Out of 53 countries, South Africa ranks 39th behind Mexico and above Slovakia in terms of per capita financial assets.
Asset growth in South Africa more than halved in 2015, as the effects of accommodative monetary policy by central banks around the world put savers at a disadvantage.
International financial services provider Allianz’s latest Wealth Report shows that South Africa’s gross financial assets came in at €434 billion (R6 679 billion) during the year under review. The rate at which assets grew, fell to 3.7% from 9.3% previously, with gross.
Liabilities in South Africa grew by 5.7% in 2015. South Africa’s liabilities per capita of €2 070 is higher than the €1 610 average of other emerging markets.
“Moreover, at 48%, South Africa has one of the highest debt ratios among emerging markets; in Latin America or Eastern Europe, for example, no country can match South Africa in this regard,” Allianz said.
Out of 53 countries, Allianz ranks South Africa 39th – behind Mexico and above Slovakia – in terms of per capita financial assets. The country has gross financial assets of €7 961 per capita and net financial assets €5 894 per capita.
Switzerland takes top spot with gross financial assets of €260 804 per capita and net financial assets of €170 589 per capita, with gross and net financial assets in the world averaging at €31 068 and €23 330 on a per capita basis. Globally, gross financial asset growth increased by 4.9% in 2015 – after averaging at 9% over the preceding three years – to €155 trillion.
Of the three asset classes measured, growth in securities was highest at 6.1%, followed by bank deposits at 5.5% and insurance and pension funds of 3.3%. According to the financial services provider, the limits of accommodative monetary policy are leaving a mark on asset development worldwide.
“The development of financial assets has reached a critical juncture. Obviously, extreme monetary policy is losing its impact even on asset prices. As a consequence, an important driver for asset growth no longer exists. At the same time, interest rates continue their remorseless slide, deep into negative territory,” Allianz chief economist Michael Heise said in a statement.
– Knysna-Plet Herald
The Knysna municipal council was inaugurated on August 15 and, as required by the Local Government Municipal Systems Act 2000, the process of developing a new five-year integrated development plan (IDP) will be set in motion from Thursday, September 22 and conclude on October 20. The comprehensive IDP public participation process will be undertaken in all 11 greater Knysna municipal wards during 13 public meetings. TheIDP is a process through which municipalities prepare a strategic development plan that extends over a five-year period. It includes the planning, budgeting, resource allocation and decision-making processes within the municipality. Since the socioeconomic, infrastructural and environmental dynamics and needs of the communities are ever-changing, the IDP is reviewed annually.
This year marks the fourth generation of the IDP. The new municipal council is therefore required to map out their objectives and this IDP is the vehicle that they use to drive the development for residents of greater Knysna. The new municipal council sees the public participation process as an important fact-finding mission during which they can establish the real issues within communities, as well as what residents expect from their municipality. The process will also afford communities the opportunity to have direct interaction and contact with their councillors and municipal officials.
Knysna executive mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies said, “We call on all residents and other stakeholders to actively participate in this process. The IDP is an opportunity to have your say about the future of this town, so let your voice be heard.” Bouw-Spies explained the importance of resident participation: “I have not only emphasised, during my mayoral campaign, the importance of public participation and communication, but have also stressed the significance thereof in the past. I have always encouraged our people to actively participate in all municipal processes such as the IDP. This process allows for a two-way discussion between council and its constituents.”
After the public participation process, the council and its administration will apply their minds to prioritising issues that arise during these public participation processes. These issues will then enable the municipality to develop strategic objectives that, in turn, determines the budget. The municipal council will then align the findings and prioritise these with the key performance areas.
Having a good qualification and a great track record provide compelling reasons for employers to consider a candidate for a position, but many with those crucial qualities never even make it to the interview list because of simple but persistent mistakes, an expert says. Lillian Bususu, an employment expert at The Independent Institute of Education, South Africa’s largest private higher education provider, says because of the difficult economic climate, job applicants will often apply for scores of positions before they get shortlisted. After a while, repetition and despondency may cause job-seekers to become careless and not pay sufficient attention to detail, resulting in the kind of mistakes that instantly get their CVs canned.
“Graduates and those seeking to further their careers often pay 99% of their attention to the big things on their CVs – their academic performance, employment history, achievements and so forth,” says Bususu.
“But those things mean little when a company receives a CV addressed to the HR manager of their rival, which is a surprisingly prevalent but unforgivable slip-up,” she says.
