izak strauss business wealth strategy interview

February 2017. Interview by Marelise Jacobs. Cover: Izak Strauss - courtesy of Izak Strauss.

Former actor and television presenter Izak Strauss is passionate about business and wealth and is now combining his legal and tax background with business- life- and financial coaching with regards to personal finance. As an attorney and private wealth strategist he does wealth structuring, tax planning and legal advice for private clients. Perkolate spoke to this versatile and multi-talended professional to find out about his passions and career.

Please tell us about yourself?

Izak Strauss:I'm a wealth strategist. That's an unknown word but it means I'm an attorney, a business coach. I understand tax but I'm not an auditor, and I can do financial management but I combine it with life coaching.

It is the psychology of wealth that you need to add to it. And that is how I found my passion, because I did a bit of law, a bit of acting and presenting and everything taught me something. My coaching diploma taught me firstly to understand yourself to understand other people, and now I combine that. It works wonderfully now because now I need to understand legal, I need to understand tax, I need to understand how people think and how to ask good questions.

I had a lot of interests. This was not some big master plan, it all purely happened by chance. Everything I did previously was not a waste of time, it was preparing me for a bigger goal which is what I'm doing now.

I'm currently reading the book Grit by Angela Lee Duckworth. It's about saying talent is overrated, about putting in the hard work, putting in the practice. As the saying goes it takes ten years to become an overnight success.

Duckworth writes that a lot of people stress themselves by thinking they're going to wake up the next morning and know what their passion is, but it doesn't really happen that way. It starts with interest. When you're interested in something you're going to spend more time with it, you're going to do some deliberate practice and get better at, then you're going to see what is your passion. You will work towards that, and that's pretty much my story.

“...wealth is much more than money...” - Izak Strauss

I started studying law at Stellenbosch but I always knew I was never going to be an attorney. I knew I would never do it for the rest of my life. Then by chance, I had got the opportunity to audition for Villa Rosa. I moved up to Johannesburg to be on set everyday and did Villa Rosa for a year but I quickly realised that this is not really what I want to do either.

It did teach me a lot about people skills and about myself because you need to react to something somebody is giving you and understand your own emotions. After that I went back to Stellenbosch and continued studying. Then In my third year I got a call to audition for Kwela and I said let's do it. What was good at that point was that I could still study full time and present down in Cape Town. Once again that taught me so much more about asking questions and about listening.

After I graduated I got into one of the big firms where I did litigation but I told them I want to go into commercial and eventually I went into tax. I did corporate tax structuring and I learned so much about transactions, tax and finance, I always liked the commerciality of everything. That's why I enjoy being in business and investing. I didn't want to be an attorney my entire life but knew I had to grasp my way around being an attorney while understanding the commercial concepts. In the meanwhile I did my business and life coaching diploma and then the big question at that point was, can you couple coaching with the commerciality or finance? I realised you can't really do the one without the other. So a long story short I went into personal finance.

So you have found coaching to be your passion, helping them better their finances and personal lives as well?

Izak Strauss: Yes, my big passion is in wealth, and wealth is much more than money. Wealth is having the time, freedom and resources to do what you want to do, where you want to do it for however long you want to do it and who you want to do it with.

Of course it is also about money because money needs to buy you the life that you want to have, but it starts with why. And your why differs from my why and the next person's why. Figure out your why and then the money just needs to be a means to an end, to buy you the life that you actually want to live. That is my passion, so it's wealth in a greater sense but also advancing the lives of people and enabling them to prosper. If I can do that then I'm happy at the end of the day.