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College of Economic and Management Sciences

Uasa's 75 000 members to participate in PFRU study

Prof Bernadene de lerq, head of the Personal Finance Research Unit

The most comprehensive study of its kind to date will soon be conducted by CEMS’s Personal Finance Research Unit (PFRU) among 75 000 members of the trade union Uasa to gain more knowledge about the financial well-being of South African households.

The union has given its full support to the study because very little is known about the way in which households use their income to acquire assets, and how such assets are financed, Mr André Venter, spokesperson of the union said.

Knowledge about household financial well-being is imperative as policy makers are formulating policies on a daily basis, which impact on the ability of households to earn an income and accumulate assets. The primary objective of the research will be to construct a balance sheet of the assets and liabilities of South African households for the different income and age groups in the various provinces.

Currently, policies are drafted without taking into account the impact they may have on the assets and liabilities of households.  For example, when the electricity tariff increases were determined, the regulator had no knowledge on the impact it would have on household finances generally, as well as the ability of households to save and acquire sufficient assets for retirement.  Likewise, when the government determines tax rates or introduces new taxes, this is done without it being aware of the impact it may have on the retirement planning of households. This research provides the ideal opportunity for households to contribute towards their financial future.

The results of the research will also assist Uasa in gaining a better understanding of the financial status and needs of its 75 000 members, which will in turn enable the union to put forward better motivations and to make more meaningful decisions in wage negotiations on behalf of its members.
After completing the survey participants will be presented with a personalised household balance sheet based on the information provided in the questionnaire that can help with future financial planning, Mr Venter said.