The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has given new meaning to the idiom “saving for a rainy day,” as the shock of the impact the spread of the pandemic has had on the global economy motivates us to tighten our purse strings. So why not take control of your financial wellbeing by saving money with a group of friends, colleagues or family members by starting your very own stokvel?

 

 

WHAT IS A STOKVEL?

Simply put, a Stokvel is a type of credit club where a group of people agree to contribute a fixed amount of money to a common savings pool weekly, fortnightly or monthly with members being able to receive the lump sum of saved money at the end of an agreed period of time. eg. at the beginning of January after a year of saving. Stokvels is by no means new in South Africa, but are on the increase with banks now offering savings facilities specifically designed for stokvels.

HOW TO GET STARTED?

The first step to starting a stokvel is to get the right members. Choosing people you trust is imperative when handling money and the below will need to be decided by your members:

  • What the goal of the stokvel is? For example, is it for saving to buy groceries in December, paying for school fees in January or to use your lump sum to start/invest in a new business venture?
  • Who will manage the Stokvel? For example, if you will be using a general savings account to save your money, only one member will have access to the account and this member needs to be trustworthy.
  • What are the rules of the stokvel? Setting rules is crucial to running a successful Stokvel. Members need to know what their responsibilities are and what the next course of action will be should an issue arise, when will payments need to be made by and what will be the penalties for defaulting on your payments? Also important to consider is who will be responsible for asking non-contributing members to leave? What happens in the event of the death of a member?

The next steps to starting your Stokvel once the above has been decided is where you will bank. Most banks offer a stokvel option where more than one signatory is necessary to open the account, however, an independent person, whom you trust, can also open a savings account for this use. Clear and detailed financial records must be kept by the person(s) with access to the stokvel account.

Lastly, keep your banking simple.

When depositing the money, arrange for members to deposit cash directly into the Stokvel’s account. When making lump sum pay-outs, arrange for these to be electronically transferred to each of the member’s personal accounts. This is for your safety and to allow for clear record-keeping to take place.