But ignoring the possibility is hardly the answer. Does preparing for disability seem overwhelming? It's not. Aspire Wealth Management has created a simple, five step Financial Security Plan to give you a clearer understanding of your financial "big picture," including:

  • Your sources of income, monthly expenses and lifestyle
  • The impact a long-term disability could have on them
  • Preparing a plan of action to address the crisis

Step 1. Complete the Personal Monthly Budget.

If you have not done so already. The first step is getting a clear picture of where your money is coming from and where it's going.

Download >> PERSONAL MONTHLY BUDGET WORKSHEET

Step 2. Adjust your expenses

Once you've completed your Income/Expense Review, you may discover that a disability could turn your expenses "upside-down." In other words, your expenses would exceed your income. So Step 2 is looking for ways to reduce spending. Where could you cut?

  • Restaurants
  • Entertainment
  • TV (DSTV)
  • Holidays
  • Club and gym memberships
  • What else?

Step 3. Find Additional Sources of Income

Now that you've pruned unnecessary spending, it's time to look for alternate sources of income. Without your usual paycheck, you'll need extra money to help you and your loved ones weather the financial storm.

Here are some other potential sources of income to explore if you become disabled.

  • Employer Sick Pay

Does your employer has sick pay programs for employees? Eligibility and payments vary from company to company. It's important to know in advance what payments might be available to you if you can't work. Ask your human resources manager for program details.

  • Disability Insurance Benefits

Disability insurance can be an invaluable lifeline for disabled workers and their families.

o If your employer offers disability insurance make sure you fully understand what benefits are available to you and how your company's disability insurance program works.
o If disability insurance is NOT provided by your employer, it can be purchased individually at affordable rates. Contact your insurance agent for more information.
o Self-employed individuals can also benefit greatly by having disability insurance. Consult your financial advisor or insurance agent for assistance.

  • Disability Grant and Workers' Compensation

These two programs form the cornerstones of financial security for a majority of disabled South African workers.

o Disability Grant
If you become disabled, you may qualify for disability benefits through the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA). The maximum value of the Disability Grant is R1,350 per month.

Visit the http://www.sassa.gov.za/index.php/social-grants/disability-grant for more information.

o Workmens Compensation
To provide for compensation for disablement caused by occupational injuries or diseases sustained or contracted by employees in the course of their employment, or for death resulting from such injuries or diseases; and to provide for matters connected therewith. If you're injured at work or suffer a work-related illness, you may qualify for workers' compensation benefits.

Visit the http://www.labour.gov.za/DOL/find-more-info/all-about-workmens-compensation for more information.

  • Personal savings

A small percentage of South Africans are lucky enough to have savings, investments or other financial resources that can supplement or replace their income during a prolonged disability. The rest of us, unfortunately, are not so lucky. Any disability, especially one lasting more than 90 days, would quickly drain our savings. Savings are disturbingly low in South Africa and relative to our peers. As of 2013, our national gross savings rate, as a percentage of GDP, stood at 13.5 percent, an unfortunate decline from 14.2 percent in 2012. Households contributed a meagre 1.7 percent to the gross savings rate, although the number has remained stable in the recent years, which is a positive sign.

  • "Last Resort" income sources

If all else fails, you can begin paying expenses with credit cards, get a second bond, withdraw money from your retirement plan, and ask family and friends for assistance.

Step 4. Stay Healthy

One of the best ways to reduce your chances of becoming disabled - and enriching your overall quality of life - is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Taking responsibility for your fitness and well-being can have a direct beneficial impact on your physical, psychological and financial health. Make sure staying healthy is part of your Personal Financial Security Plan.

Step 5. Take Action

The Income/Expense Review provided an estimate of what your net income would be during a period of disability. Now it's time to develop your action plan.

o Make a checklist of those specific actions including top priorities and timelines.
o Include a wellness program, develop healthy eating habits and incorporate exercise into your daily lifestyle.
o Update your plan every year your personal and financial circumstances are continually changing.

Whatever your age, it's never too soon (or too late) to begin. By building a personal financial plan, you and your family will be better prepared to face the future - no matter what!

15 Quick and Easy School Lunches to pack for your kids.

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1. Easy Italian Hero

Toss thinly sliced iceberg lettuce with a mixture of yellow mustard and mayonnaise. Assemble a sandwich on a split hoagie roll using sliced provolone, salami, turkey, tomatoes, and the iceberg lettuce mixture.

 

2. Ham & Cheese Quesadillas

Spread mustard on a whole wheat tortilla, then top with slices of Jarlsberg cheese and ham. Add a layer of baby spinach leaves, then fold to enclose and cook on a Panini press or in a hot skillet until the tortilla is golden and the cheese melts. Let cool slightly, then cut into wedges before packing.

3. Waldorf Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Combine shredded rotisserie chicken, chopped apples and celery, walnuts, raisins, and mayonnaise. Spread the cut side of a split whole wheat hamburger bun with mayonnaise and assemble the sandwich using the chicken salad and butter lettuce leaves.

4. Shrimp Rolls

Combine chopped cooked shrimp, mayonnaise, lemon juice, chopped celery and fresh tarragon and black pepper. Transfer to an airtight container and pack with a whole wheat hot dog bun.

5. Mini-Bagel Breakfast Sandwich

Spread the bottom of a split, toasted mini-bagel with cream cheese, Canadian bacon or pancetta, a scrambled egg and a tomato slice. Spread more cream cheese on the bagel's top slice before setting into place.

 

6. Barbecue Chicken Sloppy Joes

Toss chopped tomatoes and shredded rotisserie chicken and carrots with barbecue sauce and heat through. Toss the mixture with chopped cilantro or parsley and transfer to an airtight container. Pack with a whole wheat hamburger bun for assembly at lunch.

7. Avocado, Carrot and Cucumber Sushi

Brush a toasted nori sheet with sesame oil and season with salt. Press cold sushi rice on top in a thin layer. Tightly roll avocado slices, shredded carrots and cucumber sticks. Slice crosswise and pack with a packet of soy sauce.

 

8. Arnold Palmer Sandwich

Combine finely chopped hard-boiled eggs and pickles with mustard and mayonnaise, then spread on a slice of multigrain bread. Combine drained canned tuna, finely chopped celery and onion, mayonnaise and lemon juice, then spread on another slice of bread. Sprinkle with torn basil leaves and assemble.

9. BLTA Wraps

Mash an avocado with lemon juice, then spread on a whole wheat wrap. Top with crumbled bacon, chopped tomatoes, and thinly sliced romaine lettuce. Roll up and wrap in parchment or wax paper to secure.

 

10. Chicken Salad Rolls

Combine diced smoked turkey, toasted almonds, halved seedless red grapes, thinly sliced celery and mayonnaise. Transfer to an airtight container; pack with a whole wheat hot dog bun for your talented kid to assemble. Or not.

 

11. Corn and Baby Marrow Fritters

Prepare a batch of whole wheat pancake batter, using about 1/2 the liquid. Stir in a cup thawed frozen corn, one small grated baby marrow and a handful of Parmesan, and a sliced scallion. The baby marrow will add moisture; add more liquid if the batter is too stiff. Cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Pack with Greek yogurt for dipping.

12. The Elvis Burrito

Spread peanut butter on a toasted whole-wheat wrap, then sprinkle with crumbled bacon and drizzle with honey. Place a whole banana at the edge of the wrap, then roll, pressing gently to break the banana and form a cylinder shape. Or, slice the banana, scatter, and roll.

13. Ham & Cream Cheese Pita Pockets

Spread a creamy cheese, inside a whole wheat pita, then fill with ham slices, baby spinach leaves and cucumber slices.

