Thirteen million South Africans are showing evidence of
financial insecurity, according to a recent survey. A further five million are
unable to meet their debt repayments.
These are some of the findings of the 11th annual FinScope
SA consumer survey.
According to a further poll (Associated
Press-AOL Health), when people are dealing with mountains of debt, they're
much more likely to report health problems such as severe depression and even
Many users raise the issue of money, stress and anxiety on
Health24’s Expert forums, as can be seen in this post from a user who calls her
financial situation "depressing". Read the whole post here.
“It is not abnormal for people to feel ill and experience
physical symptoms, as the consequences of debt stretch beyond money and start affecting one's mental and emotional well-being” says debt expert Moeshfieka Botha from Credit Matters Debt Counselling.
The most commonly reported symptoms of depression are listed here. Take this test to assess if you are headed towards depression.
To avoid depression and its associated symptoms, Botha
cautions against exceeding Christmas budgets, as “South Africans tend to
spend more impulsively during this time of year".
“Exceeding your Christmas budget could lead to high
levels of emotional and financial stress in January,” she says.
She added that thinking rationally and limiting extravagant
buying are crucial to ensuring financial and mental wellness.
Gaining peace of mind
Botha gives the following advice to indebted consumers to reduce anxiety related to bad debt:
where you stand
For people to gain peace of mind with regard to their
financial situation, it is important that they become proactive and contact the
credit bureau to find out what their outstanding debt is.
a plan in place
Once people know what they owe, they can draw up a realistic
budget to manage their debt.
It often happens that people don’t stick to their budget
plan, and soon find themselves back on the emotional and financial
roller coaster. It is important to follow through with your plan.
“Discipline is vital to minimising debt and reducing stress
levels related to your finances,” Botha says.
(Picture: Stressed woman from Shutterstock)