What Makes The Most Money Over 20 Years?

I want my money to grow and be fully safe

If you had R 100 000, where would you invest it? You don’t want to lose your money, but also not miss out on growth. Cash or equivalents have been the safe haven for people who don’t want to risk losing their money. The stock market, funds and ETFs have historically been seen as ‘risky’.

In this post, I look at the amazing 10% offered by African Bank, the hedge of the USD in the S&P500 ETF and other big words. I am basically doing a comparison between them and checking where my money will grow more. Oh, and I reference to gold as well.

I am basing my calculations from 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2020 – making it technically 21 years, but I want to include the data of the COVID-19 crisis. 

Is it worth investing in the money market?

I wanted to do a one on one comparison but decided to add some magic things in there. I found the data for the repo rate on the SARB website here. There seems to be data missing for 2000-2002, so I used the last value available (9.5%) to round it to 20 years of data.

No fees have been included. I have also excluded things like ABSA taking your money for their terrible investment strategies.

I am aware that interest is calculated daily, but compounded monthly. For simplicity’s sake, I have compounded and calculated them monthly. 

Repo rate

Using the repo rate from the SARB, I compounded the interest monthly to make it easier, as the data is not complete with weekends. 

I refer to this below as “normal interest”, as it’s normal and boring.

Repo + 1%

For those getting a good deal, the Repo rate + 1% has been included. 

From my quick research, the money market accounts are about 0.2 % above the repo rate for a R 100 000  investment.

African Bank- 10%

Though a bit riskier and 20 a year unrealistic return, let’s include the highest cash interest rate for scale. African Bank offers 10% compound interest rate on a 5 year fixed deposit (link here).

The Numbers

My calculations can be found here – for those paranoid and wanting to check how terrible I am at meth.

Starting amount: R 100 000

End Totals:

Repo Rate: R 484 480.55 

Repo Rate +1%: R 596 361.78

African Bank 10%: R 802 851.44

S&P 500

Everyone says you should be investing in an ETF these days. And the line is used that stocks outperform all other asset classes in the long run, but also that past performance does not indicate future performance. 

I want to show you how the S&P500 is doing, just so that you get a feel for the ups and downs. The below was taken from Charlie Bilello’s tweet here.

I am using the following assumptions:

  • My data used is year on year. Thus, I will use the previous year’s data to calculate the value of the following year. 
  • The S&P500 is actually tracked in USD. I am using the spot price from this website. –
    • 2000 – The exchange rate was R 6,1125/$, buying me $ 16320.78
    • 2020 – The exchange rate was R 14.59/$
  • Fees – I know it will be a lot less, and I am slightly overcompensated here and there, but this is why I added the index growth chart below as well to see the impact it has in the context of the article.
    • Dividends – all dividends have been reinvested. I have deducted a 20% dividends tax – I know it’ll be slightly less with the tax agreement, but the chart shows it makes a minimal difference for the purpose of the comparison.
    • EAC (Effective annual costs) – I have added a 1.5% fee in the grey value, which is what I will be using as my benchmark. EAC includes brokerage, legal, trading and other fees.  

The Numbers

My calculations can be found here – for those paranoid and wanting to check how terrible I am at meth.

Starting amount: R 100 000 ($ 16 359.92)

End Totals: R 669 736.57 ($45 880.22) @ ZAR 14.59 = 1USD


I don’t want to redo old posts, but I do want to give a mention of my post here. I know this is not a good comparison, as 2020 has done some shocking things to the market. This included a bumpy ZAR/USD with rating agency downgrades and gold rallies.

The below chart was calculated on an initial investment of R290k, as in the post (here). Don’t worry, I will make the comparison sort of easier! 

The Numbers

Taking the same calculations, the numbers would look like this (end 2019 numbers)

Starting amount: R 100 000 ($ 16 359.92)

End Total: R 605 545,17

Results and warning

I know everyone is going to run now and invest their money in African Bank’s 10% returns for 20 years. Don’t do that! It’s also not very diversified and also has already gone into business rescue. 

I want to mention that this was done in a scary period in our lifetime. We’ve been in lockdown, the market is freaking out and we’re wondering what to do. We might consider that pre-2020, the numbers would’ve looked different. The answer is no: 

R 40086,92 x R 14.00 = R 561 216.88 (ZAR/USD rate here)

Secondly, we need to note that the 10% all the way through is not necessarily realistic. We’ve had some higher and lower interest rates in these times, and the 10% might’ve gone up and down.


So, where can I invest R 100 000 and not lose all my money? Well, we know the answer is not so straight forward. We don’t want to lose money but do want exorbitant returns.

Investing is not only about getting the best returns. It is also about being well-diversified, spreading the risk of a collapse in any industry (or only the stock market) and drinking enough coffee.

Do your own meth.

Don’t trust my calculations.

Happy investing.  

Sources Consulted


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