Saving in YOUR language with #waystosave this July Savings Month

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.

(ENDS)

Media contact:

Tamaryn Brown

Connect Media

084 3510560 / Tamaryn@connectmedia.co.za

Get money smart with #waystosave July Savings Month webinars

July is Savings Month in South Africa, and this year the focus is firmly on finding #waystosave and adapting financial plans as we face the challenges 2020 brings. The South African Savings Institute (SASI), in association with Absa, will focus on financial education throughout July, bringing together financial experts to provide tangible insights on savings in the #waystosave Webinar Series.  #waystosave is an initiative of the South African Savings Institute (SASI) in association with Absa.

The pandemic has pivoted many into digital communications, and SASI is no exception. SASI acting CEO Gerald Mwandiambira says, “We’re focused on building a savings culture in South Africa and we’re excited to be able to reach large audiences through this free webinar series as we share knowledge from South Africa’s leading personal finance experts to help people make smarter money choices. The environment is very challenging at the moment, and we’re addressing relevant and topical issues including rebuilding your finances post COVID-19, bouncing back from retrenchment and saving through stokvels. We invite people to come on this journey with us and tackle money challenges, head-on.”

The #waystosave website includes a full online learning platform which will launch as the webinars progress during July, including challenge quiz formats. Those who register and complete the challenges could win R10,000 in a tax free savings account. Cash is also up for grabs during the webinars and a total of R20,000 will be given away, with several awards of R1,000 in each webinar set to boost the savings those who participate. 


Hosted by SASI acting CEO and personal finance author Gerald Mwandiambira and SASI Chairperson Prem Govender, the webinars kick off on 8 July at 19h00 with the launch webinar featuring award-winning personal finance journalist and author Maya Fisher-French;  financial journalist, speaker and entrepreneur Arabile Gumede; CEO of Just One Lap and host of the Fat Wallet podcast; Kirstia van Heerden, medical practitioner, broadcaster and social activist Dr. Sindi van Zyl and Group Head of Wellness at Absa Dr Lesego Rametsi.  

SASI Chairperson Prem Govender says, “As we deal with the impact of COVID-19, we need to be well equipped to make decisions such as taking payment holidays or accessing savings. Now more than ever, we need to focus closely on our finances and get expert advice.” Govender cites Wave 2 of the Stats SA surveys, which indicates that respondents are increasingly accessing savings due to reduced income as a result of lockdowns. While more than half of respondents said that their income has stayed the same since the national lockdown started, 25,8% reported a decrease in their income, mostly due to business closures.  75% of those with reduced incomes have reduced their spending to compensate, and half accessed savings to close the income gap. While 14,6% used UIF claims, one in three relied on extended family members, friends and/or their communities for support.

The Financial Stability Review published in May by SARB says that household finances remain under pressure, in line with challenging economic and employment conditions.  Credit extension to households increased faster than disposable income in 2019, reflecting a trend change. This increase in lending and how households are using more of their disposable income to service debt are key concerns for the savings rate. The composition of household debt has also moved increasingly towards higher-cost forms of financing.  

“Households are spending the highest amount of their disposable income on servicing debt since 2016,” says Govender. “In our increasingly tough economic environment we need to find ways to avoid the credit trap.  We must fundamentally stop living beyond our means and drive a savings culture to break the cycle of inter-generational debt.”

Thami Cele, Head of Saving and Investments at Everyday Banking, Absa Retail and Business Banking, says that while saving in the current environment may seem very challenging, it’s important to have a holistic understanding of your financial situation and focus on what you can do. “It’s time to arm yourself with the knowledge to access tools and make sound saving and investment decisions. The #waystosave approach is designed to last beyond July Savings Month and will help people to access the expertise and help they need to get on a solid financial footing.”

Gerald Mwandiambira, SASI acting CEO, says it’s important for South Africans to look towards developing innovative savings alternatives and reinforcing positive savings behaviour. “Cultivating a culture of savings and promoting alternative savings solutions in all spheres remains the focus of SASI and our dedicated partners.  Let’s find our #waystosave – it’s never too early to start.”