Debt is biggest barrier to saving and investing - poll

Here are the 10 quiz participants who have each won a R500 voucher from Satrix

A Sowetan Money survey in collaboration with Satrix has shown that most readers want expert advice about investing.

Most people say they will use an extra R100 a month to pay off debt sooner. Picture: 123RF/
Most people say they will use an extra R100 a month to pay off debt sooner. Picture: 123RF/

Personal debt is the biggest obstacle to saving and investing, a survey of Sowetan readers has revealed. 

The survey, which was in the form of an online quiz between April 25 and May 7, was in collaboration with Satrix, a leading provider of index tracking products in South Africa. 

Participants in the quiz were asked six questions aimed at revealing attitudes towards and barriers to saving and investing.

Most respondents (37%) said personal debt was the main reason they don’t save or invest enough; 32% said their duty to care for extended family was holding them back from saving or investing more; 17% said they don’t know where to start; and 13% said when they had invested in the past, their money hadn’t grown.

When asked what they would do with an extra R100 a month, most (38%) said they would save it all, while 35% said they would use it to pay off debt sooner. Almost a quarter of all respondents said they would save R20 and spend the rest on debt, and only 3% said they would hit the mall.

Most respondents revealed a good understanding of saving, with 52% saying that they regard saving as holding extra cash in a bank account. A significant 33% defined saving as an investment in stocks or unit trusts. Only 13% regard money in a stokvel as a saving, and less than 2% said they don’t save because they’ve been scammed. 

The following 10 quiz participants have each won a R500 voucher from Satrix to help them begin their investing journey:

1. Glen Mathebula
2. Moshe Moepadira
3. Modise Morake
4. Khutso Moroatshehla
5. Makalo Motsumi
6. Mbongeni Mzobe
7. Sphumelele Ngomane
8. Kagiso Sadick
9. Jimmy Setagane
10. Zinathi Sobuza

The majority of respondents (35%) said that they view investing as buying a property. Less than a quarter of respondents (23%) said that investing in the stock market is how they view investing, while 22% said saving for retirement is investing. A high 20% of respondents regard money in a 32-day notice bank account as investing. This is worrying because money in a bank account will rarely yield a return that beats inflation, and therefore your money doesn’t grow in real terms.

Almost 60% of respondents said that when they do start investing, they would like to consult with an expert financial adviser, while 26% said they would prefer to obtain information by attending an investment workshop. Twelve percent said they would use Google to do their own research before investing, and only 4% would invest on the advice of a friend.

When it comes to choosing an investment provider, the most important consideration for most respondents (50%) was knowing where their money is invested and how it will grow. A trusted brand was the most important factor for 32% of respondents, while 9% of respondents preferred someone to talk to about their investments. Low costs were key for 5% of respondents and easy online access was critical for only 4% of respondents.

Most of the 1,735 respondents in the quiz were aged between 30 and 39 and most (57%) were men.

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