Lyle Malander, who heads up the Malander Group, is a dynamic young business leader and award-winning entrepreneur. He is proof that if you persevere, you can achieve your dreams – and that nice guys do finish first.

Curveball, with Investec brand ambassador Maps Maponyane and Koshiek Karan, former investment banker, entrepreneur and co-founder of Banker X discuss your first career milestones as a young professional.

Koshiek Karan

Koshiek engages with SA’s talented and rising young professionals as Twitter’s ‘go-to finance guy’.

Banker X is a technology company, committed to solving urgent economic challenges through a connective platform. With Banker X, he aims to educate and empower South Africans about finance.

“There are so many things that we all wish we knew when started out, the hard lessons to be learned or simply the idea that someone is looking out for us,” he says. Koshiek addresses these themes in Curveball.

You asked, we answered

While Maps Maponyane posed some audience questions to Koshiek in a Q&A during the live event, he didn’t have enough time on the morning to respond to all your questions. Koshiek Karan now answers more of your questions.

How can you protect and build your wealth during the current economic climate?

Koshiek: It’s a challenging time for everyone. We’re all impacted by Covid-19 and its fallout in some way, and no industry is immune to this changing environment.

Protecting what you have

First, make sure you’re well equipped to handle an emergency. Double check the coverage on your insurance plans. An accident, unexpected hospital visit or even a roof leak can drive a huge dent into your finances.

Make sure you’re liquid – you need to be able to quickly convert assets to cash in an emergency.

Building wealth

If you have the luxury to stay invested – stay invested! If anything, it’s a great time to hunt for those massive discounts on your favourite blue-chip, long-term growth companies.

One piece of research shows missing out  the five best days over a 40 year period on the S&P 500, resulted in investors missing out on 35% of the total gains (versus if you’d remained invested).

Time in the market always beats timing the market.

What are the things you wished you knew before buying that first car and home? What is your take, Koshiek, on renting versus buying?

Koshiek: I wish that I’d negotiated harder on these two major purchases – everything from the price, the interest rate you’re quoted and the amount of your initial deposit are open to adjustments.

It may feel like a 1% saving on the quoted interest rate is a tiny saving, but over the long run it can save you hundreds of thousands. You should forensically study every single number and condition placed in front of you with the intention of negotiating.

What do you think are the three key things employers today are missing when it comes to young professionals?

Koshiek: I think that excessive red tape, being forensically micromanaged and being given repetitive, mundane, mind-numbing tasks turn long careers into short ones.

Three instant fixes that could help forge a closer relationship:

  1. Help define the young professional’s short and longer term goals by drawing up a roadmap to get there with concrete milestones and a defined timeline.
  2. Being paid a great salary is a huge driver, undoubtedly, but the non-financial aspects tend to get neglected. Employers can focus on engaging more on business school opportunities, extra time off, working remotely and possible role rotations into another team or in another country.
  3. They need to listen more. Young professionals may be new to the corporate world but have a treasure chest of great ideas and fresh perspectives that aren’t always sufficiently leveraged.

How much would you say is an appropriate amount for an emergency fund? Would it be three, six or 12 months of living expenses?

Koshiek: Naturally, the more you have on hand, the better. However, building up a reserve can be tricky and requires discipline.

I find it useful to break it up into a payment event and timeframe (eg, “I’ve saved up five months of rent”).

A successful emergency fund may buy you time and if you’re able to quantify that into relatable real-life expenses, it becomes much more tangible.

Koshiek, you have a great personal brand. How does a young professional work towards building a brand and reputation for future use and career prospects?

Koshiek: It may seem cliché, but authenticity is the cornerstone of any building any personal brand. Self-awareness is also key, you must know exactly why people and companies are attracted to your ability to add value.

A large part of your brand and reputation hinges on the perceptions and experiences of others. Your colleagues will forget the hundreds of projects you worked on, but they won’t forget how you made them feel.

Own your excellence and don’t be hesitant to sell your success stories. The more people know of you, the better. Build the track record of delivering excellence and everything else will fall into place.

Young professionals – just like you

If you enjoyed this post, watch our series on young professionals.

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