 

14. Chips and Dips

Combine chopped fresh tomatoes, lime juice, finely chopped white onion and chopped fresh cilantro. Pack flaxseed tortilla chips with small containers of the salsa, avocados mashed with lemon juice, and Greek yogurt.

 

15. Roast Beef Pita Pockets

Spread the inside of a toasted pita pocket with mayonnaise, then fill with thinly sliced roast beef, cheese and cole slaw.

Register NOW - ACSIS Client Presentations

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Acsis Client Presentation, 2015

The Acsis client presentations is about the investment strategies, market and economic performance as well as overview on the local and global economy.

Presentation Dates:

27 January – Durban REGISTER NOW
28 January – Port Elizabeth REGISTER NOW
29 January – Cape Town  (evening presentation) REGISTER NOW
30 January – Cape Town  (lunchtime presentation) REGISTER NOW

05 February - Knysna REGISTER NOW
09 February – East Rand REGISTER NOW
10 February – Pretoria REGISTER NOW
11 February – Johannesburg REGISTER NOW

Save the Date:

Discovery Vitality Wellness Day, 07 March 2015  – Aspire Wealth Management Offices

The wellness programme that rewards you for getting healthier.
Vitality helps you to get healthier by giving you the knowledge, tools, personalized wellness
programmes and motivation to improve your health. Apart from the fact that a healthy lifestyle
is more rewarding, it’s been clinically proven that Vitality members live longer and have lower
healthcare costs than non-Vitality members. So join today and start the journey to a healthier
you and a more rewarding lifestyle.

Aspire’s Office & Staff get their Christmas "spirit" on...

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As the year 2014 nears its end and all the colorful decorations of the festive season luminate the streets and stores, Aspire’s team decided to share in the Christmas cheer. And so it happened, Aspire’s offices underwent a seasonal makeover of their own on Friday the 21st of November with tinsel, reindeers, fairy lights the works.

Whilst decorating the Christmas tree it was discovered that some of our staff have never celebrated Christmas with any traditional decorations or exchange in gifts as many of us know it. They were extremely awe struck at tradition of the “star” mounted on top of the tree, to the kind of foods enjoyed on Christmas Day, simply things we so very much often forget the true meaning of. In the Christmas Spirit, Aspire surprised staff members with their very own Christmas tree, decorations, Christmas stocking filled with small gifts and a gift to be placed under their tree to be enjoyed with their families.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interesting trivia on the origin of the Christmas tree

"That pretty German toy, a Christmas tree" (1848), The Illustrated London News

Use of a Christmas angel as a tree-topper represents the angel Gabriel from the Nativity of Jesus

Use of a star represents the Star of Bethlehem

The use of the angel tree-topper goes back to the Victorian era, corresponding to the rise in popularity of Christmas trees in England. The Illustrated London News published a picture of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and their family around a Christmas tree topped with an angel, and by its influence the Christmas angel became the most common tree-topper. During the 1870s, in conjunction with the growing power of the British Empire, the Union Jack had become the most popular tree-topper. In Jewish homes that use a Hanukkah bush, the Star of David is used as a tree-topper. Some Neo-pagan homes celebrate the winter solstice, which falls close to Christmas, by decorating an evergreen tree as a symbol of continuing life, but make an effort to decorate it with non-Christian symbols and often choose tree-toppers representing the sun.

21 Things not to forget to pack when going on Holiday

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Heading to the Sahara without a hat? Up the creek without a paddle? Avoid a vacation disaster with our travel checklist and packing tips.

With your flights and hotel booked, the luggage is the last thing stopping you from that great holiday. We know it feels like a chore, but if you follow our expert packing tips you’ll never have to worry.

1. Make a list

Ok, so it sounds a little boring, but idiot-proof lists are the gateway to a stress-free holiday. Separate your essentials from your desirables, and be realistic with your luggage limitations. If you need list inspiration – the following might be a good place to start…

2. Don’t forget the first aid kit

We’re not asking you to prepare for ER, just a small bag with the most necessary pills and medicine you might need. After all, nobody wants to suffer a punishing headache, high-climate fever, upset stomach or all three during a holiday. It might be easy enough to pick up a domestic remedy for your ailments at home, but medicines in the country you are visiting may be limited to prescription only. The same goes for allergy meds and asthma remedies – bring them on board!

3. Limit your liquids

We all know about it by now, and yet there’s still a mass confusion and hold-up when some chancer tries to sneak a bottle of water past airport security. Much to everybody’s chagrin, pan-European baggage restrictions state that all liquids carried in hand luggage must be no more than 100 ml per item, and must fit into one small and resealable transparent bag (usually available at the airport for a nominal fee). If you’re carrying anything larger, stow it with your checked-in suitcase.

4. Name tags are there to help

Unless you’re an international man of mystery, you shouldn’t have to worry about travelling incognito. Most suitcases come with name tags fitted as standard, so be sure to fill them in just in case you – or the airline – lose your luggage!

5. Observe restrictions on baggage

Overstuffing your suitcase is never a good idea! If your airline says: “23kg”, then they mean 23kg! Weigh your bags before you get to the airport and make sure you are within the restrictions, otherwise you’ll be forced to cough up extra cash at the airport or, even worse, have to say goodbye to that lovely hand-knitted cardigan your grandmother spent so long slaving over. We’ve all tried to squeeze that extra pair of pants in the already overstuffed suitcase, but the restrictions are there for a reason, and that reason is your safety. Which reminds us…

6. Save bag space for all your holiday purchases

Whether its duty free goods or holiday mementos, it’s inevitable that you’ll be bringing more back home with you than when you left – so make sure you have room for it!

7. Skip the shoes

The biggest and most frustrating item of luggage. How many pairs of shoes you should take is very much dependent on how long your vacation might be, but we’d suggest that three pairs is a reasonable average for a 1-2 week getaway. More important than volume is versatility, so make sure you’re not stuck hiking in stilettos by bringing a pair of shoes for every realistic occasion of your trip. Wear your most cumbersome pair on the plane – plus, stuff your socks in the rest – and you’ll save even more space.

8. Cosmetics – at a minimum!

Unless you plan on travelling to a desert island, it’s likely that you’ll be able to pick up popular shampoo or sun lotion brands in almost any corner of the world. Fewer cosmetics also mean that you’ll be less likely to find an explosion of nondescript gooey liquids spoiling everything in your suitcase when you arrive at your destination. If you really can’t live without that special face cream, try to take only as much as you’ll need for your trip and nothing more. That way you can discard the empties and save extra luggage room for your trip back home.

9. Keep on rolling…

This tip is certainly up for debate, but we think that rolling your clothes really is the only way to go. Not only will it reduce those pesky wrinkles and creases in your gear, it’ll save you some much needed suitcase space.

10. All valuables & equipment go in hand luggage

It’s rare that airlines lose luggage these days, but why take the risk? Stay safe and stow all your expensive luxuries – from your camera to your diamond engagement ring – in hand luggage.

11. Don’t forget the adapters

If you do need them, save on the crazy airport prices by buying them ahead of your trip.

12. Pack all-rounder fashions, not eccentric statement pieces

You might want to pack that banana costume for your trip, but is it really necessary? Fancy dress or no, this is a question you should really ask yourself when pressed for suitcase space. Pack great all-rounder attire and a classy evening outfit, but leave those outlandish statement pieces for a night out at home.

13. Be delicate with your "delicates"

If you have to pack any china plates or glass goods, wrapping them in bubble wrap or in-between clothes and putting them right in the middle of your case is safest way to make sure they arrive with you in one piece.

14. Categorise your clothes

Pack clothes in groups: that means shirts with shirts, pants with pants -it’s easier to find what you need and unpack on the other side.

15. Pack a mini closet in your hand luggage

Not literally, of course, but it’s always a nice idea to add a clean set of underwear and a garment in your carry-on bag, in case of your luggage being lost in an airplane mix-up.

