By Emsie Martin
Although Women’s Month is over, it did not make women’s obligations go away at all. South African women have drive, which comes out strongly in the current challenging times. Women can also join occupational guilds to share challenges in their professions with others.
“South African women are bearing tremendous burdens on their shoulders and I am astounded by the strength they display whenever they are faced by adversity,” says Carla Oberholzer, debt adviser with DebtSafe.
But women should sometimes remember that the energy one spends on ignoring one’s finances (because everything seems and feels pointless) only causes more tension in our life. Gradually implementing a debt management plan will empower you by giving you insight into your finances and showing you how to manage your situation.
DebtSafe recommends the following five steps that women can use to manage their debt successfully:
- Review of financial situation
First get a complete picture of your financial situation (whether it’s good or bad). Take your bank statements of the previous year, examine them (to identify the problem areas) and then decide what position you would rather be in in future.
- Debt-to-income calculation
You can determine your debt-to-income scale by adding all your debts, dividing (÷) it by the income before deductions (gross income), multiplying (x) by 100 and calculating the percentage (%). If the debt ratio is higher than 60% it is a warning sign that indicates that your debts are too high and that you should set about it proactively to fix your debt situation.
- Grade debt as “good” or “bad”
By grading or categorising your debt, you will see which debts have to be cleared first. A housing loan or mortgage (which has a long-term value) could, for instance, be seen as “good” debt as against an expensive credit card with a high interest rate (which does not improve financial wellbeing). The latter must therefore be paid off quickly and first.
- Budget 101
It is imperative to draw up a budget that meets your needs. There are various options that can be used – from cell phone apps to online templates or even the traditional method of keeping a notebook in which you write down all your expenses and draw up your budget in detail.
- Use of budget for efficient debt management
When you draw up a budget you can use it all the time, adapt it as required and also use it to make financial choices from which you will benefit, for instance to start a savings plan or to pay off your debt in the best possible way. A notebook always helps because you can enter the balance on one side and carry it over every month so that you know exactly what is still outstanding. Even though we live with apps nowadays, it is still the best way.
This five-step debt management plan will have an effect not only on your personal life but also a ripple effect that could positively affect the household, family and friends.
Rectify your debt situation by emailing Carla Oberholzer at firstname.lastname@example.org or SMS your name and surname to 30898. (free SMS).
Join one of Solidarity’s occupational guilds to make a difference in your future. A Solidarity Occupational Guild is a community that not only makes you strong in your profession, but it is a community where you feel at home, work together and learn together. It is a community that focuses on protecting the profession, creates career opportunities for young people, acts as a watchdog for the profession and provides workable solutions to challenges. Visit https://gildes.solidariteit.co.za/.