Best time to brush up on your money management skills - free

Short online courses to help you manage better

April just so happens to be financial literacy month, an  ideal time to take stock of your finances, learn new money skills and plot your goals.

Be proactive and learn how to manage money better while in lockdown. Picture: 123RF/ALEKSANDR DAVYDOV
Be proactive and learn how to manage money better while in lockdown. Picture: 123RF/ALEKSANDR DAVYDOV

The extended national lockdown could be the perfect opportunity for you to brush up on your personal finance knowledge and skills – statistics from the University of Cape Town’s SA Labour and Development Research unit show fewer than 45% of South Africans are financially literate.

Brett Cameron, the head of Old Mutual Rewards, says it is well known that many South Africans are bad at managing money, but being proactive and learning how to manage it better can turn this around.

“April just so happens to be financial literacy month, an annual reminder of the importance of cultivating financial habits. It’s the ideal time to take stock of your finances, learn new money skills and plot your goals,” he says. 

Old Mutual offers you rewards, which you can turn into money if you do one or more of their personal finance courses online. The program is open to everyone, even if you are not an Old Mutual client and allows you to earn points for smart financial choices. 

“Every 10 points earned equals R1 – real money you can spend at more than 20 retail partners, donate to charity or invest in an Old Mutual product,” Cameron says.

The offering includes a financial wellbeing program with a range of educational tools, including short videos, quizzes, calculators and assessments, earning you 135 points or R13.50 for getting the basics right. 

Learning to work on your budget and requesting a free credit score is worth 100 points, while downloading the 22seven app, which helps you track your bank account transactions, savings and investments, is worth R14 or 140 points. 

Old Mutual also offers a wealth building course on Moneyversity, which earns you 750 points to learn anything from saving for retirement to investing in property at beginner, intermediate to advanced levels, in line with your knowledge and skills. 

Indie, the new life assurer within Sanlam, has a series of short money lessons grouped in topics like Understanding Money, Money How To’s and Understanding Debt.

Peter Castleden, CEO at Sanlam Indie, says the content is intended to empower you to be better equipped to save more, spend less and prepare adequately for the future.

The life assurer recently incentivised South Africans to participate in a four-week wealth challenge with a financial prize. It plans to repeat the challenge soon.

The challenge involves an initial wealth check, followed by emails that outline an action plan to improve your current financial state. It then recommends some steps to take to improve your financial wellness, Gretchen Pletschken, head of content at Sanlam Indie, says. 

1Life also has a free financial education platform called The Truth about Money.

Its resources give you insights on everything from debt counselling to estate mediation and the company also offers a financial education course that you can complete at any Boston Campus nationwide.

Applicants are evaluated based on needs, the motivation you put forward and the funding 1Life has available. 

Students can listen to ten podcasts from the Professional Provident Society to tackle issues they must know about money. The 10-part Money Matters series has episodes with relatable, fun titles like “Ice ice baby” and “Things Stokvel Apart”. The podcasts are available on Apple iTunes, Spotify, Google podcasts and PPS’s website.

“The aim is to empower you to overcome general financial challenges as you go further and faster on the road to financial freedom. The podcasts are from ordinary people sharing real-life experiences and lessons on managing money, saving and investment,” says Francis Aldrich, technical marketing specialist at PPS. 

Short-term loan provider Wonga’s Money Academy’s free video lessons on how to manage your debt, savings and investments are based on what it says are the four pillars of financial planning: debt, saving, budgeting and investing, with each topic helping you decipher how to make more informed financial decisions. 

You don’t have to limit yourself to local money management resources. Online universities and colleges from around the world like EdX, Future Learn and Coursera have numerous personal finance and money courses from which you can choose. However, do your research before signing up, although some of the courses are free, they may require a payment for certification.