16. Don’t predict the weather – check it

Don’t leave home without your umbrella. Depending on where you’re going, weather forecasts are either your holiday’s best friend or biggest foe. Come rain or shine, meteorologists will always give you the best idea of what weather to expect on your holiday. Check the day before you fly and pack accordingly, and save room for that trusty pac-a-mac or umbrella you hope you’ll never have to use.

17. No on-board manicure

Tip for the well-groomed flyer: if you’re thinking about carrying a nail file, scissors, or any other sharp primping tool in your luggage – give up the idea! They are prohibited and airport workers will ask you to get rid of them.

18. The most necessary things go on top

If you believe that a particular thing can be useful to you very soon (perhaps at the airport), for example, a jacket – put it on top. Very obvious advice, but perhaps it’s so obvious that you’d be bound to forget otherwise!

19. Towels?

Towels! Yet another pesky space-filler you need to think long and hard about whether you actually need. Check ahead of time to see if your holiday accommodation will be providing them (they probably will) and pack accordingly.

20. Strip at airport security

It’s unlikely you’ll be asked to strip down to your undergarments, but it’s possible that you’ll be asked to undress a bit as you go through to the terminal. This usually means taking shoes, belts and jackets off, and removing any jewellery or metal goods. Travelling with a laptop or tablet device? Be prepared to present your gadgets to the friendly security staff too.

21. Don’t leave home without the essentials

This penultimate tip is a big one as, without these necessities, you won’t be heading anywhere but home: check and check again that you have your monies, a valid passport and – for the sake of your holiday companions – a toothbrush. Keep these all on hand and then you’ll be able to remember the most important thing…

Important Safety Tips for a hassle free Holiday

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Unfortunately when we are on holiday, we tend to be relaxed and care free and let down your guard - which often means that you could become a target. As in other countries, there are a few basic precautions you should take in South Africa to ensure that your stay is as pleasant and safe as possible:       

  • Avoid ostentatious displays of expensive jewellery, cameras and other valuables.
  • Ensure that you have a map or guide of the area, as well as emergency contact numbers. (The AA provides a range of popular regional and town / city maps).
  • Orientate yourself with the area by consulting the map, speaking to the owner or manager of the hotel, resort or campsite that you are staying at. They can advise and assist on the area - providing you with safety tips or hints, as well as what to do, and maybe some “hidden treasures” that only locals are aware of. In this way you will not look like a tourist - as you will move around with some purpose.
  • It is definitely not advisable to carry large sums of money around, or if you do carry it in a money belt.
  • At night, steer clear of dark, isolated areas.
  • If on foot, it's better to explore in groups and stick to well-lit, busy streets.
  • Plan your route beforehand.
  • A policeman or traffic officer will be happy to assist you if you get lost or need assistance.
  • Be wary of street children and vagrants.
  • Keep your doors locked at all times and wind the windows up.
  • Be aware of vendors and beggars at traffic lights.
  • Lock valuable items in the boot (trunk) of the car if out and about - what cannot be seen - will not be temptation.
  • At night, park in well-lit areas.
  • Never give strangers a lift.

If in doubt about the safety of an area, phone a police station for advice (10111).

What to do if involved in a car crash?

In terms of Section 61 of the National Road Traffic Act (93 of 1996), a driver is obliged to do the following when involved in a vehicle accident:

1. immediately stop the vehicle
2. ascertain the nature and extent of any injury sustained
3. if a person is injured, render assistance as he / she is capable of rendering
4. ascertain the nature and extent of damage sustained
5. if required to do so, give his / her name and address, the name and address of the owner of the vehicle, as well as the registration number to any person having reasonable grounds for the information
6. report the accident at a police station within 24 hours and produce the Drivers Licence.
7. not take any intoxicating liquor or narcotic drug unless prescribed by a medical practitioner.

You can be taking homemade turkey sandwiches to work everyday, clipping coupons and maxing out your 401(k) plan, but still not really be in tip-top financial shape. On a practical level being involved in an accident is a traumatic event. It is quite easy to forget your responsibilities and to act out of character, however it is very important to make sure that as the driver you obtain as much information from the driver of the other vehicle. Typically you would need the other driver’s name and address, identity number, make of vehicle as well as the vehicle registration number. If either of the driver’s are injured and cannot communicate, one would need to obtain as much information as possible about that driver.

You would also need to accurately identify the location of the accident. If necessary measure it by pacing out the distance to a recognisable fixed point. A simple sketch plan of the accident could prove to be invaluable - especially if a court case results from the collision. Photographs of the vehicles, where a camera is available, is always a good idea.

Report the accident within 24 hours at any SAPS Station.

If your vehicle needs to be towed to a panel beater, contact your insurer and be guided by them as to who to call to do the recovery and where to take the vehicle. Always obtain a reference number.

When dealing with recovery companies, always establish the towing and recovery rate andnever sign a blank towing form. Once again you would need to obtain as much information about the tow operator as possible before you agree to the recovery. If the operator has accreditation with the AA or major insurance companies, make a note of this.

Acsis Lifestyle Event - JHB

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Date: 12 November 2014

Aspire Wealth’s clients were welcomed to the Annual Acsis Lifestyle Event held at all major cities Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg in South Africa. The Aspire team attended the event held at The Wanderers and had an evening filled with valued client interaction whilst our clients enjoyed the decadent finger eats and variety of wines.

The guest speaker this year was Zelda la Grange, Zelda (born 29 October 1970) grew up in South Africa as a white Afrikaner who supported the rules of segregation. Yet just a few years after the end of Apartheid she would become a most trusted assistant to Nelson Mandela, growing to respect and cherish the man she had been taught was the enemy. Good Morning, Mr Mandela tells the extraordinary story of how a young woman had her life, beliefs, prejudices and everything she once believed in utterly transformed by the greatest man of her time. It is the incredible journey of an awkward, terrified young typist in her twenties later chosen to become the President's most loyal and devoted servants, spending most of her adult working life travelling with, supporting and caring for the man she would come to call 'Khulu', or 'grandfather'. Here Zelda pays tribute to Nelson Mandela as she knew him - a teacher who gave her the most valuable lessons of her life. A man who refused to be defined by his past, who forgave and respected all, but who was also frank, teasing and direct. As he renewed his country, he also freed Zelda from a closed world of fear and mistrust, giving her life true meaning. Now she shares his lasting and inspiring gifts with the world. This is a book about love and second chances. It will touch your life and make you believe that every one of us, no matter who we are or what we have done, has the power to change.

Zelda gave a light hearted yet very deep and intriguing talk about her walk with Mr. Mandela. It was wonderful to have had a slight glimpse of Madiba’s life and his value system.  Our clients were delighted that her book was for sale at the event and that she did personal signings too.

Summer Treats

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Pomegranate jelly and vanilla yoghurt pannacotta duo

Preparation time: 20 min

Ingredients
for the jelly:

250ml pomegranate juice
3Tbs castor sugar
2 gelatine leaves

for the pannacotta:
125ml full cream milk
½ half a vanilla pod, seeds scraped
1 cinnamon stick
55g castor sugar
2 tsp honey
400g Greek yoghurt
2 and ½ half gelatine leaves

Method
for the jelly:
Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for about 7 minutes until soft and rehydrated. Heat the pomegranate juice and castor sugar in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved. Squeeze the excess water out of the gelatine leaves and add to the warm juice. Stir through to ensure that the gelatine dissolves completely. Pour the juice into individual dariole moulds or silicone jelly moulds and refrigerate until firm.

for the pannacotta:
Soak the gelatine leaves as per above. In a small saucepan, heat the milk, vanilla seeds, cinnamon, castor sugar and honey. Once the milk has come up to the boil, turn the heat off and allow the spices to infuse for around 10 minutes. Remove the vanilla pod and cinnamon stick. Squeeze the excess water out of the gelatine and add to the milk mixture. Whisk thoroughly to incorporate the gelatine. Stir in the Greek yoghurt and set aside to cool to room temperature. Pour the milky yoghurt gently over the set jellies and refrigerate once again until firm.

