Teaching kids how to manage money – about time!

Setting Up SA’s Next Generation of Adults for Financial Success

South Africans’ financial literacy is currently ranked lowest in the world, according to a survey conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, in which 2,813 South Africans aged between 18 and 79 participated. The survey found that South African adults display low levels of financial knowledge, fail to engage in behaviours that could improve their financial security and have financial attitudes focused on the short-term – highlighting that South Africans have not yet embraced a culture of saving, with many living hand to mouth.

“With this in mind, we realised that it was crucial to educate young people on healthy financial habits before they enter adulthood and provide them with financial wellness tools for their futures,” says Metropolitan CSI Manager, Elsie Govender. The result is Kickstarz: a financial education programme that provides money management training with an entertaining and age-relevant twist.

Aimed at Grade 11 learners, Kickstarz connects with this tough teen audience by giving them the chance to start their own sneaker companies (each with unique names and logos) and designing their very own pair of sneakers that they then market to the rest of the school. In doing so, and through several interactive lessons, they learn financial basics from how to read a bank statement and how to plan and follow a budget, to more advanced issues like how to build up a good credit record and stay out of debt. Currently, an app is being developed to support the teaching of the Kickstarz lessons. On the final day of the programme, they get to display their sneaker designs and decide which was the best-performing ‘business’ in the programme. All members of the winning team walk away with a real pair of sneakers, made using their very own design. Plus, there is usually a local celebrity on hand to up the excitement and MC the event.

Since being piloted in 2016, 2,500 plus learners from schools around the country have been empowered through the programme, with 99% of students now being able to create a budget, 56% displaying an understanding of financial terms and phrases and 99% being more likely to save money. In addition, 95% of parents felt that the Kickstarz programme was a good way to teach children about money management.

“The programme not only teaches financial principles, but also other valuable skills such as teamwork and presentation skills, which are not necessarily taught through textbooks. It is a practical programme and was designed with edutainment in mind. It engages learners in a fun way but also leaves them with valuable skills and a better understanding of how to manage and work with money. What’s more, with grades 12, 11 and 10 often having the highest learner drop-out rates, coupled with South Africa’s severe youth unemployment problem, Kickstarz also offers learners an opportunity to consider entrepreneurship as a successful employment option,” shares Govender.

She concludes: “The future of our country, our economy and our businesses lie in the hands of our youth. Our ultimate goal is to empower these young people by preparing them for the financial responsibilities of adulthood.”

For more information, visit https://www.metropolitan.co.za.