Household financial wellness is at risk as more consumers battle to make the right financial choices, Momentum/UNISA index reports

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Momentum and UNISA celebrate ten years in partnership delivering the annual Momentum UNISA household index. This year, the third annual Science of Success Festival was held in Bryanston with high flying media personalities and consumers. The festival unpacked the report in bite-size and digestible ways to highlight how certain behaviours can accelerate or decelerate one’s journey to success. Guests interacted with experts to sharpen their financial skills and behaviours through education stations across the festival.

We need to empower South Africans to make the right choices regarding their finances at home and in their businesses. Momentum as a brand is here to aid in sharpening consumers’ minds with the correct information and tools. This is an effort to create a more financially empowered citizenry, says Nsubuga-Mukasa, head of Momentum Brand.

The index in its 10th anniversary includes a new addition, a focus on the financial wellness of SMMEs and hustlers, which is a massive opportunity for South Africans to create wealth and address unemployment within the youth category. Furthermore, the report is a helpful resource for all South Africans to utilise as they search for easy, quick and simple things they can do to take control of their financial wellbeing. 

Commenting on the financial report researcher, Monique Schehle says, “In a time marked by significant disruption, the data shows the importance of financial education in the household, more so that consumers are dealing with depleting mental bandwidth which results in tunnelling on many problems households face. This means consumers tend to focus only on the challenges that consume them without keeping the broader context of life in mind; this makes it difficult for households to discern between seemingly right and the right choices that may have a long-term impact on their financial success.”

Some of the key insights that stood out from the report this year include the vulnerability of women and youth to financial instability and wellness. The report covers three thematic areas: the macro environment, micro household index and SMMEs and hustlers as a category. Below are some of the findings from each category:


Macroeconomic environment:
  

  • The economy is back at 2013 levels. In terms of the size of the economy, seven years of economic progress were erased by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • On the employment front, Stats SA measured 1.4 million fewer people in employment at the end of 2020 compared to 2019.
  • Of the total South African population: Just 22 out of every 100 people had a job by the end of 2020. This is extremely low by international standards.
  • Just 12 out of 100 people earned enough to be personal income taxpayers in 2020.

The state of South African household Financial Wellness – The Index results:

  1. The index score fell from 68.7 in 2019 to just 65.2 index points in 2020
  2. More than two-thirds of the households in the Financially Exposed grouping have at least one member that completed secondary education, while almost 20% possess a tertiary qualification as the highest qualification in the household

Research insights:

  1. 45% of households indicated they don’t have financial goals
  2. Only 17.4% of all households were on track to achieve all their financial goals in 2020.

Vulnerable group: Women 

  1. The unfortunate truth is that about 18% of female FKP households are considered financially well, compared to 28% of male FKP households.
  2. Only 47.7% of female FKP households will cope with a financial emergency (significantly lower than the 60.6% of male FKP households).

Vulnerable group: Youth

  1. More than 60% of youth deemed satisfactory to excellent financial knowledge and skills, BUT they have deficient financial literacy levels when measured.

SMME and Side Hustle Entrepreneurs

  1. The Small Enterprise Development Agency estimated that there are currently 2.3 million SMMEs operating in South Africa, most of them being informal. This decreased from 2.6 million in Q1 2020, ultimately also pointing to many losing their employment. 
  2. 14% (2 639 126) of South African Households obtain an additional income from a Side Hustle

“These insights provide South Africans with a meaningful overview to better understand, interpret and navigate the current state of their finances. This coupled with the right financial advice and support that Momentum is well-equipped to provide, South Africans can have the right discernment advantage that will enable their financial success,” concludes Nsubuga-Mukasa.

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