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Are You Financially Distressed?

By Agnes Hove:



In South Africa fuel prices have been steadily rising and economists have advised the nation to prepare for more price increases across the board. This is not only a South African trend. All over the continent, Africans have to contend with a higher cost of living and this begs the question,” How will we cope?”


Are you financially distressed? Does this distress have an impact on your ability to be productive?


Studies 1 show that by receiving money management lessons, individuals are more likely to save, invest, stay out of debt and have more money saved for retirement.


One of the most important issues facing households in South Africa is personal debt. Research shows that South Africans have experienced a troubling increase in the amount of personal debt as compared to personal income. Financial markets have become more complex and individuals are faced with a proliferation of new financial products, most of which are poorly understood. It is difficult to navigate the new financial system and the consequences of mistakes can be devastating.


The challenges of money management are never static, nor are the solutions. For lower income groups the pressure of juggling money never abates as they deal with fixed income, increasing day to day costs and the financial pressures of unexpected life cycle events.


How well equipped are you to make effective financial decisions and how much do you know about finance? Research2 tells us that South Africans spend an enormous percentage of their personal incomes on debt service, with estimates ranging from one-half to three-quarters of income.


Financial education forms the backbone of the process of building knowledge, skills and attitudes for the community to become financially literate. It introduces us to good management practices with respect to earning, spending, saving, borrowing and investing our hard-earned money.


Besides the obvious benefits, financial education also impacts many other areas of our lives. As many are aware, money issues are the leading causes of: stress, relationship strain, unhealthy coping behaviours, divorce and reduces productivity. All of these symptoms of financial illiteracy can affect our emotional state and impact our work and those we care about most.


If you are battling with your finances and feel that you need to develop stronger financial management skills, find a finance management course. The benefits of a financial education include the fact that it boosts financial literacy, helps to build stronger communities and a stronger economy in the future. We need to shift from reactive to proactive financial decision-making and work towards fulfilling our financial goals.


Agnes Hove Chiweshe BBA MSc DipGN is the Chief Executive of Sequor Consulting who provide specialist Legal and Financial wellness services You can contact Sequor Conulting on info@sequor.biz


Resources in South Africa for debt counselling: National Credit Regulator


References:

Financial Literacy Lessons Benefit Students and State http://www.huffingtonpost.com/june-st-clair-atkinson/financial-literacy_b_1971260.html


South Africans are paying 76% of their income on debt – expert http://www.citypress.co.za/business/south-africans-paying-76-income-debt-expert/

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