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ANOU KOZ KAS : Covid, Money and Me

« Banane, bonis fini, Credit Card bill in vini, travay depi lakaz finn repran. » Nearly the end of January and doesn’t it already feel like déjà vu? Yes, we’ve had vaccines, borders have reopened but haven’t we been here before? How many of us have already missed our new year resolutions? If you’re feeling lost, grumpy, angry, even depressed, through this seemingly never ending covid saga, you’re not alone. Welcome to the collective trauma that the world is experiencing as we head into the third year of this pandemic.

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Every person’s life has been disrupted from the first day of the lockdown in March 2020. Since COVID-19 hit, Mauritius saw 1 in 4 adults in employment lose their jobs, business or primary source of income (i), tourist arrivals in 2021 83% lower than a pre-covid 2019 (ii), and children only attending school for circa 30% of the usual 180 days of the school year in 2020-2021(iii).

In times of chaos and uncertainty, it’s easy for our lives to spiral out of control. First to go is generally a healthy lifestyle. Sleeping patterns go awry, we stop exercising, instead of diri-lanti, we order ene feel-good takeaway. Feeling deflated after yet another videocall, we succumb, once again, to impulse online shopping. Add to that, the stress of caring for ageing parents and home-schooling the kids. One weary step after the other, we’re taking it one day at a time.

“COVID times”, we say as we shrug helplessly and nod at each other from behind our masks – bisous now scarcer than they once were. One way or another, we’ve all experienced loss (jobs, relationships, family members, lifestyle) and many of us are struggling with varying levels of stress and exhaustion. Setting aside the things that we cannot change, why not focus on what we can control?

Today is a new day. A new year can start today if we want it to. An opportunity to take stock and maybe « respirer et reculer pour mieux sauter ». Together, let’s make 2022 our year. But first, give yourself a high five and acknowledge that it’s been a tough two years but you survived. Now it’s time to thrive. This is where financial wellbeing comes into play. This year, anou koz kas, let’s talk about COVID, Money and Me.

Our money habits are established at a very young age from what we see and learn at home (iv). We all learnt Pythagoras Theorem at school but not how to manage our finances. Mind-boggling isn’t it? Money touches all aspects of our lives, from saving for a weekend « à l’hôtel » to buying a home, investing for the kids’ future and planning for retirement. Did you know that the leading cause of divorce, after infidelity, is money problems? Oftentimes, at the root of domestic violence and addiction also lies financial insecurity.

« Kan enn maler arive, nou debrouye. Me la, nou pe debrouye mem ale mem depi 2 zan. » [Priya, 35 years old, personal trainer who lost her job during the pandemic.]

Now is the time for a reset. Together, let’s get financially fit in 2022. This column won’t be about how to get rich quick. Instead, together, one after the other, we’ll tackle different topics on financial literacy. Money made simple. Stay tuned for the next instalment!

Your money questions answered:

« Mo bofrer dir mwa li’nn fer boukou kas dan crypto . Li dir mwa rantre mwa ousi. Ki ou panse? »

En bref, si ou ti mo bofrer, mo ti pou dekonsey ou. Personelman mwa mo golden rule pou investi se ki mo bizin kapav explik mo dadi sa ki mo pe aste. Crypto currencies se koumadir enn roupi, ene dollar virtiel ki fluctuer pou tou kalite rezon. Kontrerman a bann currencies saki bann labank santral kontrole, azordi crypto se inpe la jungle. Crypto kapav le futur me vremem high risk maybe reward. Fer atansion osi ena bokou scams lor Crypto. Anverite, si zordi kikenn dir ou ki souval pou zwe, ou ena plis sans gagn lekours Champ de Mars ki dan Crypto!

« An Fevriye 2020, mo kit mo travay chef dan lotel zis avan Covid pou ouver enn snack. Mo ena 33 zan, mo savings pe fini. Mo pe donn mo tonton koudme dan so karo. Kouma mo pou fer? »

Pa evidan mon ami, me anmemtan, mo dir ou enn gro felisitasion ek bravo pou ou sapit kouma antreprener. Pa bes lebra. Kan enn laport ferme, nou rod enn lot. Pandan ou kontinie debat dan karo, petet ou kav print bann business card pou partaz ar ou network? Met bann foto ou bann pla ek menu lor ou paz FB ou instagram ek koumans pran komann pou mariaz, fiansay, ene ti birthday party parsi parla. Sak roupi ed nou gagn nou dipin. Bon Kouraz! Pa bliye osi avoy ou bann contact enn ti reminder lor Whatsapp avan bann events ki pe vini la, kouma St-Valentin. Pa blie mansioner kouma ou catering unik akoz ou servi legim ou planter ou mem. Farm to table.

« Ti mo laniverser 17an eas Desam. Bann fami inn donn mwa enn ti kas pou lane ek Noel osi. Mo anvi ouver enn kont labank pou mo aste enn laptop lane prosenn avan al liniversite. »

Zwaye zaniveser!  Ek siper to pe pans lavenir ek to ledikasion. Ena enn kantite compte epargne/junior savings account depi so MCB ziska Maubank et MHC. Have a look around ek check sirtou (1) fees (2) interest rate (3) conditions par exanp si to bizin met enn sertin kas sak mwa pou gagn sa bon to dintere la. Ouver enn kont, li fasil. Normalman bizin enn paran vinn ar twa, enn pies idantite ek enn prev to ladres.

If you’ve got a money question or a topic you’d like us to cover, reach out at anoukozkass@gmail.com or IG@mauritiusmoneyandme.

References

(i) https://afrobarometer.org/sites/default/files/publications/D%C3%A9p%C3%AAches/ad427-mauritians_praise_covid-19_response-afrobarometer_dispatch-19feb21.pdf

(ii) https://statsmauritius.govmu.org/Pages/Statistics/Tableau-de-Bord.aspx

(iii) https://www.lexpress.mu/article/403487/rouvrez-ecoles

(iv) https://www.pbs.org/newshour/economy/making-sense/money-habits-are-set-by-age-7-teach-your-kids-the-value-of-a-dollar-now

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