BACKSTORY: Chris Labuschagne, CEO of FNB Home Loans
This week we speak to Chris Labuschagne, the CEO at FNB Home Loans
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Approach all deals in good faith. Be open to learning and getting advice.
What was your first job?
During my student years, I often worked at my dad’s milling business doing all kinds of work, from counting and banking cash to repairing wooden loading pallets and stitching up maize bags. I learnt how real businesses work.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
I did my articles at the Nelspruit office of one of the Big Four audit firms. My starting package (2002) was R58,000 a year and I only had money for the rental of my garden flat, food and fuel. We used to travel a lot and travel claims that paid out allowed me to visit my girlfriend (future wife) 500km away every second weekend, and to buy beer.
What was the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
Take your job seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously.
If you could fix only one thing in SA, what would it be?
There are many things that need urgent attention, but are long-term projects, such as economic growth, education and infrastructure. The one thing I would fix in the short term would be to clean up our country, our cities, and our suburbs. Some wise people say that if you want to fix your life, start by making your own bed in the morning and cleaning your room. I think the same applies to our country.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I want to retire on a Karoo farm and live in an old, restored farmhouse.
What’s the worst investment mistake you’ve made?
For a short period, I worked as a financial manager for a small gold mining company that listed on the JSE. I bought into their story and business case, but lost most of the R100,000 I invested.
What’s the best investment you’ve ever made? And how much of it was due to luck?
The best investment decision I made was to start investing in ETFs and funds monthly. Consistency and time are your best friends when it comes to investments.
What’s the best book you’ve read recently and why did you like it?
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. He is a gifted writer and I am a bit of a history nerd.
What is the hardest life lesson you’ve learnt so far?
Never fully trust your head or your heart. Surround yourself with wise people when it comes to big decisions.
What phrase or bit of jargon irks you most?
“Let’s double click on the issue.”
What is something you would go back and tell your younger self that would impress him?
I’m fitter at 44 than I was in my 20s.
If you were President Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?
Get competent people in critical roles. Today.
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