A third of people do not seek out any advice when making decisions about their money, whilst only one in a hundred would go to their bank manager for financial advice, new research by www.justmoney.co.za reveals.
The poll of visitors to South Africa's online guide to money found that the biggest source of financial guidance is newspapers and websites like www.justmoney.co.za, according to 31% of people.
Paul Beadle, managing director of www.justmoney.co.za, says: "It is worrying that a third of people don't get any guidance when making vital decisions about their money. It shows how low the level of financial understanding is in South Africa."
Beadle says that consumers need to take more responsibility for their finances, including getting guidance and advice. He explains: "It is encouraging that so many people are now using websites like www.justmoney.co.za and the personal finance sections of newspapers to get information about money. It shows they are thinking about their circumstances and, by using www.justmoney.co.za, are actively comparing products to identify those that suit them best.
"People need to act upon this information by getting specific advice from regulated advisers, such as mortgage brokers, independent financial advisers and qualified debt counsellors, who can provide unbiased advice based on a person's specific circumstances, whether regarding their debts, home loans, insurances or investments."
Beadle says that although banks were rated poorly by www.justmoney.co.za visitors, and they only offer information about their own products, South African banks are actually a good source of information.
He continues: "Our banks have been given a hard time because of their pricing, but when you see how badly many overseas banks are suffering in the current economic melt-down, it shows how safe and well-run the local banking industry really is.
"Many banks have made great strides in recent years, not only to tackle the perception of high bank charges, but also to introduce more innovative products, such as savings and investments accounts. Although you should not rely solely on the information from your bank, it is well worth comparing its products with what else is available in the marketplace to find the right products and best deals for your needs."
The www.justmoney.co.za poll asked:
Where do you go for advice about money?
- 1% said: My bank manager
- 13% said: Friends and family
- 22% said: A financial adviser
- 31% said: Newspapers and websites
- 33% said: Nobody!
www.justmoney.co.za has been created to help South African's save money by demystifying financial services and helping them to make informed decisions about their money. Users can get information about products, but they can also contact independent advisers for help with issues such as getting a home loan, managing their debts or taking out life insurance.
Completely independent and unbiased, www.justmoney.co.za also features a host of comparisons, tools and guides, enabling people to search and apply for new products, all online and completely free of charge.