The 10th of August 2017, marks the launch of a national financial literacy program rollout which took place at SAMWU College. The aforementioned initiative is joint venture between the South African Municipal Workers Union and Sanlam, the program was carved out of a need to ensure that workers dispel the myth that budgeting and financial discipline are activities reserved for the financially affluent. Moreover, budgeting is pertinent in ensuring that every individual uses their money in a manner that ensures that there is more money at the end of the month, rather than “more month at the end of their money”.
The program was facilitated by Mark James, a Branch Manager at Sanlam who highlighted to SAMWU employees in attendance, the importance of allotting one’s income in accordance to the right ratios. The correct spending plan includes a mix of 35% housing, 25% expenses, 15% car expense, 15% savings and debt at 10%. The financial literacy program is especially curated and targeted at SAMWU employees and the worker as it delves into differences between funeral covers and life policies as well as highlighting the importance of having a will and saving on a monthly basis.
Once the workers complete the financial literacy program they receive a certificate. In addition, Sanlam has online practical exercises as well as supporting materials which the attendees can peruse through after the sessions. For a full week after the program Sanlam assigns support staff who come to the offices in order to answer any questions which the attendees may have and clarify any financial concepts which may have not been understood during the sessions.
Against the backdrop of a precarious economic situation, it is encouraging to know that there are organisations like Sanlam and SAMWU who together blaze the trail in positioning the worker optimally. This pilot is the first of the planned national rollout, which aims to benefit, enlighten and impart a very necessary skill on the worker. Both organisations are excited at the prospect of facilitating more sessions of this nature and hope the model may serve as a microcosm of what is possible when the worker is prioritised in way that helps their money work for them.