To un-mould, dip the base of the moulds into a bowl of boiling water for 2 seconds and turn out onto a serving plate. Scatter with fresh pomegranate seeds and serve immediately. 

Beer battered brie, bacon wrapped mushrooms and beetroot salad

Preparation time: 20 min
Cooking time: 15 min
Serves 3

Ingredients:
1 pack white button mushrooms
1 pack streaky bacon
2 rounds brie cheese
canola oil (enough for frying)
cheddar cheese (enough to use one 1cm block for each mushroom)
1 garlic clove
few sprigs of thyme
½ jar beetroot salad
feta
1 ¾ all-purpose flour
330ml beer
1Tbs baking powder
salt and pepper

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

To make the beer batter combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper then slowly add the beer while whisking. Set aside and cover until ready to use. For the mushrooms, remove the stem from all the mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes in garlic and thyme. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and allow to cool. Put a block of cheese in the gap that you removed the stems then wrap the mushroom in a slice of bacon (use 2 slices if the mushroom is big). For beetroot salad, roughly chop beetroot and mix in a bowl with feta.

To make the beer battered brie, cut your brie into triangle shapes, dust in flour, dip into batter and fry until golden brown (ensure there is enough oil to deep-fry)

Tips
1. The beer battered brie goes extremely well with onion marmalade or sweet chilli sauce
2. Serve the brie fresh 

7 Signs You’re a Paradigm of Financial Health

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By Lisa Scherzer -The Exchange

Set up an emergency fund. Diversify your portfolio. Reduce your debt load. Bring your lunch to work once in a while. So goes the conventional finance wisdom consumers have heard so often that they tune it out.

You can be taking homemade turkey sandwiches to work everyday, clipping coupons and maxing out your 401(k) plan, but still not really be in tip-top financial shape.

Last month we wrote about the tell-tale signs you’re living above your means (your mortgage payment is more than one week’s salary was one example). On the other side of that equation, how do you know if you’re really on the right track money-wise?

We spoke with a few certified financial planners to get their thoughts on what kinds of benchmarks people can use to gauge their financial health. One caveat: It’s important to note that everyone’s situation is unique and it’s not very useful to apply a blanket rule across all age groups. (Also note this list is by no means exhaustive. There are surely other ways to measure fiscal fitness. Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comment section below.)

With that in mind, here are some ways to measure if you’re financially ahead of the game.

1. By age 40, you’ve accumulated 1 to 3 times your annual income.

Many financial advisers use age-based targets for determining how much workers should save to be ready to retire. Fidelity Investments, for example, released a set of guidelines last year that said employees should have the equivalent of their annual salary in savings by age 35 in order to reach the first benchmark on the way to the retirement finish line.

Erin Baehr, a CFP in Stroudsburg, Pa., ascribes to similar guidelines. According to a strategy recommended by the Alliance of Cambridge Advisors, a group of fee-only financial planners of which Baehr is a member, someone between 30 and 40 is in the “early accumulation phase” and their net worth should be 1 to 3 times their annual income.

At that point, “you’ve most likely bought your first house, you’ve got good savings habits, you’re minimizing consumer debt. You’re at the point in your career where you’re able to accumulate savings,” says Baehr. When you get to three times your income, you’re in the rapid accumulation phase. (Note that net worth here includes equity in your house.)

2. If you’re part of a dual-income couple, you can cover your fixed expenses with one income.

If you can pay for all your fixed costs – mortgage, cellphone bill, insurance payments, child care, etc. – with using just your or your spouse’s income, you’re in excellent shape, says Baehr. The second income can be used for discretionary expenses, like vacations, dinners out, summer camp and savings.

Granted, when you’re starting out in your 20s and 30s, often both spouses are working to cover the bills, so it’s harder to set aside one person’s income for savings or costs that might be deemed “extra,” Baehr says.

3. You live in your 30s like you did in your 20s, 40s like you did in your 30s, your 50s like you did in your 40s, and so on.

The standard advice to save 10% of your income is good but there’s a problem, says Michael Kitces, a certified financial planner and partner and director of research at Pinnacle Advisory Group in Columbia, Md. When your income keeps rising, saving just 10% “doesn’t really get you to your goal because your standard of living is rising too fast for your prior savings to keep up,” he says.

The whole “save-a-percentage-of-income” approach assumes level income and level spending, says Kitces. For instance, if you start out saving 10% of your $40,000 salary in your 20s, but get some big promotions and suddenly are making $100,000 a year in your 30s, saving 10% on $40,000 the prior decade barely makes a dent in setting up a retirement for what’s now a $100,000 standard of living. But if you save nothing when you’re making $40,000 in your 20s, and live on $60,000 a year in your 30s (while earning $100,000 a year), you’d be saving a lot of money. And you’d still be living a better lifestyle than you used to, and you only have to save enough to support a $60,000-a-year retirement.

“This is why so many baby boomers are in trouble. Now they’re in their peak earnings years, but saving 10% per year now doesn’t help at all, because they were saving far less in the past when income was lower,” he says.

4. You have only one car payment at a time, or better yet, you save in a car replacement account each month instead of making a payment.

Of course having no payments is ideal. But by keeping to one payment per month, you minimize the risk of being stuck in a cash flow crunch if you get hit with an unexpected medical expense or get laid off.

“Most of the people I see who are successfully ready to retire, almost all of them have a car replacement account,” says Baehr, where instead of making a payment, you’re setting money aside in an account so you have enough money to buy a new car when you need it.

5. Your home’s value is 2 to 2.5 times your income and your mortgage is no more than 80% of the value.

This is the standard loan-to-value (LTV) ratio – the percentage of the property’s value that is mortgaged – financial advisers recommend for home buyers. For instance, if your income is $100,000, your home’s value shouldn’t exceed $250,000. The LTV ratio is used by mortgage lenders to gauge a borrower’s risk: the higher the LTV ratio, the riskier the loan is considered and the higher the interest rate, and vice versa.

The calculation, though, is only a general guideline. Baehr acknowledges that in some pricey housing markets – in New York, New Jersey and California, for example -- it can be difficult to stay in that range.

6. You have a will.

Estate planning isn’t just for wealthy people. You’re steps ahead of the game if you have a will and durable power of attorney for finances and health care in place after turning 18, the age at which you’re considered an adult by law. And if you have children under 18, “ensuring you have guardianship provisions in place for them from day one will set you ahead of most people,” says Mary Beth Storjohann, a CFP at Hoyle Cohen, a wealth advisory firm in San Diego. As much as no one likes thinking about it, that means figuring out who’ll be responsible for the care of your children along with who would manage any funds left behind for their benefit, should something happen to you, she says.

7. You give at least 5% of your income to charity.

Charitable giving indicates a healthy relationship to money. It means you have margin in your life, in your finances, and you’re not living right up to the edge,” Baehr says. It’s the same indication as having a solid amount of savings, but “I feel that donating helps you remember others have greater needs than yours,” she says.

Aspire hosts Job Shadowing experience

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Aspire Wealth took great pleasure in hosting a “Job Shadowing” experience for two scholars Nqobile Maqubela and Elijah Kalefya from the St Francis College on the sixth and seventh of October.

Now many of you may be asking what is job shadowing, it is merely an opportunity for scholars to ‘shadow’ with business professionals in a specific occupation or career of the scholar’s interest. Scholars will observe responsibilities and tasks associated with the mentor’s career and have the opportunity to ask questions about the knowledge, skills, talents, and level of education required for the job.

