Relationship between Financial Literacy Variables and Materialism of Millennials in a Selected South Africa Municipality


  • Hein Fielies North-West University
  • Ifeanyi Mbukanma Walter Sisulu University


Millennials; Financial Literacy; Money Attitude; Materialism; South Africa


Purpose: This study's objective was to statistically ascertain the relationship between financial literacy variables and materialism of millennials in the Phokwane Local Municipality, South Africa. This objective was motivated based on the gap in the literature as it concerns how financial literacy relates to millennial materialism in South Africa. Method: A quantitative research method was adopted with a focus target population of millennials (ages 22 to 44 years old) in Phokwane Local Municipality using purposive and convenient sampling techniques. A self-administered questionnaire through google form was used to obtain responses from the participants, and the study conducted an inferential (Pearson Correlation) statistical analysis using SPSS Version 26. Findings: The study revealed that all the financial literacy variables are strongly positively correlated except money attitude with negative correlation. The implication of the positive correlation indicates that the more knowledge the millennial has with one financial literacy variable, the more they tend to have in other variables except for their attitude towards money, which partly define their personality as millennials. Secondly, the relationship between money management, financial planning, financial products, savings, and investment is negatively correlated with millennials' materialism. This negative correlation indicates that even though millennials are financially literate, they are still materialistic. Recommendations: Policymakers and stakeholders in charge of financial literacy and savings campaigns in South Africa should focus more on the initiatives that promote the application and implementation of financial literacy knowledge and financial discipline by millennials and other active members of South African households.    


Andereck, K.L. (2017). Inferential analysis of data. Research methods for leisure, recreation and tourism, (Ed. 2), 269-283.
Bidoli, M. & Morobane, F. (2017). Student protests. Date of access: 21 Aug. 2021.
Botha, E. (2019). How millennials are changing the future of financial services. The New World Order Investment Outlook 2019. Old Mutual, 2019, 48-49.
Bujang, M. A., Omar, E. D., & Baharum, N. A. (2018). A review on sample size determination for Cronbach's alpha test: a simple guide for researchers. The Malaysian journal of medical sciences: MJMS, 25(6), 85.
Cappetto, M., & Tadros, E. (2021). The impact of materialism, counselling, and financial status on physical health. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 2021, 1-19.
Cranmer, S.J., Leifeld, P., McClurg, S.D. & Rolfe, M. (2017). Navigating the range of statistical tools for inferential network analysis. American Journal of Political Science, 61(1), 237-251.
Creswell, J.W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. 4thed, Sage publications.
De Bassa Scheresberg, C. & Lusardi, A. (2014). Financial capability among young adults. Date of access: 29 Sept. 2020.
de Klerk, N. (2020). Influence of Status Consumption, Materialism and Subjective Norms on Generation Y Students' Price-Quality Fashion Attitude. International journal of business and management studies, 12(1), 163-176.
Deloitte. (2019). The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019. Date of access: 29 Sept. 2020.
Deloitte. (2021). The Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and Gen Z survey. Date of access: 08 Sept. 2021.
Dewi, V.I., Febrian, E., Effendi, N., Anwar, M. & Nidar, S.R. (2020). Financial literacy and its variables: The evidence from Indonesia. Economics & Sociology, 13(3),133-154.
Duh, H.I. (2011). Money attitudes and materialism amount generation Y South African: A life-course study. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University PhD Thesis.
Duh, H.I. & Struwig, M. (2015). Justification of generational cohort segmentation in South Africa. International Journal of Emerging Markets, 10(1), 89-101.
Emeagwali, S.N. (2011). Millennials: Leading the charge for change. Techniques: Connecting Education and Careers, 86(1), 22-26.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. (2020). Accounting for age: the financial health of millennials. Regional Economist. Date of access: 29 September. 2020.
Galal, S. (2021). Distribution of female-headed households in South Africa 2019, by province. Statista. Date of access: 04 Sept. 2021.
Garðarsdóttir, R.B. & Dittmar, H. (2012). The relationship of materialism to debt and financial well-being: The case of Iceland's perceived prosperity. Journal of Economic Psychology, 33(3), 471-481.
Goldman Sachs. (2021). Millennials coming of age. Date of access: 11 Aug. 2021.
Hayes, J., Parks, C., McNeilly, S., & Johnson, P. (2018). Boomers to millennials: Generational stereotypes at work in academic librarianship. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 44(6), 845-853.
Horovitz, B. (2012). After Gen X, Millennials, what should next generation be? USA Today, 4 May. Date of access: 14 Aug. 2021.
Howe, N. & Strauss, W. (2000). Millennials rising the next great generation. Z-Library eBooks. Date of access: 14 Jul. 2021.
