Me & My Money: Dion Shango

Published 6 years ago

The IMF says the global economy is likely to expand 3.7% in 2018. What is your personal investment philosophy?
A 3.7% growth rate for the world economy is quite thought-provoking when considering that some emerging markets, such as South Africa, are not expected to grow by much more than 2% in 2018. The foundation of my personal investment philosophy is the elimination of debt, starting with the most expensive debt.

Is it mainly cash, stocks or mutual funds where there is growth? Any other preferred financial instruments?
The organization that I work for restricts me from directly investing in shares, due to independence requirements, and so I generally do not invest in shares. The asset I find attractive is property, followed by unit trusts. Interest rates are currently low, and have been so for some time as a result of the pressure that the global economy has been under, and so I do not consider cash to be an attractive asset class.

What about real estate, art, jewelry, wines, watches…? Do you see them as worthwhile investments too?
I strongly believe that real estate should form part of any wealth creation and preservation strategy. I have never invested in art, jewelry or wines (as an asset), and so cannot speak with any authority on these type of investments. Over time, and with the exception of the odd property bubble, real estate has proven itself to be able to generate inflation beating returns for relatively low risk. However, one should always be cautious of property bubbles and unrealistic expectations.


How do you balance your portfolio between liquid and fixed assets to build wealth?
We are fortunate enough to live in a country that still makes it possible to hold a good balance of both, and where fixed investments can be liquidated with relative ease. This is not always guaranteed in other parts of the world. When one is still young, I believe a portfolio should always be weighted towards fixed assets, with the liquidity being prioritized as and when one gets nearer to retirement.

Is investment about getting rich or increasing savings? What are your own long-term goals?
The first goal of investment should be to secure financial independence and the ability to sustain one’s lifestyle long after retirement. This does not necessarily translate into being wealthy. After all, wealth is a relative term. With people living longer and longer, the ultimate long-term goal is to have enough to live on after retirement without having to make significant changes to one’s lifestyle.

What returns do you target from your investments and how do you monitor it?
As a minimum, one should target for one’s investments to outstrip inflation and to cover any investment and financing costs associated with that investment. I enlist the services of a broker to monitor performance.

What do think the seven habits of successful investors must be?

Perhaps not seven in total, but a good mentor once told me the following:
1. Try and pay off your debt in the shortest possible time.
2. Do not be greedy.
3. Do not follow the herd.
4. Invest for the long-term, and do not be fazed by short-term volatility.
5. Life is not only about money.

Was there any one time when you thought your plans didn’t work, especially in a volatile market?
All asset classes come with some exposure and risk. Very few people in the world can claim not to have been impacted in some way or another by the 2008 global financial crisis.


With longevity increasing and global billionaires investing in prolonging life, how best can one be retirement-ready?
Retirement-readiness is a big problem in society today, and it is an accepted fact that people generally do not save enough for retirement. There is unfortunately no silver bullet to this. The simple fact is that one gets retirement-ready through exercising discipline in saving, and to start saving for retirement at the youngest possible age. Of course, one is always in control of one’s lifestyle.