In her new book What’s your Move - A Collection of Financial Lessons, financial fitness bunny Nicolette Mashile talks openly about her experiences with money and the way she was brought up. She shares her beliefs about how our everyday behaviour influences how we manage our finances, and how, in spite of knowing better, we sometimes make the wrong financial decisions. Franc, a big fan of educating people about being financially smart, chatted to Nicolette to find out more about her book, plus some other interesting financial tips and tricks.

1.   Why did you write “What’s your Move?”

I wrote the book I needed when I started out making financial decisions which would impact my life and the quality of life I lived. I needed this book firstly to reaffirm that I was not bad with money. It was simply the disadvantage of not knowing in many instances and secondly to see that most of us have similar stories and if we can learn and apply what we learn we can drastically improve the way we manage our money.

2.   What was the process you followed when writing the book?

A very intimate process of looking at my own life and admitting to my own mistakes. But also admitting how interrelated and interconnected money decisions are to our everyday life. I had actually finished the book last year in September but I went back and read it and it sounded like every other money book. It was generic and I don't do generic. What's the point of flooding the market with a book they can already find? So I made it more personal and a challenge to my readers.

3.   What is the one thing you hope South Africans will learn from reading it?

That no one is born being bad at money. We all can learn things and we can learn to be good at money. But the most important thing to understand is that no amount of financial literacy will make you financially independent - you have to implement. Acquired knowledge only becomes powerful when it’s applied knowledge.

4.   What is the worst financial decision you have made in your life?

I tried to buy a house and didn’t know what an OTP was. So after viewing the house I signed it, without realising that it was a legally binding document. The next day I tried to back out of the deal, only to be told that I could not until all the banks had declined to offer me a home loan.

Three banks sent declined letters and my own bank granted me an offer. It was an offer for a home loan over 30 years and the principal and interest charged was going to amount to 8 million rand! I rejected the offer but according to the OTP, the suspensive clause had been fulfilled as there was a bank willing to give me the loan. I settled with the real estate agency out of court for R125 000 for “potential loss when the house was taken off the market”.

5.   And the best financial decision you ever made?

The best decision I made was becoming financially literate. There is so much I know now that has prevented me from making more financial mistakes. Simple things like understanding how banks work and that as a consumer you have the right to negotiate. Things like credit education are so important and learning to understand them has been the best financial decision I have ever made.

6.   We love your philosophy - it’s not about how much you make, but how much you keep. Can you give us some practical advice on how exactly one should implement that philosophy into life?

We all can make money but it's the wealthy that keep their money. Ask yourself the question. “How much money goes through your bank account yearly?”

For most people it's a lot. It's money they do not own. So the best thing you can do is decide, of the money that comes into your account, how much of it you want to keep? Not to spend, not to service debt, but to build your wealth and for any financial emergencies that may arise. Keeping some of your money, whether in savings or investment vehicles is essentially paying yourself first.

7.   Thank you for taking the time to speak to us, and for educating South Africans on the importance of financial literacy. Lastly, where can we buy your book?

My book is available for Gauteng collection on or you can buy it at many Exclusive Books and Bargain Books shops. As more people get to know about the book, it will eventually end up in new book shops.