It is officially National Women’s Month and, therefore, significant that South Africans celebrate the accomplishments women achieve, and the ongoing progress they make in ALL walks of life. Various organisations, as well as individuals, commemorate South African women this August. And, DebtSafe would also like to share insightful statistics, ideas and tips for mid 20, 30 or 40-something women to uphold their own ‘financial self-care’. This will, in the end, encourage them to be fair and good to themselves when it comes to anything finance related.
Women juggle many fiscal responsibilities on a daily basis and ‘financial self-care’ is not always easy or possible. Here is a statistical glimpse of the challenges that many mid 20 to mid-40-year-old women currently experience:
- According to the latest data (June 2019) from DebtSafe’s FINANCIAL REALITY survey, a total of 56% (of the 25 to 44-year-old female respondents), indicates that their expenses are more than their income.
- Twenty-eight percent (of the women related to this age category) say they spend 20-40% of their take-home pay on their dependents and a total of 26% states they spend between 40-60%.
- Typical expenses for these women include phone/data costs (61%), life insurance/funeral cover investments (54%) and costs for education/studies (44%).
- Sixty percent also highlights that financial stress influences their overall stress levels and 41% indicates it impacts their sleep patterns.
- Their biggest financial worry they experience is that their income does not keep up with inflation (24%).
- And lastly, a total of 64% says they have debt due to the tough economic times they find themselves in, and a total of 48% says they are currently not up to date with their debt payments (mostly related to retail credit and/or loans).
Due to the above indication and monetary picture of 20 to 40-something women, here are four ‘financial self-care’ tips for them (note: not limited to this specific age category) to make sure they get the necessary financial guidance they deserve and in celebration of Women’s Month of course:
1. A minimalistic lifestyle surpasses worldly stuff
It is important for women to not get too much ‘materialistic stuff’ in one run. Yes, a big house, nice furniture, the best tech gadgets, an expensive car and luxurious holidays can make a few heads turn, but when it comes to taking care of their overall health and their budget, less is definitely more. They should, therefore, try and be cautious when it comes to credit or when taking out various agreements at once, as their expenses for lots of ‘worldly stuff’ and things can begin to exceed their income.
2. Beauty from within – avoiding unnecessary self-care spending
In a very opinionated society, women are expected to spend lots of money on their physical appearance these days. What are the extremes they have to keep up with and will go to (note – not saying that they should neglect themselves)? Things like plastic surgery, luxury fashion brands or other expensive products that are needed to upkeep ‘beauty’, to mention but a few. Women need to accept that they are indeed beautiful and worthy. Beauty is only skin-deep, and although self-care is important – it starts from within. Opinions of others tend to fade quite quickly and women should not let their ‘financial self-care’ (sticking to the budget/their hard-earned money) get swallowed up by trends or marketing gimmicks during their own physical self-care process.
3. Personal BUDGET care – keep it simple
The word ‘budget’ may sound like a taboo topic since it can be presumed as ‘too complicated’. But, women should try and keep it basic: nett income – investments – expenditures = the amount they have left for the month / the amount they can add to savings. The following illustration or template is indeed practical to start off with:
4. What to do if the credit/debt burden is too much to bear already…
If 20 to 40-something women find themselves burdened with debt and they need an extra hand – financial planners, the National Credit Regulator (NCR), bankers, coaches and debt counsellors are there to assist. Women have to do their research well and make sure they get the best help to fix their debt problems in a sustainable and regulated manner.
Since South African women are champions in taking care of various things, now is the time to also empower themselves further when managing their money matters. And, to celebrate the progress they make while doing it – they absolutely deserve it. Happy National Women’s Month to them all.