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Updated 13 July 2011

9 items for your worry list

Worrying can make you sick – yes, really. Your mother-in-law, your boss, your bank manager, your husband’s pretty secretary – they all occupy time and energy.

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We worry about lots of unnecessary things. Each person has their own favourite worry list. You know what yours is.

So what are the things that are really worth worrying about and doing something about?

Your pension provisions. According to insurance company statistics, staggeringly few South Africans have made adequate provisions for their retirement. And let’s face it, it’s not possible to survive on the government pension, especially if you’re out there on your own.

Your children and drugs. Your kids probably know more about drugs than you do – possibly much more. Do you know what they really get up to when they go out with friends on a Friday night? Get to know the signs and symptoms of drug use, but more importantly, spend time with your kids and establish good relationships with them. This will probably be the best deterrent.

Your home security. Check whether your home is really a secure place for your family. Are there windows that can be opened easily by intruders? Do you have security gates on all the doors? Is there a decent alarm system with armed response? Or if you are in a security block, how sure are you that those with criminal intent will not be able to gain access to the block?

Life insurance. This is only really necessary if you have a family or if you have a lot of debt. But in the unfortunate event of a bus running you over today, in what sort of financial shape would your family be left? At the risk of sounding like one of those ghastly infomercials, do you really want to add real financial hardship to your family's woes? Life insurance, for say R500 000, will not be that expensive and will make a real difference.

Your health. Eating healthy foods, getting some exercise, not smoking, getting regular sleep and going for a checkup every now and then – these 5 things will go a long way towards preventing many possible diseases, such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart problems, to name but a few.

Your spending habits. If you are overspending on your salary by even 5% per month, within a few months, a tidy sum of debt will have accumulated. Debt eats into your future earnings as high interest accumulates. Get rid of debt as soon as possible – do whatever it takes, short of selling drugs or all your furniture. Get some savings together for that rainy day when your car breaks, or you suddenly need to spend R480 on having the vet fix Fluffy’s leg.

Medical insurance. Even just a hospital plan will take the edge off if you’re suddenly involved in a car accident and end up spending three weeks in ICU. And let’s face it, while some government hospitals are fine, there are others that are best steered clear of.

Your marriage. Almost half of marriages in South Africa end in the divorce courts. While not advocating that you lie awake endlessly, worrying about whether this is where yours will end, there is no point in being complacent. Work at a marriage that is worth it – service it like you would a car. Go and see a marriage counsellor, even if it is just to make sure everything is OK.

Your job security. Gone are the days when people worked for the same company for 45 years, working their way up from the mailroom to the position of CEO. Companies close down or downsize (the euphemism for retrenching/firing) and you have to make sure that your skills are up-to-date in whichever field you are. If you are skilled in more than one field, you are also more employable. Check out your freelance possibilities, and above all, make sure that you have at least three months' salary saved to see you through a possible patch of unemployment. – (Susan Erasmus, Health24)

(Picture: Worried woman from Shutterstock)

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