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Top level strategists bring Savings Month to climax

By Staff Writer
National Savings Month reaches a climax today (Thursday, September 2) with a high level Savings Workshop at the Reserve Bank Conference Centre in Pretoria to spur debate on the savings challenge in the aftermath of recession.

Strategic insights into the impact of recession on short-term savings and retirement planning and possible responses are being presented by authoritative figures from the Reserve Bank, National Treasury, the Financial Service Board, the Banking Association, Association of Savings and Investments of South Africa, Old Mutual, Academia, researchers and other contributors.

The conference throws a final spotlight on the Savings Month theme - ‘Save for the Goal: The Path to Recovery'.

Elizabeth Lwanga-Nanziri, CEO of Savings Month organiser, the South African Savings Institute (SASI), hailed the month as "an unprecedented success that focused public attention on savings issues as never before".

The month was launched on July 20 following the 2010 FIFA World Cup to ensure maximum media engagement after the sports focus of previous weeks. The goal element in the theme built on soccer awareness while the recovery component dovetailed with governmental, business and family efforts at renewal.

"Our theme resonated strongly with the public mood," said Elizabeth Lwanga-Nanziri. "We reached all parts of the country and all socio-economic groups. The need for savings was demonstrated by the impact of recession on families that had no savings cushion.

"This ensured our message was taken to heart. Hopefully, our savings tips and encouragement will help South African families turn a corner and save."

This year, Savings Month ran into Women's Month. SASI therefore targeted special messages at women's groups, young women and women in business. This created a platform for the launch of Year Two of the initiative ‘Teach a Child To Save SA'.

Sporting themes received heavy play. FIFA World Cup ambassador and former Bafana Bafana superstar Mark Fish joined the SASI team to convey a message to sports people - aim for savings goals while you aim for career goals.

SASI also launched a programme for sports people stressing the need for savings discipline by those taking up careers that may be well remunerated, but can be radically shortened by injury.

At the same time, the institute widened its university literacy programme to reach out to students at campuses nationwide and instil the savings basics among an important target group. This campaign was reinforced by a partnership with the Momentum Group.

Community interventions were also stepped up as SASI and its partners took savings education and basic business skills to people in rural areas.

Elizabeth Lwanga-Nanziri noted: "Savings Month is a time of intensive work by the Institute and our partners, but the effort entails much more than a month-long burst of activity. We work all year round.

"Saving transforms lives and secures a family's future. It becomes a way of life and demands dedication ... of us and all South Africans."

Old Mutual is lead sponsor of National Savings Month 2010.

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