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By Staff Writer

Insurer 1Life has launched a financial literacy course which is part of a broader initiative the ‘Truth About Money’ (TAM), geared to teach people about money management, debt management, wills and the winding up of estates.  

The course itself will be available for free (usually valued at R1,500) to 40,000 consumers who register online at to attend the lectures at the Boston City Campus and Business Colleges.

The lectures at Boston City campuses and will be facilitated by The Money School. The course, which is eight hours long, can also be completed online and at your own pace.

Those who complete the course will also have lifelong access to online tools (to budget and eliminate debt), information and support.

Laurence Hillman, the MD of 1Life said the initiative was started to address the debt and savings crisis that currently plagues South Africa. “Household savings is a meagre 1.7%, while only 6% of South Africans retire financially secure. The result of that is people are living longer, retired for longer and will have to save more so that 6% is going to get worse. The second element is the debt crisis and what struck a chord for us is that 80% of consumers’ income goes toward paying debt,” pointed out Hillman.

The course is not a university course or an accredited one but attendants will get a certificate upon completion. Those who register and are accepted for it will also get a 25% discount on legal fees if they apply for debt counselling from DebtBusters and legal help from LIPCO.

“We’ve included value added services through LIPCO which is the largest legal arbitration company in South Africa. This company will help draw up Wills, winding up estates, creating trusts and provide property transfer services. DebtBusters partners up with us to provide the debt management and debt review services. In addition to that we offer online wealth creation materials, tools and run seminars,” adds Hillman.

While space at the Boston City campuses is limited to 40,000 for the year, Hillman points out that people can also apply for the following year or if there’s enough interest coming from one area separate seminars (a maximum of two per month) could be conducted in certain areas across the country.

“If there were a 1000 people from one specific town that were interested, for example, we will go out there and run a seminar to those 1000. So we could do more than 40,000 if we had a certain level of interest. The seminars would be free too,” says Hillman.

Who qualifies?
Applicants will have to adhere to certain criteria in order to qualify for the free course. “All our clients [of 1Life], their spouses and children will qualify. Then we will give preference to disadvantaged or previously disadvantaged people and communities and also people in financial distress,” says Hillman.

The relevant candidates, who have applied via the TAM website, will be selected by 1Life accordingly. Those that are accepted for the course will automatically qualify for LIPCO’s services.

Challenge to the lending industry
Ian Wason, CEO of DebtBusters, says there are many benefits to consumers doing the course through Boston and challenged credit providers to give those who have completed the course reduced rates on their loans.

"I challenge the banks to give a reduced rate to those who have completed the course. If they have a certificate and have educated themselves about money they would be less of a risk to the lenders after all," he pointed out. 

Win with Justmoney!
1Life is prepared to offer five free courses for Justmoney subscribers. Look out for next week’s Justmoney newsletter for more details about the TAM course.

To apply for the course and other affiliated services, click here.

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