Ina Opperman
Business Journalist
3 minute read
25 Aug 2021
4:04 pm

These are the goals South Africans save towards

Ina Opperman

If people are able to save, what do they save towards? A digital bank asked them and these are the answers they received.

Picture: iStock

These are the goals South Africans save for: education, a house and creating generational wealth, according to TymeBank’s Save What Matters survey conducted to find out which goals or ambitions they prioritise and why, as well as their ability to back them up with savings.

TymeBank asked 1,585 people in an online survey during July what their greatest ambitions are and which goals are at the top of their lists. The results were very encouraging, showing that, despite everything, South Africans are focused on what they can control.

South African consumers are living in difficult economic and financial times that started even before the pandemic hit, making it easier for some people to attain their top three goals of education, buying a house and creating generational wealth, but more difficult for others.

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Goal number one: save for education

It was therefore surprising to see that a number of people are actively saving to make their goals a reality. According to the respondents, education was their first priority, because it makes the other goals easier to attain.

The majority of respondents, 70.4%, indicated that they value education above everything, with 41% actively saving for this. Education is even most important for 67% of respondents without children and 35% are investing in their education mainly to secure a better job and income.

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Goal number two: save for buying a house

Buying a house was in second place on the list of priorities with 57.5% of respondents. They value the physical security of owning a home and also see it as an investment for themselves and their children.

However, while respondents said they value home ownership, they indicated that affordability is the main reason why only 36.2% of them are actively saving to buy a home or already have a bond which they are paying off as fast as they can if they can afford it to take advantage of low interest rates.

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Goal number three: creating generational wealth

In the third place, 47.8% of respondents chose generational wealth as priority, with 27.1% actively saving for their children, grandchildren and retirement. However, feedback from respondents suggests this figure is higher, because many of them said they invest in education and owning a home to secure a financial future for their offspring.

The survey also shows that South Africans make a plan when they have to, with 37.5% of respondents indicating that they consider a side-hustle or starting a new business due to retrenchments, with older respondents wanting to supplement their pension.

A side hustle or business is a high priority for respondents with no children (44.8%), with 27.7% setting money aside for this. However, for parents the picture looks a bit different, with 35.3% of respondents who are parents saying this is important and only 19.8% saving to do it, possibly because they consider investing in their children’s education a greater priority.

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Other goals South Africans save for

During a pandemic, it is not surprising that 54.9% of respondents prioritise their physical, mental and emotional health above everything, regardless of age. What is surprising is that money really counts for only 27.6% of respondents, regardless of their income which shows that money is important for everyone.

Respondents indicated that culture (6.9%) and community (6%) also matter to them.

TymeBank’s head of marketing, Linda Appie, says the survey results paint a fascinating picture of the diversity of goals and aspirations of South Africans and what they will do to realise them.

“A savings culture goes beyond money. It is about understanding what is important to you and committing to a goal, whether it is saving money or something cultural.”

She says the insights are broadly aligned to the savings trends TymeBank is seeing in its own customer base, with TymeBank customers using its GoalSave product to save for their children’s education and buying a house, as well as travel and special occasions such as weddings.