‘More spent on DStv than on retirement’

2013-09-18 00:00

A FIVE-YEAR study of 250 000 households shows people are spending more on DStv than on retirement annuities.

When medical aid schemes are excluded, households also spend four times more on alcohol and cigarettes than on medical expenses.

In households that earn less than R3 500 a month, eight percent of their income goes on clothes.

The research was conducted by Eight20, a consulting firm that specialises in consumer habits.

They found that most South Africans would rather buy a car than own a home.

Head of Eight20, Illana Melzer, said while this could correlate with the difficulties in getting a home loan, consumers were also driven by status demands when they indicated they would buy a car before a house.

Melzer said the gap between the rich and poor is slowly shrinking. From 2006 to 2011, there were 250 000 new households that earned R30 000 or more a month.

She said the number of households that earn less than R3 500 a month is also shrinking.

Debt remained a big problem for South Africans.

She said many people borrowed money for necessities like food and education. These people live in financial hell, because the only options they have is to remain dirt poor or borrow money.

She said poorer people spend more of their income on clothing.

“In households with an income of less than R3 500 a month, eight percent is spent on clothes. This is more than what these households spent on education and health.”

Melzer said the research showed that poor people bought new clothes for the dignity it bestowed. “We talked to one man who said he spends so much money on clothes because when he looks good, people would not know that his last meal was a day ago.”

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