Pretoria - South Africans are notorious credit card spenders and non-savers, with no plan for how they’re going to survive in the future.
Worse, many parents set a glamorous but perilous example to their children by buying the newest and flashiest of everything. Children, in turn, grow up with little understanding of the value of saving.
It’s against this backdrop that the Banking Association of SA rolled out its “Teach Children to Save” programme for the sixth year at schools throughout the country.
“A disturbing 67 percent of South African adults do not save, and it is critical that we end that trend and introduce a new conversation around finances, and start that conversation early,” says Fikile Kuhlase, senior GM of the Banking Association.
Two celebrity ambassadors for the programme, the hip hop artist ProVerb and TV actress Minnie Dlamini, have been driving the message home to pupils in grades 4 to 9, and giving them tips about how to discern a “need” from a “want”. Question is, do they put their money where their mouth is? Verve asked them to reveal their spending habits.
ProVerb, Idols presenter and hip-hop artist said,
“I was terrible with money when I was young. My parents gave me money at the beginning of a school term once, and I blew it all when I got off the bus. I bought cargo pants, shoes, and other nice clothes.
“I got my first car when I was a student at college. By then, I had learnt to save. It took a year-and-a-half to get that car. Now, as a husband and father of two, I’m much more conscious about money.
“Entertainers are perceived as wealthy because they’re on TV, but that’s not the case. We, of all people, have to be careful, because this industry is fickle.
“As for buying nice things, I like fashion and labels just as much as the next guy. But I’ve become smarter in the way I acquire stuff. I make sure my bases are covered, that my monthly debts and policies like medical aid, are paid first.
“When I look back, I think I squandered a lot of opportunities as a youngster. I wasn’t mature about my future. But I’ve developed an attitude of self-reliance and self-responsibility.
“Still, like everyone, I have my spending weaknesses. I buy sweets. And I don’t really have a five-year plan, except I know I want to be in business. The uncertainty of the entertainment industry makes me uneasy.
“I love it but I need to be realistic. What monetary safeguards do I have? I have property, and I’m investing in another one, a townhouse.
“And I have shares. I also have educational policies for my kids.
“I don’t have a credit card. I buy on a debit card only, which means I’ve got money in the bank to pay for it. I drive a black Volvo S60 D5, and that’s because Volvo sponsors it.”
Minnie Dlamini, actress and co-host of SABC1’s Soccer Zone said:
“I went to a good school and knew the difference between a need and a want. When I started working at 19, I was still at university, so the money I made was just for spending. I didn’t have to save.
“When I started working full time, I suddenly had rent to pay and groceries to buy. The first time I went shopping for myself, I filled the fridge with everything. Most of it got spoilt because there was no way I could eat it all. I had also blown my salary on expensive clothes and shoes.
“But I couldn’t go crying to my parents, so I had to go back to the fundamentals of what is important and what isn’t. I learnt the hard way. I have a credit card, but I don’t use it. Why pay more money for something than it’s actually worth in interest? Rather save up first, then buy it at its real value.
“I have a banker who has worked out a saving system for me. I’m almost finished paying off my house – it took one year because I was paying as much as I could. I want to buy another property, because property is a good way to increase your wealth. Because I don’t have a conventional job, I had to see to my own pension and medical aid and policies.
“My dad is a financial adviser, so I’m lucky. But it was scary when I was out of breakfast and lunch, not knowing what happens next.”
Other celebs and their money habits
Francois Hougaard (rugby player)
* Best: Investing with a wealth management company.
* Worst: Buying an expensive car.
Sivuyile “Siv” Ngesi (actor-comedian)
* Best: Giving to charity.
* Worst: Lending money to friends and family.
Jonathan Boynton-Lee (Top Billing presenter)
* Best: Buying an apartment on top of Northcliff.
8 Worst: Lending money to a friend to start a business.
Zakeeya Patel (actress in The Wild)
* Best: Any time I spent money on a plane ticket and travelling.
* Worst: Choosing to buy shoes over food.
Kriya Gangiah (presenter, model, DJ)
* Best: Whenever I go shopping. I don’t overspend.
* Worst: Renting a place, instead of paying off a bond. - Pretoria News