Palesa Lengolo is a founding director of Palengo Holdings, a black woman-owned company, which was formed with the intention to acquire stakes in other companies, educate and empower people to invest. She’ll be speaking at the 2017 Money Expo. To catch Palesa and others, register for the event here.
NASTASSIA ARENDSE: Money Expo 2017 will once again be hosted at the Sandton Convention Centre on July 28 and 29 this year. Now in its third year, it brings together industry experts on finance, investing and entrepreneurship. Today we have one of the speakers, Palesa Lengolo, who is the founder of Palengo Holdings. Palesa, thank you so much for your time and welcome.
PALESA LENGOLO: Thank you so much.
NASTASSIA ARENDSE: Let’s start off with who Palesa is, and then we’ll get into what it is you’re hoping to achieve with Palengo Holdings.
PALESA LENGOLO: Palesa is just an ordinary lady on a quest to finding financial comfort – others call it financial freedom – and help others in the process. Basically that’s what I do and that’s who I am.
NASTASSIA ARENDSE: What inspired you to start Palengo Holdings?
PALESA LENGOLO: The big gap between financial services and the ordinary person. I wanted to be the educator between financial services and the ordinary person. Ordinary people don’t really understand all the financial products that are being offered to them and sometimes the financial services don’t really know the real need of the ordinary person. So I just wanted to be that person in between.
NASTASSIA ARENDSE: Everyone has a story. Whether you have a passion for being in medicine or law, there’s a story behind what ignited it. For you, what would you say ignited your passion for finance?
PALESA LENGOLO: My passion for finance is definitely from the way I was brought up, my parents didn’t have much but they did so much with so little. So they are the real financial educators because they were getting such small salaries but were able to do so much with them. So that’s where the love of finance came from.
NASTASSIA ARENDSE: A lot of people who come onto Moneyweb or do interviews with a lot of the journalists will talk about financial education in the country and the importance of it. From your perspective, what do you think are the most critical steps in building that financial education?
PALESA LENGOLO: Financial education is very important in our country. One of the things that I think is very important is to start the financial talk with our kids when they are still very young. Basically you must start speaking about money matters and most importantly [work for] financial literacy to be introduced to schools. If there’s Life Orientation, which is an important subject, then financial literacy should also be one of the subjects that’s very important because we need financially literate people in every sector.
NASTASSIA ARENDSE: I think if you go through a lot of reports conducted by various organisations they always talk about how women are becoming an important force in terms of the kind of products you are selling for them, and the kinds of interests that you are providing that make them say this is something I’d like to invest in. From looking at the trends that you’re seeing in terms of what is out there, what do you think women need to be aware of as the trend to attract them plays out, and the financial products associated with that?
PALESA LENGOLO: More women are definitely playing a bigger role when it comes to managing the finances of the household, and they are becoming a very lucrative client in terms of financial products now. So it’s of utter importance for them to be financially literate. Some of the research I have read says that South African women are rated 23 out of 27 countries surveyed in terms of financial education; so that’s really bad. We need to do something to educate ourselves as women when it comes to our finances, because we are contributing more and more to the economy, we are getting into businesses, we are getting into positions that are very powerful, where women can be the breadwinners and control the finances. So when it comes to investment knowledge and financial education we need to put more effort in, as women, to educate ourselves about the different products that are out there and seek certified financial advisors. And being a knowledgeable client is very important because then you know what to ask the financial advisor, and you know what you are looking for when you are looking for investment education.
NASTASSIA ARENDSE: So for whoever is listening out there, once I dial and get through to Palengo Holdings, what’s on the other side for me. What do you offer?
PALESA LENGOLO: We offer investment education; we offer you facts about what’s out there, what’s being offered, the educational side of it and not the advice of it. We do refer people to certified financial advisors but for us what is important is for you to understand what the product is all about. Often with many of the offers out there you just see a sales pitch more than an educational product, so that’s where we come in and educate you to understand it better. Before you get into any contract or any advice, you know what you’re talking about, you know what the expert is telling you. So it’s very important to know that information because that’s how you become financially literate.
NASTASSIA ARENDSE: We’ll have to leave it there, thank you so much for your time.
PALESA LENGOLO: Thank you so much.
NASTASSIA ARENDSE: That was Palesa Lengolo, who is the founder of Palengo Holdings.