Financial behaviour: Power of financial education for students

Recent studies highlight that third-year university/tertiary SA students, especially women and black youth, have low levels of basic financial education.

In a recent webinar hosted by Blackbullion South Africa, the positive and transformative impact of financial education on the financial behaviour of South African youth, particularly third-year students, was highlighted.

The webinar, led by key figures at Blackbullion SA, shed light on the significant shift in financial knowledge and behaviour resulting from exposure to comprehensive financial education.

Blackbullion South Africa, a leading provider of online content designed to develop essential money skills and financial confidence among students and youth, analysed self-reported data from more than 2 500 users on its platform.

The findings were particularly noteworthy for women and black youth, who demonstrated low levels of basic financial education prior to their engagement with the platform.

The analysis revealed significant changes in the users’ financial behaviour after engaging with the platform, highlighting the effectiveness of financial education in promoting responsible financial habits.

Prior to receiving financial education, only 30% of respondents reported regular savings.

However, this percentage increased to 40% after their engagement with the platform, indicating the positive impact of financial education on encouraging savings.

The data also indicated a notable increase in individuals adopting disciplined money management practices, such as implementing monthly budgets.

The percentage of individuals engaged in budgeting rose from 41% before financial education to 58% afterwards, emphasising the direct role of financial education in promoting effective money management.

Additionally, financial education had a positive influence on investment habits and asset ownership. The percentage of individuals investing in shares, stocks, bonds, equities, or cryptocurrency increased from 7% to 11% with access to comprehensive financial education.

Moreover, asset ownership experienced a slight rise from 2% to 3% according to Blackbullion’s findings. The participation rate in stokvels, community-based savings groups, also saw an increase from 12.3% to 15%.

Ronell Jordaan, partners and project manager at Blackbullion SA, highlighted the significance of these findings, stating: “The data clearly shows the positive shift in financial behaviour resulting from financial education. We’re thrilled to see that our efforts in providing comprehensive financial education are making a tangible difference.”

The findings from the webinar underscore the critical need for enhanced financial education in South Africa.

By equipping individuals with the necessary knowledge and skills, comprehensive financial education has the potential to transform financial behaviour, promote responsible saving, disciplined money management and encourage investment for a secure financial future.

As organisations like Blackbullion South Africa continue their dedicated efforts to provide accessible and comprehensive financial education, the potential to bridge the gap in financial knowledge and empower South African youth expands.

With enhanced financial literacy, individuals can make informed decisions and take control of their financial well-being, fostering a more financially resilient and prosperous society.

Here are ten tips to support students in enhancing their financial literacy:

Start early: Begin learning about personal finance as soon as possible to develop good financial habits and make informed decisions.

Create a budget: Develop a budget to track your income and expenses, allowing you to understand where your money is making necessary adjustments.

Track your spending: Keep a record of your expenses using smartphone apps or spreadsheets to identify patterns and areas where you can reduce spending.

Save regularly: Cultivate a habit of saving a portion of your income regularly, gradually increasing your savings over time. This will help you build an emergency fund and work towards your financial goals.

Understand credit: Learn about credit scores, how they are calculated, and their impact on your financial life. Use credit responsibly and pay your bills on time to maintain a good credit history.

Avoid debt traps: Be cautious about taking on unnecessary debt, such as high-interest credit cards or loans. Understand the terms and conditions before borrowing money and only do so when necessary.

Invest wisely: Educate yourself about basic investment concepts and various investment options. Start with small investments and gradually expand your knowledge and portfolio over time.

Learn about taxes: Understand how taxes work and their impact on your income. Familiarise yourself with deductions and credits you may be eligible for. Seek professional advice or use tax software to simplify the process.

Be a smart consumer: Develop good spending habits by comparing prices, reading reviews, and avoiding impulsive purchases. Look for discounts, sales and consider buying used or second-hand items when appropriate.

Seek financial education resources: Take advantage of available financial education resources such as books, videos, podcasts, workshops and seminars to continually enhance your financial knowledge.

It is crucial to recognise that financial literacy is a lifelong journey. Students are advised to maintain a commitment to continuous learning, seek advice from experts, and apply their knowledge to make informed financial decisions at every stage of their lives.


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