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Women hit hard by savings challenges

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According to the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) there are signs of a small reduction in household debt, while the household savings rate increased from 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 0.7% in the first quarter of 2021. While these developments are encouraging, several studies have shown that South African women, and black women in particular, are struggling to save for reasons outside their control, as is evident from the TymeBank More Month Than Money study completed just before the start of the pandemic.

What’s more, women have also been disproportionately affected by job losses caused by the pandemic. The National Income Dynamics Study Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey[2] showed that two-thirds of the three million South Africans who lost their jobs between February and April 2020 were women.

Women who are employed still struggle to make ends meet. According to the TymeBank More Month Than Money study,[1] 59% of women run out of money before the end of the month, compared to 56% of men. Black women are the most likely to do so, with 64% impacted.

“The TymeBank study shows women are expected to shoulder the burden of household expenses while still facing disparities in pay when compared to their male counterparts. Two-thirds of women surveyed live in fatherless households and are financially responsible for the entire family, while receiving on average 27% less pay than their male counterparts for the same work,” says TymeBank executive Linda Appie.

Managing money

Encouragingly, the survey showed women are better budgeters, with 80% of those surveyed managing to stick to a budget falling into the 25 to 45 age category.

“These are women who are taking control of their financial lives, despite the challenges they face. As a bank, we’re committed to supporting our female customers as they embark on their savings journey. We do what we can to assist, offering accounts with no monthly fees and a high interest rate on savings,” says Appie.

The bank has tried to make that first step as simple as possible with the TymeBank GoalSave product. Customers can earn up to 8% per annum on their savings, which is highly competitive relative to the market. GoalSave allows immediate access to the money saved without any penalties and customers can create up to 10 different savings goals and easily keep track of progress.

The offering also comes with a calculator accessible from the TymeBank website. Customers can insert the amount of money they want to save to realise their financial goals and the timeframe for achieving this. It then gives a view of the benefit of compound interest.

“One of our values at TymeBank is to give customers the confidence they need to realise their goals. Insights from the More Month Than Money study remain relevant in helping us to understand the challenges facing South Africans and to design financial solutions that deliver on what matters to them,” says Appie.


[1] http://www.worldwideworx.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/TymeBank_More-Month-Than-Money-Report.pdf

[2] https://cramsurvey.org

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