Many people don’t know how to manage their money. Recognising the difference that knowledge of money matters can make, a team of Hollardites developed an educational programme called Streetwise Finance, and recruited other Hollardites to help teach groups of South Africans the basics of finance.
We believe there is a better way for South Africans to treat their money.
Hollard recognises that financial inclusivity is a major issue in South Africa, but there’s far more to it than having the financial resources to participate in our economy. It’s also about understanding how to manage money.
Inadequate financial literacy is one more snare in the poverty trap. We believe that if South Africans are given an opportunity to learn basic financial management skills they’ll be empowered to make better financial decisions that can have a profound impact on the way they choose to live their lives, manage their affairs, and most importantly, allow them to retire comfortably.
WHY IT BEGAN
The seed for the StreetWise Finance programme was first sown when a group of Hollard’s bright and energetic financial professionals became aware of how poorly many of their own friends and family members managed their personal finances and how inadequately prepared they were for retirement. (Even those with qualifications and jobs that involved taking care of corporate assets seemed to struggle with managing their own money!)
The root cause was ALWAYS poor financial education – mixed with a dollop of intimidation because they were either embarrassed to admit how little they knew, and ask for the information they needed, or because there were cultural inhibitions about discussing money matters. There are also way too many South Africans who are living in the now, and not thinking about their financial needs in the future. All of these issues combined, is the reason why the finances of many South Africans spiral out of control, leaving them vulnerable, desperate and potentially depressed. This programme aims to help individuals out of the hole they have dug themselves into, or prevent them from getting there.
PUTTING OUR MONEY WHERE OUR MOUTH IS
So, in 2011, a group of Hollardites began to develop a picture-based programme to teach basic financial management skills to the people of South Africa, from G10 school children to retirees, and everyone in between. Six years later, StreetWise Finance is now an intelligently and lovingly crafted four-session programme, run by volunteer facilitators from Hollard. However, it doesn’t stop there! The need to reach a wider audience is so great, that an eLearning platform was also created and available on www.streetwisefinance.co.za.
SO WHAT DOES THIS PROGRAMME ENTAIL?
The idea was to overcome the challenges posed by poor literacy and numeracy, as well as language barriers, and use posters, maps, games and other visual aids to give them a working understanding of financial terminology and topics such as savings, banking and lending, insurance and retirement.
There are no formal presentations. Instead, the format is highly interactive which provides a real opportunity for people to engage, discuss and ask questions in a comfortable environment, and means they leave with a practical understanding of basic money matters that can make a positive and immediate difference in their daily lives.
FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH
So far, over 1 000 people of all ages have taken part. The feedback has been overwhelming, and is hitting the spot – highlighting to us the need for this and encouraging us to grow this programme further.
They share how much it means: to be able to initiate an informed conversation with a family member who needs help to resolve a financial predicament; or to learn to include savings in their monthly budget to achieve a specific goal; to understand when insurance is about saving and when it is about risk protection; to face the reality that retirement can’t happen without effective financial planning; to understand, finally, that debt can be an enabler, but it can also be a financial killer if not used responsibly.
But, undoubtedly, the best feedback is in the heartfelt hugs our facilitators get at the end of a session from people who are going home with a real understanding of the financial landscape for the very first time because they’ve become financially streetwise!