Iannello, P., Sorgente, A., Lanz, M., & Antonietti, A. (2021). Financial well-being and its relationship with subjective and psychological well-being among emerging adults: Testing the moderating effect of individual differences. Journal of Happiness Studies, 22(3), 1385-1411.
Jacobs, G. & Smit, E. (2010). Materialism and indebtedness of low-income consumers: Evidence from South Africa's largest credit granting catalogue retailer. South African Journal of Business Management, 41(4), 11-33.
Joseph, J. (2018). Money lessons we can learn from millennials. Moneyweb. Date of access: 28 Sept. 2020.
Klapper, L., Lusardi, A. & Van Oudheusden, P. (2020). Financial literacy around the world: Insights from the S&P global finlit survey. Date of access: 08 Apr. 2021.
Knoetze, J.J. (2018). Marginalised millennials: Conversation or conversion towards a Christian lifestyle in South Africa? HTS Teologiese Studies/ Theological Studies, 74(3), 1-7.
Krejcie, R.V. & Morgan, D.W. (1970). Determining sample size for research activities. Educational and psychological measurement, 30(3), 607-610.
Kurian, S., Somaiya, A., Barrons, C., Olowe, T., Dosu, L., Curtis, T. & Urban, M. (2017). Meet the Millennials. Date of access: 24 Aug. 2021.
Lappeman, J., Egan, P., Rightford, G. & Ramogase, T. (2021). Marketing to South African consumers. Cape Town: UCT Liberty Institute of Strategic Marketing & UCT Libraries.
Leslie, B., Anderson, C., Bickham, C., Horman, J., Overly, A., Gentry, C., & King, J. (2021). Generation Z Perceptions of a Positive Workplace Environment. Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, 33(3), 171-187.
Lusardi, A. & Mitchell, O.S. (2014). The economic importance of financial literacy: Theory and evidence. Journal of Economic Literature, 52(1), 5-44.
Lusardi, A. & Oggero N. (2017). Millennials and financial literacy: a global perspective Date of access: 27 Mar. 2020.
Main, D. (2017). Who are the Millennials? LiveScience. Date of access: 30 Nov. 2021.
Martin, T.H. (2018). Investing in Millennials. Date of access: 21 Aug. 2021.
Mbukanma, I. (2019). Structural guideline interfacing financial literacy and savings behaviour of South African households: A study of Tshwane and Mahikeng municipality employees. North-West University PhD Thesis.
Mbukanma, I. & Rena, R. (2018). Conceptualizing Financial Literacy and its Economic Importance towards Personal Savings Knowledge among South Africans. International Conference on Business and Management Dynamics (ICBMD). ISBN: 978-1-928396-17-8. Available at: Date of access: 13 Nov. 2021.
Mbukanma, I. & Rena, R. (2021). Correlation Between Financial Literacy Variables and Household Savings Behaviour in two selected Municipalities in South Africa. International Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation, 2021, 25(3).
Mbukanma, I. & Rena, R. (2022). Significance of Financial Literacy on Personal Savings Behaviour: A study of the City of Tshwane and Mahikeng Municipality Employees. African Journal of Development Studies, 2022, 189-206.
Mchunu, K. (2016). Izikhothane youth phenomenon: the Janus face of contemporary culture in South Africa. African Identities, 15(2), 132-142.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (2021). Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Date of access: 12 Apr. 2021.
Nakagawa, K., & Yellowlees, P. (2020). Inter-generational effects of technology: Why millennial physicians may be less at risk for burnout than baby boomers. Current psychiatry reports, 22(9), 1-7.
Nanda, A. P., & Banerjee, R. (2021). Consumer's subjective financial well‐being: A systematic review and research agenda. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 45(4), 750-776.
Nanziri, E. & Leibbrandt, M. (2018). Measuring and profiling financial literacy in South Africa. South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences, 21(1), 1-17.
Nanziri, L.W. & Olckers, M. (2019). Financial Literacy in South Africa. Cape Town: SALDRU, UCT. (SALDRU Working Paper Number 242 Version 1/ NIDS Discussion Paper 2019)
Ngubelanga, A., & Duffett, R. (2021). Modeling mobile commerce applications' antecedents of customer satisfaction among millennials: An extended tam perspective. Sustainability, 13(11), 5973.
Nishina, K., Kawamura, H., Okamoto, K. & Takahashi, T. (2018). Monitoring and Diagnosis of Causal Relationships among Variables. In Frontiers in Statistical Quality Control, 12, 175-184. Springer, Cham.
Omarjee, L. (2021). SA's unemployment rate hits record 34.4% Fin24, 24 Aug. Date of access: 24 Aug. 2021.
Omilion-Hodges, L.M. & Sugg, C.E. (2019). Millennials' views and expectations regarding the communicative and relational behaviours of leaders: Exploring young adults' talk about work. Business and Professional Communication Quarterly, 82(1), 74-100.
