WIMVATION | Attooh
by Samantha Barnes
The attooh! Group provides the full spectrum of financial services product, and treats each corporate and individual with the same level of professionalism. With 160 financial advisors throughout South Africa, the attooh! Group has an average corporate client lifetime exceeding ten years. The ultimate objective is to ‘make ordinary people millionaires and make millionaires financially independent.’
Heading up the Corporate Benefits Division within the attooh! Group of Companies, Madeleen has developed tools to assist employer groups in managing corporate benefits effectively within their organisation. More importantly her passion for people makes her approach to training and education sessions very unique. “My financial wellness seminars are presented in a way that people can relate to and understand on every level. They are presented with some humour and real life examples.”
She relishes making a remarkable difference inside every organisation no matter how big or small.
Believe that Anything is Possible
How do you get out of your financial mess? One need not be deterred by the challenge. Madeleen shares an inspiring example of one of their staff members.
She had been with the company for 15 years before going through a divorce and was saddled with an astronomical amount of debt. “She had no idea where to even begin and investing was totally out of the question,” says Madeleen. “She followed a strict budget which we reviewed monthly. It took her six years to get out of her debt trap and the biggest rule was not to make new debt during that time.”
“She had to say no to many things she wanted and had a huge amount of discipline, but the day that she paid off her last debt was an enormous victory!” says Madeleen. Today she owns her own house and is investing enough money every month to ensure that she is able to retire independently.
There are key lessons to be learned from this scenario. “Understand exactly where you are with your finances and put a plan of action into place. Follow the plan with discipline. Celebrate your success. And believe that anything is possible.”
South Africans across the board are notoriously ill prepared when it comes to saving and investing adequately for retirement. Madeleen confirms that attooh! is passionate about making a difference and changing these statistics. To this end, attooh! offers online training courses, e-books, videos and webinars, as well as onsite financial wellness courses for corporate clients to empower them on all financial matters. Madeleen is proud of the ‘massive impact’ that attooh! is making to members of their funds, by offering these value adds
Achieve Financial Wellness
There is no room for excuses in achieving financial wellness. Even when someone’s salary is barely covering expenses or they are in debt, Madeleen believes that everybody is in a position to reach financial wellness. “A financial plan needs to be put into action. Just like a builder needs a plan to build a house, you need a plan to manage your money,” advises Madeleen.
he Journey Starts with You
Financial wellness is not just a single event; it is a journey, explains Madeleen. “It takes time and discipline to become financially well and financially independent. Financial wellness starts with a decision made by you.”
There is no quick scheme to get rich. Being prudent is preferable. Madeleen has always invested clients’ monies with established insurers, treating each client’s portfolio as if it were her own. Complacency is not an option. There needs to be ongoing renewal of your financial situation.
Whatever stage of the financial journey each individual member is at, Madeleen confirms that the attooh! Group is passionate about enhancing each individual’s life. This is facilitated through a unique offering that includes educating and empowering members with regard to their finances.
In Madeleen’s experience most women who invest are more conservative and cautious with their investments than men. It is reassuring to learn that women among the younger generation are taking ownership of their financial wellness journey. They want to be financially independent from their spouse’s portfolio.
Of the attooh! Group Madeleen declares, “We have a value add practice second to none in South Africa.” She ends the interview with a challenge to readers. “Get a plan. Put the plan in action and start now!” ‘The best way to predict the future is to create it’, as a sage person once said. Get cracking!
Healthy, Wealthy and Wise
South Africans are blessed with many financial planners worth their salt, or in this case, gold. Among them is Madeleen Van Den Berg, managing director, attooh! Financial Wellness. She doesn’t use that glib financial speak so often bandied around by financial planners. Madeleen is surprisingly candid about her motivation for being in the financial services industry.
Madeleen has been with the attooh! Group of Companies since 2011 and has a credible 18 years in the financial services industry. She describes herself as a ‘big dreamer,’ who opened her own brokerage in 2001. At the time she decided to ‘just do it’ and has not looked back since. She has been nominated for numerous industry awards and was recognised as the Top Healthcare broker within the Discovery Group for 2010.