Black households should learn about financial prudence


As usual (it happens annually), experts of all stripes from different financial institutions advise consumers against the downsides of overspending their earnings during the festive season. However, from observing the masses that are populating the country’s shopping malls spending extravagantly, apparently, their priceless warning has been falling on deaf ears.

Regrettably, most of the ‘culprits’ of recklessness are black people who got access to disposable income post-1994 when economic opportunities opened up. The culture of ‘living for the moment’ amongst this group has been well documented.

Reports and statistics from different financial institutions, indicate that, relative to other races, most black people are more heavily indebted, and most of devout most of their meagre earnings to servicing various forms of debt. An inquest into the collapse of African Bank revealed that the bank preyed (or profited) in the gullibility of low income earners drawn from the black population. In addition, loan sharks, which charge high interest rates, have a big chunk of their niche market in the black population.

Anyone who says that this observation smacks of racial prejudice is not being sincere. Facts are all there too see. If anything, it is an issue that needs to be addressed urgently.

As a matter of fact, for the inequalities of the past to be addressed adequately, South Africa needs an economically robust black majority. And it starts with every township household exercising prudence with the hard-earned income its get.

Definitely, billion Rands of empowerment initiatives cannot work in isolation. Hence, their beneficiaries have to learn to tend whatever they earn carefully in order to build wealth for themselves. A nation that saves grows, as the phenomenal growth of the Asian Economic Tigers illustrates.

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