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According to 2015's Old Mutual Savings & Investment Monitor, the majority of South African households are spending almost as much on repaying their debts as they are on saving.
The World Bank recently announced that South Africans rank #1 on their list of the world’s biggest borrowers. To compile the report, they interviewed 150 000 adults over the age of 15 from 140 different economies. Worldwide, an average of 40% of people took out a loan from 2013 – 2014, compared to 86% of South Africans surveyed.
Although 70% of South Africans have an account at a financial institution, the survey results indicated that only 12% borrowed money from a formal financial institution. A staggering 71.2% borrowed from family and friends, while 18.4% borrowed from a private lender.
Less than 10% of the South Africans surveyed used the money as deposits on houses; 18% borrowed to pay school fees or other education-related expenses and 18% used it to pay healthcare costs. The most sobering insight gathered from the survey is that many South Africans are borrowing money just to cover basic living expenses.
On 1 March 2015, legislation was passed that allows for the provision of Tax Free Saving Accounts. The aim of this initiative by National Treasury is to increase household savings.
The Old Mutual Tax Free Savings Plan allows you to invest up to R30 000 (per current tax year) completely tax free and with the benefit of on-going access to your money and payment flexibility without any penalties.