28% of South Africans say failing to make ends meet is their biggest financial concern

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(Image: Getty Images)
(Image: Getty Images)

A recent survey by Sanlam has found that 28% of respondents’ biggest financial concern is the worry of failing to make ends meet each month, with that number rising for respondents in their 20s and 40s.

The survey, conducted by one of the country’s largest financial service providers, was hosted on News24 and surveyed 5 205 participants across a range of demographics. 54% of people surveyed identified as female, while 46% of respondents lived in the country’s economic hub, Gauteng. Now, we are breaking down some of the findings in two articles.

A key aspect of the survey was that it broke down respondents’ answers into 10 life stages.

For instance, only 25% of people over 60 rank failing to make ends meet as their biggest concern, whereas for young adults aged between 25-29, this figure rises to 30.6%. The proportion of respondents that feel this worry most acutely was 34.4% of those between ages 45-49.

Among some of the other interesting findings in the ‘what do you fear’ category included:
  • Paying off debt was the second highest category, with 21.9% of all respondents ranking it as their biggest financial concern.
  • The age bracket with the highest proportion of respondents who were concerned about paying off debt was between the ages of 35-39, with 27.9% marking this as their biggest concern.
  • But as the age groups get older, their concern about paying off debt and or making ends meet decreases, and gets replaced by the concern of not being able to retire comfortably.
  • For both groups aged between 55-59, and 60-64, the concern of being able to retire comfortably naturally comes out on top, with 29.2% and 36.4% marking this as their biggest concern respectively.

This begs the question: what would your life look like if you could live your life in a day? How would you view those important financial decisions you have to make if you could see the rest of your life in 24 hours?

Sanlam is answering that question with their LI:FE of Confidence campaign. With the aim of helping South Africans live a more financially confident life, the Sanlam group has launched a new financial education initiative, which uses a range of digital tools to help address short-term thinking, by seeing how your life can change if it were lived in 24 hours.

The campaign was the first ever to be launched to the South African media in the metaverse and the first campaign to use a metahuman, Zesande, as its campaign influencer.

sanlam li:fe infographic
sanlam li:fe infographic
sanlam li:fe infographic

Life events

A big part of navigating and understanding your finances is also being prepared for financial milestones. 29.1% of respondents said their highest level of education was matric, while 28.3% had attained a college or technikon diploma, and 19.8% said they had a university degree. 76.3% of respondents across all age groups said they were raising children.

Attaining an education and having children are significant milestones in one’s life.

When it came to how financially prepared the respondents were for their tertiary education, 19.5% said that they were underprepared, while 20% said that they were somewhat prepared.

Of the participants who answered ‘yes’ to having an education fund, 9% - the highest number - were aged between 25-29.

When it came to deciding to start a family, only 20.8% said they felt ‘well prepared’ for it, while 33.8% said they were ‘somewhat prepared’ for raising children.

Seeking financial advice

When making financial decisions, many people base these decisions on the way they view and perceive money. In the survey, 54% of all participants said they wished they viewed money as an asset rather than a luxury when they were young.

But once again, as the age groups get older, the advice to the younger self changes, with those in the three oldest categories recommending that their younger selves also seek financial advice. Overall, 21.3% marked this as the best advice to give to their younger selves. But this figure rises for respondents aged 55-59, 60-64 and 65+, with a steady increase of 25.2%, 27.2% and 32.2% in the respective age groups.

This seems to suggest that as you grow older, the usefulness of professional financial advice becomes more important and apparent.

sanlam li:fe infographic
sanlam li:fe infographic
sanlam li:fe infographic
sanlam li:fe infographic
sanlam li:fe infographic
sanlam li:fe infographic

Live a LI:FE of Confidence

Navigating your finances and your financial decisions, no matter how big or small, can be a daunting task. Financial advisers can help you live with confidence as you go through different life stages.

Visit Sanlam’s LI:FE of Confidence website to find out more about how you can meet your financial needs at the life stage you find yourself in.

Here you will meet a Zesande, a digital avatar who lives her entire life in a day. Additional elements include an interactive digital experience via desktop or mobile, where South Africans can learn what they should be considering at the key life moments. The campaign's media launch took place in the metaverse on 31 January, a first for South Africa.

For more information visit: You can also download the full research report here.

  • Article 2 will be published next week: Only 36% of South Africans have a retirement fund, and only 7% of retirees feel well prepared for it 

This post was sponsored by Sanlam and produced by Adspace24.

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