While the purpose of job shadowing is to gather career related information and expand the scholar’s contacts, it also allows opportunities to build interviewing skills, awareness of trends in the field and see Workforce technologies in actions.

The scholars were issued study material based on their interested fields of their career choices and had to write a test on their last day of this experience in which both scholars excelled well above 75% for.

Nqobile and Elijah each completed a feedback report and their additional comments were that they really loved the experience and both gained so much knowledge through this experience and that it motivated them to work hard on their future goals.

Aspire Wealth Management wish Nqobile and Elijah well on their future endeavors?

Aspire team awarded for the “best team spirit”

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Aspire held its annual team building day at the Rotary’s ‘Anything that floats day” which was held at the Benoni Sailing Club on the Homestead Dam on the eleventh of October.

Aspire’s theme for the day was Hawaiian and our team name was “Team Wikiwiki Wa’a” which simply translates to “fast canoe”. Our team had to build a raft that could withstand a six man team to race a distance of about one kilometer whilst racing against four competing teams and not to mention the turbulent icy winds. But that was not enough to break their spirit, celebrating the day filled with laughter, good cheer and good company. Team Wikiwiki Wa’a took third place in the race as well as been awarded the award for the best team spirit.

 

 

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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October is a time when pink ribbons and “how-to” articles remind women of the need to conduct regular self-examinations. When it comes to breast cancer and its costs, a similar dictum applies — it’s all about being prepared.

Breast Cancer Facts

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and in South Africa, statistics show that 1 in 291 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. A man’s chance of getting breast cancer is about 100 times lower than that of a woman.

It’s also one of the most preventable and treatable cancers. If detected early (at stage 0 or stage 1), five-year survival rates* are around 80% — 90%. At stage III, the survival rate is between 40% - 60%. At stage IV, this dwindles to only 15%. Obesity, poor nutrition, sedentary lifestyles, alcohol use, smoking and stress can put women at higher risk of developing breast cancer. The risk also increases significantly with age — the majority of cases are diagnosed in women over the age of 60 years.

Thanks to Angelina Jolie, there is now also more awareness of the role of family history, a major contributing factor to women’s breast cancer risk. A mastectomy is an extreme way of reducing one’s risk of getting breast cancer for women with a family history of very aggressive breast cancer. Jolie, who tested positive for the BRCA1 breast cancer gene, is said to have reduced her risk of developing breast cancer from 87 percent to 5 percent 3 by having a double mastectomy.

Fortunately, regular screening can lead to early detection. Women of all ages should do regular self-examination of their breasts. However, women over the age of 40 are advised to have mammogram annually.

http://www.cansa.org.za/ (National Cancer Registry statistics)
Breast Cancer Fact Sheet PDF
My Medical Choice — The New York Times

* The five-year survival rate relates to how many women diagnosed with breast cancer are still alive five years after their diagnosis.

What about dealing with breast cancer’s costs?

The cost of breast cancer treatment varies depending on the stage and aggression of the cancer. Treatment could include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. As you may be aware, medical schemes are compelled to provide coverage for treatable breast cancer (subject to certain maximum limits), as it’s one of the Prescribed Minimum Benefits.

The level of coverage is dependent on the medical aid option selected. Many medical aids offer coverage for related expenses like the cost of a wig during chemotherapy, the cost of breast prostheses and, in some cases, the cost of reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy. However, where women opt for treatment with some of the more expensive biological drugs or any form of experimental treatment, medical schemes may decline funding.

Life Insurance

Besides the costs of treatment covered by medical aid, there may be out-of-pocket medical expenses or additional costs that don’t relate directly to medical treatment. For example, the cost of hiring a driver or aftercare for children while the sufferer is undergoing treatment. These unforeseen additional expenses that may result because of serious diseases like cancer costs are covered by dread disease or critical illness cover.

For more information on how we can assist you in dealing with these costs that could apply to any severe illness contact us on 011 979 7017.

This article is courtesy of BrightRock.

Smooth Delights

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Breakfast smoothie

Ingredients:
1 sliced banana
125ml vanilla yoghurt
1/2 cup original / banana Futurelife
1 t honey
1/2 cup crunchy muesli
1 t almonds

Method:
Blend all ingredients together until at desired consistency, and drink your breakfast!

 

 Banana berry glaze

Ingredients:
3 T banana Futurelife
4 chopped strawberries
100g (1 small tub) smooth vanilla or strawberry yoghurt
1 t cinnamon
100ml water
3 ice cubes

Method:
Blend until smooth.

 

  Coffee and cashew smoothie

Ingredients:
1/4 cup cashews, soaked six hours or overnight
1/2 banana, peeled and chopped (frozen optional)
1 T cocoa nibs / 1 t raw cocoa powder
1/2 cup ice
1/4 cup cooled coffee
1 cup calcium fortified soy milk
1/2 T honey / Xylitol (optional)

Method:
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

 

Welcome to Aspiring Views issue 3!

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Our theme for our third quarterly e-mag focuses on youth, growth, giving back and a new retirementality.

The way we communicate with our clients is a vital part of our business, with most business now being conducted over personal computers or mobile communication devices. As a result of this and to remain relevant now and in the future: - we hope you enjoy the read!

Click on the image to read Aspiring Views Issue 03

- Featured Lifestyle - Your Journey to and throughout Retirement
- 10 Retirement Truths
- Financial Planning as a Career
- What makes a successful Entrepreneur?
- Aspire Wealth celebrates Madiba Day
- Celebrating Aspire’s Leading Ladies
- Recipes - Braai Side Dishes

We hope you enjoy the read and we would love to have your feedback - please EMAIL US HERE

Welcome to Aspiring Views issue 2!

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We proudly present our second quarterly e-mag - entitled the SAVVY issue.

The way we communicate with our clients is a vital part of our business, with most business now being conducted over personal computers or mobile communication devices. As a result of this and to remain relevant now and in the future:

Click on the image to read Aspiring Views Issue 02

- Featured LIFESTYLE - Education
- 10 Financial rules for Young adults
- Basic Financial Savvy
- Financial Savvy Tips & Events
- July Financial Planning Club
- Quarterly QUOTES Competition
- Winter Comfort Food

We hope you enjoy the read and we would love to have your feedback - please EMAIL US HERE

Saving for your children's education

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Written by Grace Van Zyl, information from Old Mutual

Education is widely recognised as the most fundamental factor influencing the future success and economic growth of South Africa. It is our responsibility as parents and indeed most adults of the current generation to ensure that we make provision for an educational structure that will help this country resolve the socio-economic problems that are the biggest obstacle to realising our country’s incredible potential.

The sad thing is most South Africans do not have a culture of saving, but rather that of incurring debt. It is mind boggling that most people have the latest smartphone, iPad, DSTV etc. but they cannot afford to save for their children’s education let alone their own retirement.

As a parent, it's important to realise that the financial decisions you make today could make all the difference to your child's future. Especially when you consider the facts... that if your child begins Grade R at a public school in 2015, you can expect to spend over R450 000 for Primary and High School education. What's more, if you wish to send them to a private school, the cost will rise to over R1.5 million. And this excludes expenses such as books, stationary, travelling, board and extra-mural activities.

As everyone is not the same it would not have meaning if we provided you with a ‘one size fits all’ approach. By clicking on the link below, you are able to get information on costs, finding a school, tools to calculate costs and much more.

http://dogreatthings.co.za/education/education-guide/

Your child's attitude to money

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Written by Grace Van Zyl

When I look around me and see young adults (up to age 34+) still living at home with parents, I can’t help but wonder why? Is it because of unemployment, the high cost of living or the inability to manage their finances? One could probably justify any one of these reasons, but what I have learnt is that our younger generation have a sense of entitlement. We as parents tend to do too much for our children to the extent that our children do not always appreciate what they have or understand the concept of working for something.

