Financial Stress and your Family

Financial Stress and your Family

17 April 2018

School fees, credit cards, groceries, utilities… are you behind on bills? The current economic situation is affecting everyone, but we know that when your family is struggling, that’s no consolation.

According to a Sanlam Benchmark Survey, seven out of ten middle- and upper-income earners are experiencing financial stress right now. True, most of us experience the emotional impact of money at some point in our lives, but studies have found that chronic financial stress can be “contagious” – having a detrimental effect on those around us. In fact, research shows that finances are cited as one of the top reasons for a breakup, and it gets even more challenging when kids are in the picture. The strain and the stress of debt and the struggle to make ends meet is exhausting!

Here’s the good news: There’s always hope when money is tight. Even if you don’t have much money you can be financially “healthy”. Financial health doesn’t have as much to do with your net worth as you might think; it has much more to do with being unified in your financial plans with your family.

So, let’s outsmart financial stress by implementing a few rock solid financial principles:

Take a “team” approach. As a couple you need to develop goals that are acceptable to both of you, otherwise you’ll have endless arguments about money. Budgeting isn’t enough since it focuses on how you should spend on whatever you make. You need to think about growing your income as a couple so you can afford the things you want in the future.

Have a budget and stick to it. It doesn’t matter how much money you earn, if you don’t have a budget, you won’t be able to move forward financially.

Know your numbers. You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Use a spreadsheet or an online budget/money tracker to start measuring your outgoings.

Get the kids involved. Explain the situation in a simplified, positive way for kids to understand. Discuss wants and needs so everyone is on the same page. Make them feel they are contributing and that their opinion matters.

Spend less than what you earn.

Talk to each other before making major purchases.

Don’t buy what you can’t afford. If the only way you can buy an item is on your credit card, then that’s a good sign that you can’t afford it.

Sleep on it. We are inclined to spend more when we’re emotional. So, next time you’re about to buy an expensive dress – take a night to sleep on it first, you might feel different in the morning.

Get rid of debt. Gaining debt is like gaining weight, it can add up fast and can get tough to get rid of! It can be a challenge, but it can be done.

Set up an emergency fund. Start by putting away, say, R300 a month for unexpected expenses.

Seek help. If you feel overwhelmed and can’t control your spending, seek help from a financial adviser or debt counsellor.

When a couple is financially healthy, it can bring a tremendous amount of peace to the relationship.

So, bring your family closer by making sound financial decisions together. You can do this!


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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