For the average, employed South African, it is often normal to buy expensive assets on credit. Unfortunately, this can lead to crippling debt which, according to a recent study by Credit Ombud, is one of the main contributors to stress, anxiety and depression.
Velmah Nzembela, group general affairs manager at Assupol, said financial institutions should educate consumers on how to better manage their debt.
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“Good debt is money you borrow to buy assets that increase in value or that can generate a profit in the future, like buying property or taking out a loan for education,” Nzembela said.
“Bad debts, on the other hand, apply to money borrowed to purchase items and consumables that will decline in value in the future.”
Nzembela also advised consumers to refrain from accumulating personal debt.
“In Africa, it is normal for us to provide financial support to our immediate and extended families, often with limited disposable income.
“Unfortunately, this poses a great challenge to saving or reducing debt for a better future. Personal debt reduction takes patience, but every effort makes a difference.
Tips for managing debt
1. Establish a monthly budget.
2. Find and identify the largest amounts you owe your creditors.
3. Contact your bank and creditors and work out a payment agreement.
4. Pay the debts with the highest interest first.
5. Pay your accounts on time.
6. Reduce your impulsive or unexpected expenses.
7. Consider debt consolidation.
8. Beware of scams.
For more budgeting tips, visit www.assupol.co.za/financialliteracydramaseries.
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