A brand-new local movie titled Smartbucks Mind Your Moolah will soon be released in selected cinemas around the country. It will be highly entertaining and comical, but its message is serious: to teach SA’s youth about money.
The film, a national financial literacy initiative from Stanlib Asset Management, is designed to instil a culture of saving in a country boasting one of the world’s lowest savings rates. More than 15 000 high school pupils will be taken to cinemas to watch it and learn about the pitfalls of improper spending.
“Each year over 550 000 learners write matric and enter the labour market without an education in basic financial skills, such as saving and investing,” says Thabo Dloti, chief executive of Stanlib.
“We are facing a social and economic catastrophe if something is not done. Smartbucks will educate learners about spending, but we ultimately hope it will change their attitude towards money.”
Several campaigns have been undertaken over the years to raise awareness about the importance of saving and proper financial management, yet few have focused specifically on young people.
SA has one of the most developed financial services industries in the world, but its savings rate is alarmingly low when compared to other developing economies.
“South African household debt has risen by almost R900 billion in the past 10 years, or at an annual average rate of over 14 percent a year,” says Stanlib chief economist Kevin Lings.
“In contrast, household income has risen by 10.5 percent a year over the same time, which means that SA households have lived beyond their means for the past 10 years.
“Fortunately, interest rates have fallen to their lowest level since 1974, which means that the interest cost of servicing debt has eased.
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“Nevertheless, the increased cost of electricity, transport, food, education and medical services combined with the low level of personal savings means that households are now especially vulnerable to any further economic shock.”
Dloti says much of the population needs to be made aware of the availability of savings tools that are easily accessible and inexpensive, as well as take measures to work down their debt.
Martin Sweet, the managing director of marketing company Primestars, says “many South Africans don’t have access to financial information until later in their lives, by which point it may be too late”.
“This campaign is designed to arm young people with money-management skills, and encourages them to take these lessons into adulthood,” says Sweet.
“We are excited about this project and trust that we will be able to reach high school learners from different communities through the cinema experience.
“We are grateful to all the sponsors of the project: Stanlib, Experian, Bidvest and the National Youth Development Agency. Their involvement means that we can execute it on a large scale.”
On consecutive Sundays from May 13 to June 10, the school pupils will view Smartbucks mind your moolah in 14 Ster-Kinekor cinemas across the country.