More than 50% of SA youth doesn’t know how to build a financially stable future says 1Life Insurance survey

1Life Insurance ran a 2024 Youth generational wealth survey. File photo.

1Life Insurance ran a 2024 Youth generational wealth survey. File photo.

Published Jun 19, 2024


1Life Insurance launched the 2024 generational wealth youth survey, which confirms that youth in South Africa are far from achieving financial freedom and building wealth - placing them at a tremendous disadvantage.

Youth unemployment in South Africa currently sits at, 45,5% according to Stats SA, and the study by 1Life revealed that of those who do have a source of income, more than 50% do not know how to build a financially stable future. Furthermore, the study revealed that less than 30% of South African youth have a solid monthly budget in place.

“Looking at our book, we identified a big gap in the youth market when it comes to financial education, despite being the future ones that have the potential to build wealth and break generational debt in their families. If we consider that the current cost of living has already made it hard for households to get by, this gap is an indication that this reality may not change anytime soon, and in some families, it may never change if the youth are not equipped to carefully and smartly manage their money,” says Siphelele Sokhela, Brand Manager at 1Life Insurance.

1Life stats show that less than 20% of youth have any form of insurance - which means that of the 54% who are employed, only a small portion of them have the necessary financial protection in place should the worst happen. Furthermore, only this small portion has a real shot at breaking the debt chain and building generational wealth in their families.

“The good news is that 80% of the respondents know that they can start building wealth as soon as they land their first job however, the lack of financial education, and misconception when it comes to wealth building tools available to them, are major contributing factors to them starting their financial life on the back foot – leading to lack of financial security. For example, only 40% of the respondents see having insurance policies such as life cover, or retirement annuity as a means to build wealth – both of which are essential,” continues Sokhela.

A closer look at the stats indicated that only 35% of South African youth have life insurance, while only 13% have dread disease cover, and 18% have disability cover. This may be due to many factors, of which affordability may be one, especially in our current economy. However, if we consider that less than 30% of South African youth have a solid monthly budget in place, this is a clear indication of the lack of financial management skills among the youth – largely due to insufficient education in this space.

“Having money is one thing, and knowing how to use it is another. It is true that the current economy has made it tough for South Africans to get by, and without a budget in place, it is impossible to manage money wisely, adds Sokhela.

“When it comes to financial literacy, over 45% of the respondents indicated that their source for how to manage their finances is social media, hence 1Life’s partnership with financial influencer and award-winning YouTuber, Yolenda Jawe. We collaborated due to our shared views on financial education and launched this inaugural youth survey to share financial knowledge and gain insights from the youth of today.”

“While one could get away with not having financial literacy in the past, that is no longer the case. Financial literacy has become a necessity for all South Africans, not only when it comes to meeting the day-to-day financial demands, but also in making sure that one builds a financially stable future for themselves and their loved ones. This is the reason I am driven to play my part in educating the youth and all consumers about the importance of managing their finances well, and how this can help break generational debt, and set them up for a bright financial future,” says Yolenda Jawe, a financial Influencer.

While there is a wealth of knowledge that one can get from social media, it cannot be used as the only source of information and when it comes to improving one’s financial literacy, one should look for other free tools that can elevate their position.

“What often sets the financially secure apart from those who live with financial anxiety month on month, is having a budget in place, and the financial literacy required to properly manage their money. With these in place, one can ensure they not only have enough to get through the month but that they have enough left over to put aside for emergencies,” says Jawe.

“No doubt, the current economic situation is hard on the pocket, but there are tools available to help the youth build financial stability amid the economic chaos. The best way to navigate these challenging times financially is to seek financial education and speak with a financial advisor or insurer,” concludes Sokhela.