Teaching SA’s kids to save

15 July 2008

The Banking Association of South Africa and the South African Savings Institute are to pilot the Teach Children to Save initiative on 25 July, in an effort to encourage youngsters increase their financial awareness and to start saving earlier in their lives.

The Teach Children to Save Day has been sponsored in the USA by the American Bankers Association Education Foundation (ABAEF) since 1997, and the highly successful programme is now being piloted in South Africa, Mexico and Turkey.

“In South Africa, the pilot project will lay the groundwork for an ongoing annual event that will highlight the important role that volunteer bankers and financial sector professionals can play in educating our nation’s youth about the lifelong habit of saving,” says the Banking Association of SA.

The South African version of the campaign, which is supported by the national education department, has lessons that are aimed at students in Grades four to seven.

The initiative aims to promote financial literacy, foster a culture of saving, promote volunteerism, create awareness about the value of money and the importance of savings and assist students to appreciate that being able to chose empowers them.

While modelled on the original US initiative, the local programme has been customised for South Africa, and the pilot was deliberately timed to coincide with South Africa’s Savings Month, July.

Teach Children to Save SA has also adopted motto of Savings Month, Ligotshwa lisase manzi, a Zulu saying that means that if you want to shape a stick, you will best do it while it is still moist – referring to the need to focus on youngsters.

Volunteer bankers

Volunteer bankers and financial sector professionals will deliver one-hour lessons on why saving is important, how to design a budget, recognising needs and wants, and how interest makes money grow.

To date, local financial institutions including Absa, African Bank, Capitec Bank, First National Bank, Nedbank and Standard Bank have pledged their support for the initiative, which also has the backing of USA-based Citi Bank.

“Bankers and financial sector professionals will use lesson plans and their work-based knowledge and skills to inspire learners in Grades four to seven to become lifelong savers,” the Banking Association of SA said.

Saving, budgeting and banking

The curriculum to be used by the volunteer bankers covers the basic concept of saving, as well as the following:

 

  • Reasons to save – Saving is the best way to get the things you want and need and to achieve individual or household security and peace of mind.
  • Budgeting to save – Budgeting is the key to finding out how much you can afford to save based on how much you spend now. Understanding the difference between needs and wants is the first step in decreasing spending and increasing saving.
  • Where to save – The bank is the safest place for your money. Banks offer different types of accounts to help you make the most of your savings. Interest is the money that the bank pays you while you keep money in your account.

 

“Whilst we cannot claim that a one-day event will influence behavioural change, we can guarantee that your presence at that school will leave a lasting impression on the scholars and may resonate well into the future in the promotion of a financially literate society,” said the Banking Association of SA managing director Cas Coovadia in a letter issued to the banks.

The South African pilot initiative’s founding partners include the Banking Association of South Africa, the South African Savings Institute, the American Bankers Association Education Foundation, Operation HOPE, and Citi.

SAinfo reporter

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