MORE ABOUT SA’S SANDWICH GENERATION
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.”