As parents we have the ability to change this but sometimes do not know where to begin. One way is to educate our children regarding financial matters. As adults our attitude towards money is normally formed at a very young age i.e. our first money experience. As parents we can influence our children’s first money experience so that their attitude towards money will stand them in good stead.  

- Here are a few tips to influence your child’s attitude towards money:
- Have chores linked to pocket money – pocket money needs to be earned.
- Let your child pay for items they want with their own money.
- Involve your child in setting up the monthly budget.
- Open a bank account to pay pocket money, birthday money etc. into.
- Set up an investment for your child where they contribute between 10% and 20% to by way of debit order.
- Help your child to save for more expensive items that they really want as opposed to just buying this for them.

A method I adopted with my own child is to calculate all expenses i.e. school fees, toiletries, pocket money, extra mural activities etc. I would then pay this amount into her bank account and show her how to pay for these by way of EFT. I found that this works well and has instilled a good sense of the value of money. This also motivated her not to skip extra murals as she had paid for the activities. However, you as the parent need to control the bank account and spend if this is an option you would like to adopt.

Financial tips for young adults

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Personal finance has not yet become a required subject in high school or college, so you might be fairly clueless about how to manage your money when you're out in the real world for the first time. If you think that understanding personal finance is way above your head, you're wrong. All it takes to get started on the right path is the willingness to do a little reading - you don't even need to be particularly good at math.

To help you get started, we'll take a look at ten of the most important things to understand about money if you want to live a comfortable and prosperous life.

1. Go to College.
You may want to do something that doesn't require a college degree like playing professional golf or training horses, but give serious consideration to enrolling in college anyway. It's a major investment and if your parents are unable to help you pay for it, then make it happen yourself, even if it means taking out a study loan.

It's easier to get a degree when you're young than when you have a home, family and all the adult responsibilities that go with these things. Your earning potential increases significantly with a college degree, which will come in handy if your other dreams don't materialize. Plus, you will likely experience a love of learning that you'll never outgrow. One way to save on costs - go to a community college first, then transfer to a four-year university after two years.

2. Find Your Purpose.
If you're having trouble figuring out what you want to do with your life, look within. You were born with certain talents and natural abilities. You know which subjects you excel in and which ones you struggle with. Choose a career that enables you to maximize your gifts in a way that fulfills you or helps others. As you grow, your career may change along with your desires. But for now, gravitate toward a field that feels like home.

3. Learn Self Control.
The sooner you learn the fine art of delaying gratification, the sooner you'll find it easy to keep your finances in order. Although you can effortlessly purchase an item on credit the minute you want it, it's better to wait until you've actually saved up the money. Do you really want to pay interest on a pair of jeans or a new hi-fi? If you make a habit of putting all your purchases on credit cards, regardless of whether you can pay your bill in full at the end of the month, you might still be paying for those items in 10 years.

If you want to keep your credit cards for the convenience factor or the rewards they offer, make sure to always pay your balance in full when the bill arrives and don't carry more cards than you can keep track of.

4. Take Control of Your Own Financial Future.
If you don't learn to manage your own money, other people will probably find ways to mismanage it for you. Some of these people may be unscrupulous, ill-intentioned scammers while others may be well-meaning, but may not know what they're doing. So instead of relying on others for advice, take charge and read a few basic books on personal finance.

Once you're armed with personal finance knowledge, don't let anyone catch you off guard - whether it's a significant other that slowly siphons your bank account or friends who want you to go out and blow tons of money with them every weekend. Understanding how money works is the first step toward making your money work for you.

5. Know Where Your Money Goes.
Once you've gone through a few personal finance books, you'll realize how important it is to make sure your expenses aren't exceeding your income. The best way to do this is by budgeting. Once you see how your morning java adds up over the course of a month, you'll realize that making small, manageable changes in your everyday expenses can have just as big of an impact on your financial situation as getting a raise.

In addition, keeping your recurring monthly expenses as low as possible will also save you big bucks over time. If you don't waste your money on a posh apartment now,  you might be able to afford a nice condo or a house before you know it.

6. Start an Emergency Fund.
No matter how much you owe in student loans or credit card debt and no matter how low your salary may seem, it's wise to find some amount - any amount - of money in your budget to save in an emergency fund every month. Having money in savings to use for emergencies can really keep you out of trouble financially and help you sleep better at night.

Also, if you get into the habit of saving money and treating it as a non-negotiable monthly "expense", pretty soon you'll have more than just emergency money saved up -  you'll have retirement money, vacation money and even money for a home down payment. Don't just sock away this money under your mattress, put it in a high-interest online savings account, a certificate of deposit or a money market account, otherwise inflation will erode the value of your savings.

7. Start Saving for Retirement Now.
Just as you headed off to kindergarten with your parents' hope to prepare you for success in a world that seemed eons away, you need to prepare for your retirement well in advance. Because of the way compound interest works, the sooner you start saving, the less principal you'll have to invest to end up with the amount you need to retire, and the sooner you'll be able to call working an "option" rather than a "necessity".

Company-sponsored retirement plans are a particularly great choice because you get to put in pretax value and the contribution limits tend to be high (much more than you can contribute to an individual retirement plan). Also, companies will often match part of your contribution, which is like getting free money.

8. Get a Grip on Taxes.
It's important to understand how income taxes work even before you get your first paycheck. When a company offers you a starting salary, you need to know how to calculate whether that salary will give you enough money after taxes to meet your financial goals and obligations.

Fortunately, there are plenty of online calculators that have taken the dirty work out of determining your own payroll taxes. These calculators will show you your gross pay, how much goes to taxes and how much you'll be left with, which is also known as net or take-home pay. Also, you'll be better off in the long run if you learn to prepare your annual tax return yourself, as there is plenty of bad tax advice and misinformation floating around out there.

9. Guard Your Health.
If meeting monthly health insurance premiums seems impossible, what will you do if you have to go to the emergency room, where a single visit for a minor injury like a broken bone can cost thousands of rands? If you're uninsured, don't wait another day to apply for health insurance - it's easier than you think to wind up in a car accident or trip down the stairs.

You can save money by getting quotes from different insurance providers to find the lowest rates. Also, by taking daily steps now to keep yourself healthy, like eating fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, not smoking, not consuming alcohol in excess and even driving defensively, you'll thank yourself down the road when you aren't paying exorbitant medical bills.

10. Guard Your Wealth.
If you want to make sure that all of your hard-earned money doesn't vanish, you'll need to take steps to protect it. If you rent, get renter's insurance to protect the contents of your place from events like burglary or fire. Disability insurance protects your greatest asset - the ability to earn an income - by providing you with a steady income if you ever become unable to work for an extended period of time due to illness or injury.

Remember, you don't need any fancy degrees or special background to become an expert at managing your finances. If you use these ten financial rules for your life, you can be as personally prosperous as the guy with the hard-won MBA.

Aspire Wealth offers a Financial Savvy course that will assist you in understanding what money means to you, budgeting tips, when does it make sense to incur debt, setting financial goals, and when and how much you should be saving. See our e-mag at the end of June for more details.

Higher Education Enrollment

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Looking for a suitable university or need to know what the application closing dates for 2015 are? The following links provide easy access to help you plan. Note though that some institutions already have a 2015 application closing date of 30 June 2014.  

