By Hilary Mare
THE Old Mutual Namibia Savings and Investment Monitor (SIM) has greatly guided the financial services company, in terms of its understanding the kinds of savings and investment vehicles being used by urban, working Namibians.
The SIM had also gauged the financial satisfaction of households, levels of debt and repayment periods, as well as whether people are making provision for their retirement.
This is according to Old Mutual Namibia Marketing, Transformation and Customer Strategy Executive, Ndangi Katoma, who said, “These results better steer Old Mutual and other financial service providers into a direction that can customise our approach and offerings to servicing Namibians.”
The 2016 SIM, which was released recently, revealed that 50 percent of Namibians felt that their financial position was better than a year ago, while 72 percent felt that their financial position would improve over the next six months.
The survey regularly conducts face-to-face interviews with working, urban households, about their savings and investment habits and behaviours.
The 2016 survey revealed that Namibian attitudes towards avoiding debt were also positive, with 81 percent of respondents reporting that they try to avoid debt where possible.
“One needs to be mindful that this is a qualitative survey that seeks to determine Namibian attitudes and behaviours, towards savings and investments. Responses were given in the context whereby they were asked whether they have enough money left over to save, after covering their expenses. A total of 56 percent of respondents agreed with the statement and 45 percent disagreed,” Katoma said.
“Secondly the other question posed was: ‘Is there a specific time of the year that you find yourself saving more?’ The responses revealed that they mainly save when they receive their bonus.
“This qualitative response again revealed that 47.6 percent indicated that they save during that time of the year. The reported high household debt results are from a quantitative assessment, which looks at people’s debt in relation to their disposable income, at a country level,” Katoma explained.
He said SIM results revealed interesting trends, in terms of the attitudes and behaviours of Namibians towards savings and investment.
Katoma said that financial service providers and policymakers can derive insights from these trends, in order to inform further initiatives.
“As an example, the survey highlights that 35 percent of respondents confirmed that they would still work after retirement. A total of 82 percent said that their children should take care of them after their working lives end, while 61 percent believed that the government would take care of them, if they couldn’t do so themselves.
“This is a clear indication that they believe that they are not saving enough now, to enjoy their lifestyle upon retirement. Therefore, it is critical to remind every individual that they should start saving for retirement as early as possible,” Katoma said.
“Secondly, almost half (47 percent) had never consulted a financial advisor, while 21 percent had done so in the six months preceding the survey. From these findings, there is a need to open the discussion about the value of financial advice and the importance of getting the right advice from experts.”
Katoma further expressed optimism about the future of the survey.
He said that Old Mutual Namibia hoped that some positive trends will emerge, following initiatives implemented by the industry, which were informed by the insights of the survey.
“The survey results enable us to collaborate with industries, in aligning financial services to the needs of the customers, while supporting stakeholder initiatives, such as the Financial Literacy Initiative, in aligning financial education programmes, to address the identified gaps, with a view to enable positive futures.
“Old Mutual will continue to share insights resulting from the Savings and Investment Monitor survey. At the same time, we will continue to support financial education programs, as a responsible business… Through such projects, we hope that we can empower more Namibians, with the right financial advice, and allow them to become financially independent,” he said.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015