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Are South African women financially stable?

By Staff Writer
By Ashleigh Brown, journalist, Justmoney
 
According to Trading Economics, women tend to live longer than men. Yet, the Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement, said that women work 12 fewer years than men over their lifetime. This begs the question, should woman be spending less in order to save for their ‘extended’ life expectancy?
 
Women account for half of South Africa’s credit active consumers, and according to TransUnion, 40% of households are headed by women.
 
However, women are not as financially healthy as they could be. TransUnion also reported that, while down slightly from last year, at least 47% of credit active South African women are in arrears.
 
"While this improvement is to be welcomed, when one looks at actual numbers the picture is less ‘rosy’. In effect, over 2.7 million women are currently in arrears on their clothing accounts," said Tersia van Rooyen, manager of TransUnion South Africa.  
 
Female National Survey 
 
According to the Female National Survey conducted last year (which is weighted to represent over one million urban South African women over the age of 18, earning R6000 or more per month), 42% of South African women do not save. 
 
Furthermore, 11% have more than five credit cards, and only 4% of women are not in any kind of debt. Adding to this, 65% of women believe that they are not paid enough for the work that they do. 
 
Visa report
 
According to Mandy Lamb, Visa country manager for South Africa, women have more of a say when it comes to spending.
"Increasingly it's women who have their hands on the purse strings. Even for traditionally ‘male' purchases such as cars, women are having a greater say,” said Lamb.
 
The visa report conducted in 2012, looking at South African women across different classes, highlighted that 71% of women currently have a savings account at a bank, 37% have a pension or provident fund, and 35% own a house. 
 
However, 9% indicated that they currently do not own any investments, and only 27% look to professionals for money advice. Furthermore, 70% of women have no short term insurance.
 
Visa also highlighted what women seem to spend their money on the most. On average, R152 per month is spent on coffee, with 5% of women spending over R500 per month on coffee. Moreover, women spend 24% of their budget on car repayments. 
 
For Visa’s full report click here.
 
Justmoney tips on how to spend less
 
As South African women’s finances do not look so good, Justmoney has some simple tips on how to save a little bit, and get in the habit of being more financially healthy. 
 
Make your expensive debts go away by trying to pay them off as soon as you can. It sounds a lot easier than it is, but trying to clear your debt is a big must. 
 
Pack your own lunch. If you spend R50 every day buying lunch, you will spend about R1000 a month. By packing your own lunch, you not only eat healthier, but you can also save a lot of money. 
 
Budget – and check up! Drawing up a budget for the month is quick and easy. The tricky part is sticking to it. Make sure you check back at the end of the month to see how well you did, or didn’t do and make sure to improve it the following month.
 
When shopping, write a list of exactly what you need and stick to it. Too often we go into the store and end up coming out with more items than we had bargained for.
 
Talk to a financial advisor for proper help with securing your finances. 
 
Try and save a little bit every month. As Warren Buffett once said, “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.”

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