by Salu Yekela
Why don’t the majority of people save? Why must saving be made out to be this tedious and unexciting task? Even when you look at bank catalogues, there is just something about the words “savings and investments” that sounds so dull and unmoving. Why is this? Could it be that the act of saving has been approached incorrectly?
Traditionally saving has been synonymous with a serious identity, e.g. parents saving for their children to attend university one day, or perhaps saving for a rainy day. This has always been the typical mature reason behind saving especially for the older generation. These kinds of savings, although not prevalent, are still quite popular and in existence. Recent studies, up to as recent as 2018 have shown that millennials are not as financially savvy as their counterparts were a decade ago.
This conversation has even gone as far as suggesting that the government introduces financial education as a compulsory subject as early as primary school level. This is how detrimental the situation has been perceived and although this somewhat drastic change in savings does not only apply to millennials, it is clear that a slightly different approach is required in order to attract people to the world of saving.
I like to think of it as ‘endless possibilities vs missed opportunities’. If one were to sit and think of all the endless possibilities that await them once they start to save they’d be amazed at the innumerable things that they could do. These range from being able to venture on that overseas holiday to putting down a hefty deposit for a new house or car. One could even save up to start a new business or for school fees for further studies.
These are the ‘endless possibilities’ that make the habit of saving change from being uninspiring to exciting. If we save, we can create our own world of endless possibilities. If we don’t, we have missed opportunities to have something that wasn’t there or to experience something new. The good news is that it’s never too late to start, and the art of saving itself doesn’t always have to be a long-term activity but can be broken down into short-medium-and long-term goals.
A real-life example is the 21-month-old black woman stokvel known as ‘Funds For Women’. They’ve raised R360 000 from monthly contributions of R100 a month. Now that the money is there, this presents endless possibilities as there are many things that can be done with the money especially as it continues to grow monthly. Had these women decided not to start with those initial small deposits of R100 in October 2017, this would have been a big missed opportunity. There would be no R470 000 to talk of.
Going forward, let your attitude towards saving be shaped by ‘endless possibilities’ so that you don’t sit and stare at ‘missed opportunities’. Allow me to pose a new challenge. How about various groupings of entrepreneurs coming together and saving up for a new business venture?