The South African Savings Institute (SASI), with support from Absa and the IDC, will again focus on financial education throughout July Savings Month, bringing together financial experts to provide tangible insights on savings through the #waystosave financial literacy education initiative. SASI CEO Gerald Mwandiambira says that in 2021, the focus is on driving awareness around how savings knowledge must be understood and accessible in more South African languages. The core #waystosave theme for 2021 is ‘Saving in YOUR language.’
The 2021 July Savings Month launch will take place at 11h00 on 30 June. Attended by media, government and financial industry leaders, the launch will spotlight South Africa’s savings behaviour. “SASI remains steadfast in our mission to really transform savings behaviour in South Africa. The launch of July Savings Month 2021 will feature a host of leading voices in financial education. It will include a vibrant panel discussion, sparking a national conversation on how savings knowledge and financial literacy can be made more accessible to all,” says Mwandiambira. “To quote Nelson Mandela, if you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart. Everyone can find ways to save in their own language.”
The July Savings Month launch will be followed by a series of in-depth webinars focused on students, stokvels, entrepreneurs and women, providing an opportunity for many to focus on their financial health. SASI has partnered with leading voices in financial literacy, offering savings insights and tools in various languages. “As we continue to battle the impact of the pandemic, it is even more critical for people to be money smart. But at times, savings and financial terms can seem like a foreign language,” says Mwandiambira. “#waystosave webinar speakers will address key issues targeted at specific audiences this year, including saving for students and young adults, bouncing back from retrenchment and saving through stokvels. There is something for everyone.”
Material will be released in Zulu, Sotho, Tswana, isiXhosa, Venda and Afrikaans. Those who participate in webinars could win cash to boost their savings.
Thami Cele, Head of Saving and Investments at Everyday Banking, Absa Retail and Business Banking, says, “We are proud of what has been achieved during our four year partnership with SASI. We have supported vital financial literacy awareness and initiatives that help people to make good saving and investment decisions. Through #waystosave, many people will continue to be able to access the expertise and help they need, and now in several languages.”
2021 also marks the twentieth anniversary of SASI. The organisation continues to promote a savings culture and believes that through its efforts and campaigns, more South Africans know about the importance of saving. “The fact that July Savings Month, a SASI initiative, is now observed nationally is testament to the efforts of all the individuals who over the years have contributed to SASI’s success. We thank our long standing Chairperson Prem Govender and the SASI Board for seeing SASIs continued relevance in a digital age,” says Mwandiambira.
The SARB Financial Stability Review published on May 27 shows an overall increased rate of savings for households in recent quarters. As a ratio of household income, savings reached a decade high in the third quarter of 2020 (1.4%) before moderating to 0.5% in the fourth quarter (Figure 47). At the end of 2021, Trading Economics projects South Africa’s Household Saving Ratio will stand at 0.6%.
The SARB report further shows that low-interest rates have significantly improved the debt-service capacity of households. Household debt-to-disposable income increased in 2020, reaching 75.3% in the fourth quarter of 2020. Despite this, the cost of servicing debt for households fell to 7.7% of income at the end of 2020, down from 9.5% at the end of the previous year and the lowest level in more than 14 years.
SASI Chairperson Prem Govender says, “Improvements in the level of household net wealth are encouraging and it shows we can save when under pressure. However, South Africa still has one of the lowest Household Savings Ratios in the world. At SASI, we believe a strong focus on financial inclusion by improving financial literacy across the population is key to improving this ratio. In our increasingly tough economic environment we need to find ways to save and avoid the credit trap. As the economy gradually recovers, interest rates may rise over the short to medium term, which will make paying off debts more difficult. We need to avoid financial blind spots and drive a savings culture to break the cycle of inter-generational debt.”
Mwandiambira concludes, “Cultivating a culture of savings and making expert knowledge accessible to all remains the focus of SASI and our dedicated partners. Join us in July Savings Month and find #waystosave in YOUR language.”
Follow @waystosave on social media for more and visit www.waystosave.co.za to register.
084 3510560 / Tamaryn@connectmedia.co.za