People who are employed in the public sector were deemed the least financially vulnerable by 46% of respondents.

Most financially vulnerable consumers earn less than R5,000 a month, are younger than 39 and are women or single, while people who work for the government are the least financially vulnerable, according to the latest Momentum-Unisa Consumer Financial Vulnerability Index (CFVI) for the first quarter of 2021.

While the index found that financial vulnerability was prevalent in all income groups:

  • 63.4% of respondents perceived consumers who earn less than R5,000 per month as most financially vulnerable
  • 13.8% regarded consumers who earn between R5,000 and R10,000 as financially vulnerable
  • 9.9% regarded consumers who earn between R10,000 and R30,000 as financially vulnerable
  • 6.9% regarded consumers who earn between R30,000 and R50,000 as financially vulnerable
  • 5.9% regarded consumers who earn more than R50,000 as financially vulnerable.

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They also regarded the following groups as most vulnerable:

  • 67.3% indicated people younger than 39 as the most financially vulnerable
  • 66% perceived women as more financially vulnerable than men
  • 57% deemed individuals who are single, separated, divorced or widowed as more financially vulnerable compared to people who are married or living with a partner.

Expectations for consumer finances

While 31.7% of the respondents expect that the financial position of consumers will improve in the second quarter of 2021, 80.2% expect that it will take 18 months or longer for consumer finances to recover.

They also noted a significant drop over the past year in the level of control that consumers have over their lives and circumstances. This contributed to consumers adjusting their financial behaviour, searching for additional income generating opportunities and empowering themselves with appropriate skills.

The respondents are researchers, bankers, insurers, retailers, government officials, economists and analysts who deal with consumers daily.

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