Recharged has partnered with FNB in a three part educational series to help you break down products in your day to day life.
For Savings Months in July, we sat down with FNB CEO of Cash Investments Himal Parbhoo to find out what solutions you can find on the FNB app to make savings possible for the every day customer.
A key message in the in chat was to have a Tax Free Savings Account, regardless of age. Individuals in South Africa are allowed to save up to R36 000 a year, not exceeding R500 000 in their lifetime. Luckily, I opened an account with FNB a few years ago and currently save R3000 a month to max out the R36 000 per year allowance.
Let’s get straight into the Q&A.
Q: Even though it’s a tough economy right now, how can customers continue to save, and what happens if customers don’t start saving?
Himal Parbhoo: “We recommend customers have some form of emergency savings of at least three times their income, set aside in a basic savings product that they can access at any time, which accrues interest and is separate from a transactional account.”
“If you can go three months without a job, then at least you have three months’ income to sustain yourself during that period. If you look at it another way, if 50% of your income is used for expenses, then you can stretch that to six months.”
“How do we get people to save? Savings is a discipline; it’s something we need to make sure we do. If there is an emergency, you need something to fall back on. Customers can start building a savings habit with simple savings products such as saving account or 7-day notice. Try not to rely on debt to fall back on, otherwise you won’t be able to pay it back without an income.
Parbhoo also recommends making conscious decisions around needs and wants, such as putting food on the table vs buying takeout; or paying a R10 000 instalment on a vehicle, vs. a R5 000 one.
Q: What savings product would you suggest for a couple between the ages of 35-44 years old with no kids, who enjoys traveling?
HP: “A savings account pays interest from 7.05% up to almost 7.8% for any amount starting from R1. If you’re trying to save any amount, it helps perfectly, so consider it as part of your banking portfolio.”
“For more than R100 000 saved, the Money Maximiser is a very popular product with for people within that age category because the interest rate is higher, and it attracts a money market fund rate.”
“If you’re looking for more interest and you’re able to fix money, a fixed deposit is always suitable, and you can pick a term up to 60 months; depending on your time horizon, which will help for saving for a holiday.
Q: Tell us about the Bank Your Change feature?
HP: We’ve had Bank Your Change for a long time, but we’ve been aggressively driving it recently. Bank Your Change is like back in the day when you paid in cash and saved your small change in a piggy bank.
“Given the fact that you swipe a lot more these days, everything’s a bit more digital, so we round off the purchase amount that goes to the merchant, and we take the difference and place it into your savings account. So, if you paid R47.53 for an item, we would round it off to R48 and save the 47c change. We have the option for people to top up with every single swipe, ranging from R2, R5, R10, R20 or R50.”
Q: How does nav»Money work, what tools does it offer for savings?
HP: nav»Money lets you have a smart budget, a way to understand your available funds and then a savings goal that you can set up.
“A budget helps you to be smarter around planning for your monthly expenses and keeping on track with your goals. From there, you can see your available funds and free cash flow that you have.”
“And with that free cash flow, we have the option to help you save for something in particular, like a holiday, which helps through the process and guides you with various questions.” Examples include, “Do I need to save for a long period, how long will it be for, will I contribute regularly, or is it for a fixed amount?”
Once you find the right product, it helps you track your goal to see if you are achieving it, how far you are in the journey or if you are behind, and a nudge to contribute extra, explains Parbhoo.
Q: What sort of investment options should someone in 35–44-year age bracket consider?
HP: For emergencies, you should consider a savings account and a money maximiser; for short to medium terms goals, a 32-day account or fixed deposits will be appropriate for something less than 5 years; for more than 5 years, a Horizon Series unit trust funds; and for retirement, a retirement annuity. In and amongst that, we will always advise a tax-free product.
PRODUCTS FOR DIFFERENT STAGES IN LIFE
- A Savings Account in their individual capacity.
- If you have over R100 000, a Money Maximiser account – for working people in this age range, it’s useful.
- A tax-free savings account (R36 000 per person per year).
- 35–45-year couples: a product that beats inflation, like the Horizon Series (there are 5 options here, with different inflation targeting outcomes).
- Working couples: a Retirement Annuity. If your company offers a pension plan, make it the primary pension purpose, and the RA being the secondary one.
- Self-employed: an RA should be your primary retirement solution
- A tax-free savings account (R36 000 per person per year) into unit trusts to beat inflation.
- FNBy product (parents have access) which gives kids access to an FNB Transact Account and FNB Savings Account – this has a flat interest rate, but it is higher, which is the maximum rate of normal FNB Savings Account at 7.8%.
- Cash deposits up to R500 are free for the Transact Account for kids.
- Fixed deposits with preferential interest rates for those over 55 years old.
- Independent retirees value proposition for 60 years upwards – depending on investments, bank fees are rebated 50-100%.
Friends (if you’re traveling or buying property together)
- Minimum 3 people needed to open an FNB Stokvel account (in branch only) to save together. Once opened, it can be managed digitally.
- Each person gets access to all Stokvel transactions and for approvals.
Recharged is an independent site that focuses on technology, electric vehicles, and the digital life by Nafisa Akabor. Drawing from her 16-year tech journalism career, expect news, reviews, how-tos, comparisons, and practical uses of tech that are easy to digest. firstname.lastname@example.org