"Smartbucks mind your moolah" is a brand-new, locally-produced movie which is soon to be released in selected cinemas nationwide. While it will be highly entertaining and comical, its message is serious: it will teach our youth about money.
The film is a national financial literacy initiative from STANLIB Asset Management. Over 15 000 high school learners will be taken to cinemas country-wide to watch the 60 minute tongue-in-cheek movie on the pitfalls of improper spending. It is designed to instil a culture of saving in a country boasting one of the world’s lowest savings rates.
Thabo Dloti, CEO STANLIB, says, “Each year over 550 000 learners write matric and enter the labour market without an education in basic financial skills such as saving and investing. We are facing a social and economic catastrophe if something is not done. While ‘Smartbucks’ will educate learners about spending, we ultimately hope it will change their attitude towards money. We want this initiative to grow and develop for years to come, which is why we have partnered with the Department of Basic Education, Primestars and other institutions.”
While several campaigns have been undertaken over the years to raise awareness about the importance of saving and proper financial management, few have focused specifically on young people. While South Africa has one of the most developed financial services industries in the world, the country’s savings rate is alarmingly low when compared to other emerging economies. China’s savings rate constitutes about 50.6% of the country’s GDP, while South Africa’s savings levels are at 14.7% of GDP, according to STANLIB chief economist, Kevin Lings.
“South African household debt has risen by almost R900 billion in the past 10 years, or at an annual average rate of over 14% a year. In contrast, household income has risen by 10.5% a year over the same time, which means that SA households have lived beyond their means for the past ten years.
As a consequence the ratio of household debt to household income has increased from around 52% ten years ago to 75% currently. Fortunately, interest rates have fallen to their lowest level since 1974, which means that the interest cost of servicing debt has eased. Nevertheless, the increased cost of electricity, transport, food, education and medical services combined with the current low level of personal savings means that households are now especially vulnerable to any further economic shock”, said Lings in Johannesburg earlier today.
Dloti says much of the population needs to be made aware of the availability of savings tools that are easily accessible and inexpensive, as well as take measures to work down their debt. Although there are many savings options available, choosing the correct investment vehicle can be a daunting task for those who are not financially literate. With savings products for as little as R50 a month, investing is an option for all South Africans.
Martin Sweet, Managing Director of Primestars, says, “Many South Africans don’t have access to financial information until later in their lives, by which point it may be too late. This campaign is designed to arm young people with money management skills and encourages them to take these lessons into adulthood. For example, the two main characters in the film are naïve enough to borrow money from a loan shark, and as result have to repay huge interest in addition to the original loan amount. However, later, after learning about proper money management, they are equipped to make informed decisions about their finances.”
“We are excited about this project and trust that we will be able to reach high school learners from different communities, through the cinema experience. As Primestars, we are particularly grateful to all the sponsors of the project – STANLIB, Experian, Bidvest and the National Youth Development Agency – their involvement means that we can execute it on a large scale.”
On consecutive Sundays from 13 May – 10 June 2012, learners will view ‘mind your moolah’ in 14 Ster-Kinekor cinemas across the country, including Gauteng, the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape, the Free State, Limpopo and Kwazulu-Natal.