For quick access to information regarding all South Africa Universities, follow this link:
http://he-enrol.ac.za/sa-universities

University of Johannesburg - www.uj.ac.za
The 2015 Academic Application Cycle is open. Various faculties have different application closing dates, see details here: http://www.uj.ac.za/EN/StudyatUJ/StudentEnrolmentCentre/ApplicationProcess/Pages/home.aspx

University of the Witwatersrand - www.wits.ac.za
Various faculties have different application closing dates, see details here: http://www.wits.ac.za/prospective/undergraduate/apply

University of Pretoria - www.up.ac.za
Applications opened in March 2015. Various faculties have different application closing dates, see details here: http://web.up.ac.za/default.asp?ipkCategoryID=22735

Unisa Online - www.unisa.ac.za  
Applications for 2015 open in August 2014.
View how to apply here - http://www.unisa.ac.za/Default.asp?Cmd=ViewContent&ContentID=23989

University of Limpopo - www.ul.ac.za
30 September 2014 - Closing date for undergraduate applications and Turfloop Campus admissions.
View the 2015 Undergraduate here - http://www.ul.ac.za/index.php?Entity=Undergraduate%20information

University of KwaZulu-Natal - www.ukzn.ac.za
30 September 2014 – Closing date for 2015 applications for admission.

University of the Free State - http://www.ufs.ac.za
30 September 2014 - last date for all applications for 2015 academic admission to the university, non-selection, undergraduate and postgraduate studies.
View the full 2015 Undergraduate here - http://kovsielife.ufs.ac.za/content.aspx?uid=29

North-West University - www.nwu.ac.za
30 September 2014 – Closing date for 2015 applications for admission.

University of Cape Town - http://www.uct.ac.za
All undergraduate applications close on 30 September 2014.
View the full 2015 UCT Application Directions here: https://www.uct.ac.za/apply/dates

Stellenbosch University - http://www.maties.com/
30 June 2014 – Closing date for all 2015 applications for admission.

Quarterly Quotes Competition

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'You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream' – C.S Lewis

Our June 2014 issue of Aspiring Views will feature RETIREMENT as our theme, so submit your favorite quote relevant to this topic today!

Winning quotes will be posted to our new-look website and social media pages.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

Quick & Easy Beef Stew

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Time to resurrect our favorite winter recipes that offer warmth and comfort. This quick and easy recipe shows you how to make a hearty beef stew in just 30 minutes!

Ingredients
1 kg boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 packet Beef Stew Seasoning Mix
3 cups water
5 cups frozen vegetables for stew

Instructions
Coat beef with flour. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in large nonstick skillet or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add 1/2 of the beef and brown on all sides. Repeat with remaining beef, adding remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Return all beef to skillet.

Stir in Seasoning Mix and water. Add vegetables and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Its Election Time!

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Written by Werner Jansen Van Vuuren.

Its election time in South Africa again. The politicians are vying for support, with colourful campaign posters hanging from every second lamp post. Change is promised by some, with the promise of a better future made by others. Corporates are also jumping on the band wagon, with one company asking us to “imagine chance”, accompanied by a picture of Julius Malema and Helen Zille embracing with loving smiles on their faces.

Yes indeed, elections are here, an important time for South Africans, as we get an opportunity to vote for the party that we feel will take South Africa forward in the way we desire. With the world’s magnifying glass on South Africa, some people might even wonder how smoothly these elections will run, and how adversity can affect their investments and savings for that matter. These individuals might even contemplate moving some of their capital overseas, in an attempt to protect their savings from any nervous reaction by the stock market.

The thing is, there will always be short term distractions around us. The Rand’s depreciation, labour strikes in various sectors, there will always be something to catch our attention. What we need to understand though is that emotionally reacting to all these distractions from an investment point of view can really be damaging to our long term financial well-being. We can unnecessarily take a detour from our desired destination every time we have a knee jerk reaction to these events.

What we rather need to focus on are the things that are in our control. The most important attributes to achieving financial independence are having a long term strategy and plan, and secondly, having the discipline to stick to it. These are the things that we can control, and focussing on these factors, will give us the greatest chance of succeeding in our financial planning.

Elections and the IEC

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Written by Grace van Zyl.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is a permanent body created by the Constitution to manage free and fair elections at all levels of government. Although publicly funded and accountable to parliament, the IEC is independent from government.  The responsibility of the IEC is to:

  • Manage elections of national, provincial and municipal legislative bodies
  • Ensure that elections are free and fair
  • Declare the results of elections
  • Compile and maintain the voter’s role


The Voters roll consists of over 20 million names of which 13 924 487 are female and 11 437 609 are male.  The voter’s role helps the IEC plan the election, identify and minimise fraud.

South Africa uses The proportional representation (PR) system for elections. The proportional representation system is also called the party list system. Here every vote counts. The total number of votes a party gets decides the number of seats it gets. Parties draw up lists of candidates, and the number of people that get in will be decided by the number of seats the party wins.

Example:

  • Party A: 100 000 votes – 100 seats
  • Party B: 20 000 votes – 20 seats
  • Party C: 50 000 votes – 50 seats

So even if your vote does not help your party win, your vote will help to get a seat in parliament for your party.

Let your voice be heard and vote on 7 May.

Aspire Wealth in the field with Rotary

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During the month of April individual team members of Aspire Wealth volunteered their time to assist in the Rotary National Health Days.

Sites were set up all over the country to target 80 000 people who do not have access to health services.

In conjunction with the Department of Health, the following medical services and testing was provided:

Voting Survival Kit

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Depending on how busy your voting station is tomorrow will determine how long you stand in the cue. Over and above the real essentials like your ID and possibly your own black pen, the following items might come in handy while you wait:

A Positive Attitude
Bottled Water
An Energy Bar
Biltong
Sunblock
Toilet Paper
 
VERY IMPORTANT: Make your mark in the box next to the party of your choice - it's best to make a cross. Your mark must not touch any of the walls/lines of the box.  Remember to check that your voting paper is stamped at the back, otherwise your vote will not count and if you make a mistake, do not put your paper in the box. Call an IEC official, who will cancel your paper and give you a new one.

Swinging for charity...

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Aspire Wealth supported a charity golf day for the Rotary Club of Benoni Aurora, who raised in excess of R50 000 for the John Wesley Community Centre. The Aspire Wealth four-ball won the prize for the longest day - a testimony that golf was our handicap on the day!

Between 2003 and 2013 the community centre has grown significantly and undergone some major changes and overhauls to make it even more community minded, helpful, usable, accessible and updated. The preschool has grown to 170 children and  plans to educate 220 children annually from ages 1 to 6, who receive two nutritious meals per day. An after-school care facility for children aged 6 to 16 caters for up to 120 children, who receive a nutritious meal every day.

The after-care programme has a well-established Marimba Music Program, Art Program, Acrobatic and Trampoline Gymnastics Program, as well as, a chess program, reading program, computer training program and tutors to assist with homework.

See more about the John Wesley Community Centre here - http://www.johnwesleycc.org

Welcome to our e-mag Aspiring Views!

on .

The way we communicate with our clients is a vital part of our business, with most business now being conducted over personal computers or mobile communication devices. As a result of this and to remain relevant now and in the future, we proudly present our first quarterly e-mag - we hope you enjoy the read!

Click on the image to read Aspiring Views Issue 01

- Fun Facts about The Argus with Lifestyle Tips from Aspire Wealth
- Expert Insights on Investments from Jason Garner
- How the Budget Speech affects YOU
- Enter our Quarterly QUOTES Competition and
- Fast food for Healthy Athletes

We would love to have your feedback about our first online publication - please EMAIL US HERE

A welcome income tax relief...

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A welcome income tax relief for individuals of R9.25 Billion

Following the budget speech on the 26th of February, click on the image or the link below to obtain the tax guide for 2014/2015.

Also, look out for the launch issue of our e-mag - Aspiring Views - at the end of March 2014 to see how these changes in income tax affect you.