Bususu, National Graduate Development Manager of The IIE’s Rosebank College, whose team assists thousands of students and alumni in their job search annually, says in addition to the insights gained from helping these young people tailor and polish their applications, the Career Centre’s collaboration with some of SA’s top employers also means that they are privy to regular and valuable feedback from the marketplace.
Bususu says a few avoidable gremlins consistently make their appearance.
“With the end of the year in sight, many of us are starting to consider 2017 and how we can grow in our careers. Spring is an excellent time to start working on your CV, so that it is ready to go when you spot a fantastic vacancy in January,” she says.
“But make sure that your application is not guilty of the Big Five of CV sins. A lot of time and effort go into searching for the right position, and spending just an extra ten minutes on every application before you hit send is an investment you won’t regret.”
Bususu says each CV should be scrutinised for the following before responding to a job advert.
• THE WHO & THE WHAT
What is the name of the company, and what is the position you are applying for? Make sure that you have the correct details everywhere, and that any references correspond to the correct information. Get a second pair of eyes to scan for any slip-ups, as getting this wrong is guaranteed to sink your application. It seems like a very basic thing, but employers receive CVs every day from people applying for a job in their organisation while addressing the application to another organisation recruiting at the same time.
• THE WHY
Is it clear that you understand what you are applying for, and that you are responding to the criteria raised in the job advert? If you are sending out the exact same generic CV for every vacancy, you can be sure that your application will lack the character required to stand out. Google the company, figure out how you and your experience will be the best fit, and motivate why you will be a fantastic fit on both scores. You have to customise your CV and covering letter for every application – and that goes beyond getting the company details right.
• THE HOW
How you approach the drafting of your CV will make a visible difference. Did you take the necessary time and effort to ensure you have covered everything relating to your qualifications, academic performance, experience and background? Did you ensure that your CV and covering letter were proof-read to eliminate typos and grammar and spelling mistakes? Does the layout and formatting look professional? Are your dates, reference details and contact details accurate and complete? It is well within the rights of a company to question why you would be professional and pay attention to detail if hired, if you can’t be that when selling yourself. Look at your CV and ask yourself: If I were the boss, would I hire myself?
.• THE WHAT?!
Competition is tough out there, that is true. But never be tempted to massage the truth on your CV. Hiring managers are seasoned professionals and have a nose for waffle. Even in the unlikely event that a false claim is not picked up, you will never be able to settle into your position without constantly having to worry that it will come back to bite you. If you have an experiential or qualifications gap, there are other ways to rectify the situation. For instance, you can sign up for a short or distance learning course while you are searching for a position.
• THE WHAT NOW?
Things are tough for those looking for work, but things are also tough for companies looking to survive in a challenging economy. Employers want the best talent and ambitious individuals to join their teams. It does not create a good impression when your CV shows you graduated two years ago and have been sitting at home since. Show that you are industrious and that you value your own time, and that you are committed to personal growth. Seek out activities that will prove your value even if it doesn’t relate 100% to your area of expertise. Volunteer your services in your community, tutor learners in your field, or cultivate a complementary skill. In addition to ensuring there are no gaps on your CV, these activities could even open doors for you.
“Quality and quantity go hand-in-hand,” says Bususu.
“In a difficult job market, it is important to treat the job hunt as a job in itself. So you should spend enough time every day searching and responding to positions for which you are qualified, to improve your chances of getting a foot in the door. But if you are just going to adopt a spray and pray approach, you are wasting your time.
“Stay positive and confident, and take pride also in the application process. Employers will see that you take them seriously, and will treat you as a serious contender if your CV is part of the small percentage which don’t fall foul of the non-negotiables of professional applications.”
Have you ever noticed that you feel better when you’re around your pet?
It’s true. Spending quality time with a dog, cat or other animal can have a positive impact on your mood and your health. Pets can be calming stress-fighters. Studies indicate that merely watching fish lowers blood pressure and muscle tension in people about to undergo oral surgery. That’s why all the aquariums in dentists’ offices! Think of the behavior Darla in Disney Pixar’s “Finding Nemo” would have exhibited without the fish tank. Other research shows that pet owners have significantly lower blood pressure and heart rate both before and while performing stressful mental tasks — like, say, performing a family intervention or supervising kids’ homework. Finally, persons recovering from heart attacks recover more quickly and survive longer when there is a pet at home. It seems as though their mere presence is beneficial. Pets are like riveting movies and books. They take us out of our heads and into another reality – one that only involves food, water, affection, and maybe an animal butt – for as long as we can allow. I’ve found distraction to be the only effective therapy when you’ve hit a point where there is no getting your head back. It’s tough to ruminate about how awful you feel and will feel forever when your dog is breathing in your face.
