Since the inception of Truth About Money, a 1Life initiative, in March 2014, 20 635* South Africans have taken the first step towards financial freedom. Through the financial education course, thousands of people from every walk of life have embarked on the journey of better understanding their finances, in order to make healthy financial decisions.
This figure definitely speaks to the need for South Africans to become even more financially independent in the future. In 2016 alone, over 5000* people registered for the course. Before embarking on the course, 43% of the people expressed that they worried about money on a daily basis. After they had completed the course, 80% began to look forward to the prospect of managing their finances in the future.
This Youth Month we have to ask ourselves if the youth’s frame of mind, regarding money, is influencing their financial decisions for the future.
The simple answer? “Well, yes. Most South Africans, especially the youth, tend to ignore the rule of delaying gratification which leads to instant purchasing behaviour and unnecessary spending. In addition, it’s extremely easy for the youth to take out loans, credit accounts and cards these days – making it easy for them to purchase items instantly instead of saving their money, which results in them owing majority of their pocket money and monthly income to creditors,” says Anton Keet, Trustee of the Truth About Money.
48% of the people who began the Truth About Money courses this year, wanted to know how to get out of debt. After completing the course, 67% found themselves understanding exactly how to get out of debt.
“Our statistics indicate that over 20 000 South Africans, mostly the youth, have gone through the Truth About Money financial literacy course – indicating a very real need, and desire, amongst our youth to get educated about how to effectively manage their money and how best to ensure a sound financial future – driven predominantly by the money and debt challenges we believe they are experiencing.”
These facts stress the need for society to realise that South Africa’s youth are generally ill informed about managing and planning their finances. They struggle to find ways to avoid bad debt and, sadly – like many adults, they aren’t equipped to plan for a better financial future. So are we doing enough to ensure that they learn healthy financial habits from a young age? Are we empowering them to become financially literate? And are they comfortable with and responsible for, effectively managing their own money?
With a strong move towards creating financial literacy opportunities for South African youth, by the government and the private sector, there is a marked improvement here. Despite this, we still have a long way to go in changing the lives of as many South Africans as possible.
Keet continues: “We believe that, through initiatives like Truth About Money, we are changing the lives of our youth by helping them better understand exactly how their money can work for them. It’s a great way to ensure that they are comfortable with their finances and feel equipped with the right knowledge and skill when it comes to money management. This will undoubtedly prepare them to be able to use their money effectively as adults, once they leave college.”
The youth are a vital focus-area for South Africa, as they are still in the beginning phase of learning financial independence. If educated successfully, they will be able to avoid the mistakes that will negatively impact them in the future.
“By starting with the youth, we can create a foundation for the positive change that South Africans have been waiting for. We all need to start somewhere, and so we are encouraging the youth to make it a priority to get educated around their finances and develop health financial behaviours. With our help, they can ensure a better financial future for tomorrow,” says Keet.
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