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Johannesburg – Getting into a savings habit now could help to set young people up for a lifetime of savings and financial independence.

South Africans are, therefore, encouraged to start saving early, even if they start small.

“Whether you are working towards a specific goal or building an emergency fund, there’s only one secret to saving: The longer you save and the more you save, the better the result,” says Aneesa Razack, head of strategic growth at FNB Savings & Investments.

The reason that the length of time you save is so important is thanks to compound interest. This means that you earn interest on your interest and the longer you save, the more you earn and the harder your money works for you.

“Just like getting fit or eating healthy, small changes that you can build on are the keys to success. Small sacrifices and lifestyle changes today, will lead to great gains down the line,” says Razack.

Don’t be put off saving if you have not yet found your first job. Curbing your spending – say, skipping an extra airtime top-up each month – and then saving that money cleverly can make a big difference.”

Another reason to start early is to take advantage of the government’s tax-free allowance and use a tax-free savings account – which has not age restrictions. This will enable you to save for the short to medium-term with a tax-free cash deposit and invest long-term with a tax-free shares account.