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By African Unity Life

Fri, 05 Oct 2018

It is vital for the youth of today to focus more on their financial future. In 2018, only six percent of South Africans retired independently. This is why it’s so important that young people start to think about their finances responsibly from a young age. At African Unity Life Limited (AUL), we believe that it’s never too early to learn about budgeting, saving, investing and financially protecting yourself. This is why we are committed to Free Financial Education and why we’re doing our part to educate young people on how to manage their finances in order to look forward to a better future. We are doing this through our Free Financial Education programme, which was launched in August in the Western and Eastern Cape.
 
The thought behind the Free Financial Education programme
We devised the Free Financial Education programme because we saw a need for financial education among lower income-earning South Africans and we believe it is our responsibility to contribute to the financial education of our people. AUL is committed to the financial inclusion of all South Africans and this programme is our way to contribute to that cause. We firmly believe that financial education can go a long way towards improving the financial security of the pupils and parents involved in this programme.
 
After we had devised the concept and strategy for the programme, we consulted the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) to ensure that our programme was aligned with the guidelines of their consumer education programme. The FSCA has subsequently agreed to provide its Free Financial Education content booklets for use during the programme. We are thankful for their support, as well as the support of our other partners. We hope to partner with more organisations going forward.   
 
Phase one of the Free Financial Education programme
We decided to start this project small, and just focus on a few schools. Phase one included educating the parents and grandparents of pre-school children and grade 11 pupils on financial matters. The parents’ evening focused on budgeting, becoming debt-free and staying that way, saving for the future, living without unnecessary financial worries and also how to teach their kids about finances. The events for the grade 11 pupils focused on budgeting, insurance, banking and making smart financial choices, such as studying after school and applying for a job.
 
We provided the pre-school parents with reading material on financial education and how to teach finance to kids. We also provided a PowerPoint presentation to the high school teachers for use when presenting the financial lessons to the pupils. The presentation was created from the Financial Guide for Youth which the pupils received. After the pupils have completed the basic lessons, they will complete an outcome-based budget ‘test’. In addition, we use a practical activation manual to help pupils and parents activate their details via their phones, so they can interact with AUL through WhatsApp and on the website at a later stage.     
 
The success of the first phase of our Free Financial Education programme
Our programme received an excellent response. During the month of August, we held events at one pre-school and four high schools – reaching 805 people in total. Considering that our aim was to help change 200 lives this year, we have definitely achieved our goal.
 
We look forward to seeing how this programme will grow in the upcoming months and years. The financial future of South Africa’s youth is a cause that is extremely close to our hearts and we hope to do as much as we can to contribute to the financial inclusion of all citizens of this country. As a financial services provider, we aim to inspire the youth to take financial responsibility for their future, so they can be and live financially free. We believe it is our duty to do what we can to educate the youth, as well as their parents, on financial matters. They are the future everyday heroes of South Africa, after all.