MORE ABOUT SA’S SAND­WICH GEN­ER­A­TION

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The sand­wich gen­er­a­tion is a global phe­nom­e­non in­flu­enced by gen­er­a­tional poverty, says John Manyike, Old Mu­tual’s head of fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion.

In South Africa, the con­cept of Ubuntu plays a role, he adds. “It’s a value that’s shared by com­mu­nity mem­bers and calls on so­ci­ety to take care of one an­other. If you’re for­tu­nate enough to progress aca­dem­i­cally and eco­nom­i­cally, you’re gen­er­ally ex­pected to look af­ter your sib­lings and the com­mu­nity,” he ex­plains.

But he says to a large de­gree it’s also the con­se­quence of a lack of fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion.

“En­trench­ing prin­ci­ples of proper money man­age­ment at an early age will help al­le­vi­ate the pres­sures on the sand­wich gen­er­a­tion in the long term,” he says.

He adds 74% of black house­holds – in other words three in four – have some form of in­for­mal sav­ings ei­ther in un­banked cash, a burial so­ci­ety, gro­cery scheme, stokvel or sav­ings club. But this gen­er­a­tion is un­der so much pres­sure and they usu­ally sur­vive by bor­row­ing from friends and fam­ily, Manyike adds.

“They’re chang­ing shop­ping habits such as switch­ing to cheaper brands and lower-priced su­per­mar­kets, cut­ting back on lux­ury items and look­ing for ways to sup­ple­ment their in­come.”

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