More than half of Namibians felt their financial position was better than it was a year ago, while 72 percent felt that their financial position would improve over the next six months and about 54 percent said they’re confident that they can manage their own savings and investments. These are some of the key findings of the Old Mutual Namibia Savings and Investment Monitor 2016, which regularly conducts a face-to-face survey of the savings and investment habits and behaviours of working urban households in Namibia.
The survey also revealed that Namibians are keen to learn more about financial matters, said Ndangi Katoma, Executive: Marketing, Transformation and Customer Strategy, Old Mutual Namibia. “Of the total respondents, 80 percent reported that they constantly try to become more knowledgeable about financial matters, while 84 percent want to learn more about how to save.” Most respondents were risk averse, saying they would rather invest their money where more returns were guaranteed.
Namibians’ attitude to avoiding debt was also positive, with 81 percent of respondents reporting that they try to avoid debt where possible. “Many of the respondents didn’t think that getting into debt is the only alternative in today’s society, and many consider themselves to be savers,” said Katoma. Despite this, and perhaps reflecting tough global economic conditions, only 56 percent of respondents said that they have enough money left for savings after covering all their expenses, while 45 percent don’t have any spare cash.
When it comes to what Namibians save for, most were putting away money for a child’s education or to buy food, followed by saving to buy a specific item. The biggest goal for 41 percent of the respondents was to own a property, then to start a business, then to own a vehicle. Most respondents were saving up to N$5 000 per month.
“The survey also revealed some interesting information about how Namibians feel about the country’s economy,” said Katoma. “31 percent reported that they felt ‘very confident’ about the Namibian economy and 37 percent felt ‘confident’, giving an encouraging total of 68 percent. A total of 32 percent reported not feeling confident. Overall, the survey provides an accurate ‘snapshot’ of the attitude to and behaviour of Namibians around money, financial products and savings,” Katoma said.
More key findings from the survey:
– 19 percent of respondents had a savings account, 9 percent had medical cover, 9 percent had a funeral plan, 6 percent had a pension/provident fund and 2 percent had a retirement annuity.
– 76 percent felt that saving for education was more important than saving for retirement, while 61 percent felt that funeral, death and disability cover were more important than retirement savings.
– 82 percent said that their children should take care of them after their working lives ended, while 61 percent believed the government would take care of them if they couldn’t do so themselves.
– 94 percent plan to support family members in the future.
– Almost half (47 percent) had never consulted a financial advisor, while 21 percent had done so in the six months preceding the survey.
– While most respondents accessed the internet via a cell phone and bought music and DVDs online, most (79 percent) said they wouldn’t consider buying a financial product online.