"It is time for action and implementation. It is time to move South Africa forward to the next stage of our historic journey to more rapid growth, jobs and development – time to leave behind poverty, joblessness and inequality!" - Minister Pravin Gordhan, 2014 Budget speech

Click on the image to view the Aspire Tax Guide

Easy No-Bake Energy Bites

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients
1 cup (dry) oatmeal
2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed or wheat germ
1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
1/2 cup chocolate chips or cacao nibs (optional)
1 Tbsp. chia seeds (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Method
Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week. Makes about 20-25 balls.

Aspire's New Look

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More than 58% of our client base is under the age of 50 and the way we communicate with our clients is a vital part of our business. Most business is now conducted over personal computers or communication devices. As a result of this and the way in which we do business, to remain relevant now and in the future, having an interactive website and staying on top of social media will help us communicate more effectively. Our website is now dynamically designed to improve user experience, giving you access to a host of new features and keeping you in touch with the latest financial news - anywhere, anytime and via any device!

The new Aspire Logo is an updated design evolution that stems from the original Aspire Logo. The initial concept behind the logo still applies - the 3 ribbons which form the shape of the ‘A’ for Aspire represent crossroads people face in their daily lives. The A implies movement and direction - directing one’s hopes or ambitions toward achieving something! The 3 colored ribbons each have a specific representation: PINK represents the Individual - GREEN is for Wealth - BLUE is for Lifestyle.

Aspire's New Staff

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I am passionate about helping people and believe that every person should be equipped with a map of how to turn their dreams into reality. I am also passionate about sharing knowledge and developing people, hence the appointment of 3 new staff members. Welcome Samantha, Funda and Sandy to the Aspire team!

Samantha
I recently became a volunteer for the CPF (Community Police Forum), where I assist with all secretarial duties as well as weekend patrol in my neighborhood with fellow community members. One of my hobbies is to partake in Rhythm 2 Fitness sessions 3 times a week - this is a combination of dance and aerobics. I am a huge Pit-bull lover (the dog, not the singer) and am a member of the Pit-bull Federation of South Africa. My husband and I also assist in trying to bring to justice those that use these loving animals as fighters. PS: I am an avid Blue Bulls Supporter.  

At Aspire Wealth Management I am responsible for the smooth running of all administration, with Funda assisting me with all the admin, queries, and follow ups. I also manage the Aspire Wealth Management Office. In the near future I will be studying further on winding up estates and eventually will run that division of the business.

Sandy
I love laughing and seeing other people happy. My hobbies are watching TV, going to church and spending time with my husband.

At Aspire Wealth Management I'm the caretaker of all the Aspire staff. I make sure everything is organized so our clients are happy and well served. My aim is to grow within the company. Currently I'm being groomed to take over the Girl-Friday and Reception duties. I enjoy my job because without me, the place would be incomplete.

Funda
I am a fun, responsible young lady who's looking forward to life and what it has in store for me. Funda means to learn and just like my name, I intend on studying /learning a lot out of life and from people. I want to stay true to my name and learn all that I can. My hobbies are listening to music, watching sports and going out. I love spending most of my time in church volunteering as usher and Sunday school teacher, I love giving back to the community.

At Aspire Wealth Management I work as an Administrator. I'm currently training to become the Medical Aid and short-term specialist. I love my job because its challenging and keeps me on my toes. I'm setting my mind at working hard and I believe one day I'll study towards being a financial planner.

Grace
I am passionate about helping people to reach their full potential. I am truly blessed and giving back is important to me, I am a Rotarian and serve on the board of the Rotary Club of Benoni Aurora. I am also the Vice President of the Garland Ladies Luncheon Club. In my spare time I mentor young adults and entrepreneurs - the greatest reward in life is to teach someone else and see them grow.  Balancing family, work and charity can be challenging but I make time for the fun side of life. I enjoy playing golf, listening to music, studying (I"m hooked!) and spending quality time with family and friends. I am an avid Lions, Manchester United and Ferrari supporter (and no, my favorite color is not red).

Cheri
I have the privilege of being a member of the Benoni Aurora Rotary Club and am passionate about serving our community, in particular raising funds for abandoned and abused animals as well as helping the less fortunate children in our community. I am also a member of Alps (Animal lovers Project Swing) where I have adopted a doggy. I am a Latin American and Ballroom Dancer and have recently joined Sam in the Rhythm to Fitness classes where they combine Latin dance moves with Aerobics.

At Aspire Wealth Management I am one of the Financial Planners and am responsible for helping turn our clients dreams into a reality by teaching and guiding the younger members of our society to gain financial awareness and the importance thereof.

Missed out on the Argus?

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The Cape’s infamous wind was out in full force playing havoc when the thirty-sixth annual 109 kilometer circular route from Cape Town, down the Cape Peninsula and back, kicked off around 06h15 on Sunday morning. With some 35,000 cyclists taking part (4,000 of whom are visitors to South Africa) the Argus with its reputation as the greatest and biggest fun ride in the world was once again a massive success.

WINNERS - MEN:
1 Nolan Hoffman (RSA) 2:39:31,
2 Meron Teshome Hagos (ERI) same time
3 HB Kruger (RSA) 2:53:03

WINNERS - WOMEN:
1 Cherise Stander (RSA) 2:51:00,
2 Anriette Schoeman (RSA) 2:51:31
3 Dee Joubert (RSA) 2:53:03

Apart from the physical and mental challenge of taking part in the The Cape Argus Pick n Pay Momentum Cycle tour, cyclists are “paying it forward” – whether they realise it or not. Four years ago, the concept of charity riders was introduced.

As you can see from the Aspire staff profiles we all have one thing in common - giving back to our community. Both Cheri and Grace are Rotarians and many Rotary events and fundraisers are supported by Aspire Wealth as a business as well as by individual staff members.

DID YOU KNOW?  
The Rotary Club of Clairemont has been organising this race since it's inception and is still actively involved today. This year, 113 charities were represented and between 7 000 and 7 500 riders cycled for charity – an increase of almost 20% to the riders of last year. It’s estimated that the event brings in about R300 million to the socio-economic environment of Cape Town and surrounds – and that each rider brings in more than R2 000 for their chosen charity. They all have their pet projects – but to make the funds go even further, the Rotary Club of Claremont - the club with the biggest involvement - ensures some of the money raised is sent to outlying areas where it is difficult to raise funds in a tough financial environment. So the good work does not stop at the city’s borders.

About 30 Rotary clubs are involved on the day – which means about 800 key jobs are being looked after by Rotarians, family and friends.  Rotarians are closely involved in the transport, start and finish logistics, route issues, the setting up of refreshment stations, medical arrangements, radio communications, traffic flow, emergency plans and media centre requirements.

It is remarkable that this massive event, the biggest individually timed event in the world, began with the simple aim of getting more people to use bicycles as a healthy means of transport.

Coming soon in our first e-mag edition - Aspiring Views - at the end of March, more interesting Argus trivia and how cycling as a LIFESTYLE can turn your dreams into reality!

For more on The Rotary - please visit https://www.rotary.org/

Aspiring Views coming soon!

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You will soon be receiving the launch issue of our quarterly e-magazine, where we will be announcing an exciting "Quote of the Month" competition. Each month's winning quote will be posted to the Aspire Wealth Facebook page, so get your quotes ready!
 

Also in the launch issue, look out for:

Lifestyle – Cycling! It's not just a sport or hobby, it’s a Lifestyle!

Finance – Budget Speech! We are going to look at how the new budget affects:

  • Your net take home pay at the end of each month
  • The effect of sin taxes on your ‘reduced’ tax rate
  • Will you have more disposable income given the changes in the tax rate?
  • The effect on retirement and withdrawals from pension funds etc.

We'll also be introducing the Aspire Wealth Panel of Experts and featuring our first ‘advice’ column. Please EMAIL US your suggestions regarding topics you would like advice on, we'll gladly cover these topics in future issues.

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