South Africans: young and financially hungry

‘We are experiencing a greater demand for no-nonsense, to-the-point financial information among 20- and 30-somethings.’
Igor Rodionov, MD of Advicement Investment Services, Shaun Keeling, Olympic rower, and Kristia van Heerden, CEO of Picture: Moneyweb

Despite a challenging economic environment, young South Africans are starting to take their finances far more seriously and are starting to take an active interest in planning for retirement.

This seems to be a key theme from the 2017 Retire Well Masterclass recently hosted by Moneyweb and Liberty at Summer Place in Sandton.

“For me, one of the most encouraging signs from the event was the number of younger people – under the age of 40 – who wanted to be engaged in discussions around retirement,” says Moneyweb Managing Director Marc Ashton.

This sentiment was echoed by Igor Rodionov, the MD of Advicement Investment Services, who spoke on a panel discussion. Rodionov pointed to the profile of young South Africans engaging around the event through social media.

Rodionov pointed to the demographic of his newly-launched savings product where 171 users had signed up in the last quarter and the average age of those users is 32. He was encouraged by the younger generation taking advantage of technology to drive their savings and investment habits.

Advicement works off the popular EasyEquities platform, which has secured more than 70 000 clients. According to marketing manager Almero Oosthuizen, more than 60% of their clients on the platform are under the age of 35.

Co-panelist and CEO Kristia Van Heerden made similar observations saying: “We are experiencing a greater demand for no-nonsense, to-the-point financial information among 20- and 30-somethings. This audience doesn’t want to be spoon-fed financial advice by an expert and there’s a real hunger for a solid foundation based on clear information and transparency.”

Van Heerden goes on to say: “These are children of generations who were negatively affected by expensive, poorly-constructed financial products that benefited service providers to the detriment of the consumer. The effects of not openly discussing and understanding finances are the lived experiences of people in their 20s and 30s and their parents. Finding transparent, low-cost retirement and investment products has become a form of activism.”

Liberty itself has been at the forefront of innovation in the savings space in South Africa with the release of its highly popular “Stash” application which allows you to invest your spare change in a tax free savings account. The application has signed up more than 12 000 users in the first 5 months of going live, making it one of the most popular savings mechanisms in the country.

At a time when ordinary South Africans are finding themselves under financial strain, it’s encouraging to see that technology and education are creating a base of young people who are keen to empower themselves through good financial habits.  

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