Recent statistics released by the National Credit Regulator (NCR), reveal that the total outstanding debt owed by South African consumers has increased to R 1.66 trillion. Further to this, if we consider that South Africa has a low savings rate2 – then there is no doubt that, this - coupled with news that the country has slipped into a recession - consumers can expect more turbulent times ahead.
In fact, these statistics point to a larger problem - the need for financial education in South Africa to promote a stronger savings and investment culture among consumers. The fact is, should consumers choose to ignore this essential aspect of their financial wellbeing, these staggering debt statistics and financial related stress are likely to only worsen. As such, it is imperative that consumers not only take serious steps to become more financially educated in a bid to better manage their finances, but that they go back to the drawing board and recommit towards having a solid savings plan in place.
With that said, do South African consumers have the support they need to be able to become more educated around their finances? And, what options do they have available to them to assist them in making more informed financial decisions?
The good news is that today, there are resources that are now readily available to consumers and aim to provide them with the practical means required to assist them in becoming more financially empowered. However, more can still be done.
We all have a role to play. Corporate South Africa needs to realise and understand the pivotal role that they play, through prioritising the support for financial education, to help promote a better savings culture among all South Africans. In doing so, the realisation of a stronger savings culture and decreased debt levels may happen sooner than we expect.
Consumers too, need to make use of the resources available to them that they can access to help empower them financially, so that they are better informed about debt management.
One such programme that brings these two elements together is 1Life’s Truth About Money initiative, which is making financial education accessible to all South Africans – South Africans that are looking to learn about sound money management skills while at the same time making their money work best for them.
This financial education course promotes financial freedom for consumers and covers all aspects relating to finances, including money management, debt management, wills and the winding up of estates in a way that enables those registered to the course to make change for the good within their lives.
In light of National Savings Month, now is an opportune time for South Africans to do just that – reflect on the state savings and money management in South Africa. This is also an appropriate time for consumers to re-evaluate their current financial behaviours and to identify areas that can be improved. By doing so, consumers are also able to find areas that they can cut back on within their budget, and that they are putting enough money away to be able to cover all the unexpected expenses that creep up now and then.
This National Savings Month, 1Life is giving you a chance to win guaranteed access to a financial literacy course through its Truth About Money initiative, worth R2 500 each. This initiative has helped thousands of South Africans, and now it’s your turn to take charge of your finances!
You can also read more on Truth About Money here: www.truthaboutmoney.co.za
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