Oxford Learners' Dictionary. (2021). Oxford Learners' Dictionary Date of access: 12 Apr. 2021.
Pangestu, S. & Karnadi, E.B. (2020). The effects of financial literacy and materialism on the savings decision of generation Z Indonesians. Cogent Business & Management, 7(1), 1-18.
Pew Research Centre. (2010). Millennials confident connected open to change. Date of access: 25 Jul. 2021.
Potrich, A. & Vieira, K. (2018). Demystifying financial literacy: a behavioral perspective analysis. Management Research Review, 41(9), 1047-1068.
Potrich, A., Vieira, K. & Kirch, G. (2015). Determinants of financial literacy: Analysis of the influence of socioeconomic and demographic variables. Revista Contabilidade & Finanças, 26(69), 362-377.
Ravhuhali, F., Netshirembe, I., Nendauni, L., Lavhelani, P.N. & Mboweni, H.F. (2020). The pervasiveness of materialism sensation and its effects on youth behaviour in a small comprehensive South African University. Gender & Behaviour, 18(2), 15282-15292.
Roberts, B., Struwig, J., Gordon, S. & Radebe, T. (2018). Financial Literacy in South Africa: Results from the 2017/18 South African Social Attitudes Survey round. Report prepared by the Human Sciences Research Council on behalf of the Financial Sector Control Authority. Pretoria.
Shields, D.L., Funk, C.D. & Bredemeier, B.L. (2018). Relationships among moral and contesting variables and prosocial and antisocial behaviour in sport. Journal of Moral Education, 47(1), 17-33.
Siedlecki, S. L. (2020). Understanding descriptive research designs and methods. Clinical Nurse Specialist, 34(1), 8-12.
Sirgy, M. J., Yu, G. B., Lee, D. J., Joshanloo, M., Bosnjak, M., Jiao, J., & Grzeskowiak, S. (2021). The dual model of materialism: Success versus happiness materialism on present and future life satisfaction. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 16(1), 201-220.
Smith, T.J. & Nichols, T. (2015). Understanding the Millennials generation. Journal of Business Diversity, 15(1), 39-47.
Sobri, A. Y., Bafadal, I., Nurabadi, A., & Gunawan, I. (2019). Validity and reliability of questionnaire problematics leadership beginner school principals. Thought, 2019(362), 20.
South African Reserve Bank. (2021). Full Quarterly Bulletin – No 301 – September 2021. Date of access: 10 Nov. 2021.
Stats SA. (2018). Education Series Volume VI: Education and labour market outcomes in South Africa, 2018. Date of access: 24 Jul. 2021.
Stats SA. (2020). Economy slips into recession. Date of access: 08 Aug. 2021.
Stein, J. (2013). The me me me generation. Time, May 30. Date of access: 11 Aug. 2021.
Syden, M. (2012). Trends and determinants of household saving in South Africa. Economic Affairs, 56(2), 1-31.
The World Bank. (2020). Covid-19 to plunge global economy into worst recession since World War II. Date of access: 08 Aug. 2021.
Thusi, P., & Maduku, D. K. (2020). South African millennials' acceptance and use of retail mobile banking apps: An integrated perspective. Computers in Human Behavior, 111, 106405.
Timmerman, K. (2015). Millennials and home: Understanding the needs of the Millennial generation in their living environment. Florida State University Master's Thesis).
TransUnion. (2020). 79% of South African consumers say household income negatively impacted by COVID-19. Date of access: 19 Aug. 2021.
van Deventer, M. (2020). African Generation Y students' personal finance behavior and knowledge. Investment Management & Financial Innovations, 17(4), 136.
Vredeveld, A. J. (2021). Materialism and life satisfaction: The moderating roles of alexithymia and product retention tendency. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 45(1), 106-118.
Wang, M.J., Song, L.P., Song, B.L., Du, Q.R., He, X.X. & Bai, X.J. (2017). Correlation Analysis of Resilience, Defense Mechanism and Depression in Patient with Depression. China J. Health Psychol, 25, 165-168.
Weinberg, S.L. & Abramowitz, S.K. (2016). Statistics Using IBM SPSS: An Integrative Approach. Cambridge university press.
Winck, Ben. (2020). "IMF economic outlook: 'Great Lockdown' will be worst recession in century". Business Insider. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
Winograd, M. & Hais, M.D. (2011). Millennial momentum how a new generation is remaking America. Available from Ebook Central: Date of access: 24 Jul. 2021.
Xu, H. & Deng, Y. (2018). Dependent evidence combination based on shearman coefficient and pearson coefficient. IEEE Access, 6, 11634-11640.
Zhang, Y., Hawk, S. T., Opree, S. J., De Vries, D. A., & Branje, S. (2020). "Me", "we", and materialism: Associations between contingent self-worth and materialistic values across cultures. The Journal of psychology, 154(5), 386-410.