In addition to medical benefits, assisting with daily activities and working with us, animals can help us emotionally, psychologically, and socially. They help us:
Adjust to serious illness and death
Children often turn to their pet for comfort if a friend or family member dies or leaves the family. Grieving adults who did not have a close source of human support were also found to have less depression if they had a pet.
Be less anxious and feel more safe
Pet owners tend to feel less afraid of being a victim of crime when walking with a dog or having a dog in the home.
Relax and reduce everyday stress
Pets can help us relax and focus our attention away from our problems and worries. We do not even need physical contact to appreciate this. Watching fish in an aquarium, or the activity of birds can be very soothing. Of course many of us with dogs and cats find ourselves absent-mindedly petting them, which is relaxing for both us and the pet.
Have physical contact
This ability to have something to touch and pet is very important. More and more studies show how important touch is to our physical and emotional health.
Lift our mood
Pets decrease our feelings of loneliness and isolation by providing companionship to all generations. Certainly for residents of nursing homes this is true, but it is also true for the staff and volunteers there as well.
Residents of nursing homes are more apt to smile, talk, reach out to people and objects, be attentive and alert, and experience a greater sense of well-being and less depression if animals are present in the facility.
Feel less lonely
Pets can help ease the sense of loneliness or isolation we feel.
Have something to care for
Everyone needs to feel needed and have something to care for. Many elderly citizens or people living alone will tell you their pet gives them a reason for living.
Having a pet can help us remain more active. We may not only get more exercise from walking a dog, but we also increase our activity through feeding, grooming, and otherwise caring for our pet.
Pets provide some consistency to our lives. Caring for a pet can significantly affect our routine and gives us something to do and look forward to each day. People may come and go, but our pets are pretty much with us day in and day out.
Have more and better social interactions
Families surveyed before and after they acquired a pet reported feeling happier after adding a pet to the family.
A study in a Veteran’s Hospital showed that the residents had more verbal interactions with each other when a dog was present in the room than when there was no dog present. Dogs were also shown to increase socialization among persons with Alzheimer’s disease in a Special Care Unit of a nursing home.
Residents in long-term care facilities were more likely to attend activity sessions when an animal was going to be present.
Pets can greatly influence how we feel about ourselves and life in general. They are teachers and healers of extraordinary talent.
Small businesses are usually seen as fragile and more likely to be unsuccessful, especially when compared to established enterprises. When you add in unpredictable economic climates and rapidly changing consumer trends, it may seem almost impossible for small businesses to survive.
However, despite having a small customer base, a small team of employees and small marketing budgets, a small business has many advantages over larger corporations.
Here are a few ways to use the small size of your business to your advantage:
Provide highly personalised service
It is much easier for a small business to provide very specific, personalised and swift service to each customer. This is one major way of differentiating your brand and attracting loyal consumers. There is no ‘mass-produced’ service as such, meaning each customer will get exactly what he or she wants. Such customised service is no doubt what most modern-day consumers seek, and one can easily build an excellent client base by focusing on such.
Quickly change strategies to suit sudden changes in trends
Large corporations usually have a long bureaucratic process to have changes implemented. A small business, on the other hand, can plan and implement changes in a few hours, if they so wish. Such quick turnaround time can be crucial for ‘striking while the iron is still hot’, capturing opportunities, responding to imminent threats and so forth.
Leverage a leaner structure
This allows for your whole team to work closely together, and know what each member is engaging in, etc. Such cohesiveness makes it easier to communicate and implement strategies quickly and a lot more effectively. Customers will also be able to get their goods or services much faster; in other words productivity or output levels will be enhanced.
Create employment for the local communities
Small businesses have been known to help the people around them, through creating employment and fostering a higher quality of life for local individuals and dependant households. Larger businesses may look further afield to employ ‘the best’, but a small business will look closer to home to utilise existing skills or recruit and develop employees through training programmes. This also creates positive sentiment surrounding the brand, and can also feature as part of a CSR plan. This ultimately means existing clients are likely to want to continue doing business with you, and that new clients will also be attracted to such a brand.
Contrary to the belief of many, small businesses do in fact possess several noteworthy advantages over their larger competitors. Their flexibility in governance, operations and strategies afford them an uncanny ability to react as and when needed to shifting economic, social and political changes. The personalised touch for consumers that smaller businesses present, the tightness of their core teams, and their keenness on community-based recruitment, all allow for various synergies and strategic benefits that actually enable smaller entities to maintain unique competitiveness in the face of massive competition. (NSBC)