The severity of the international economic recession of 2008 continues to haunt South Africans. This is visible through the unemployment rate which increased from 30.9% to 36.8% in the third quarter of 2017. This state of continuous financial hardship among households in South Africa resulted in growing financial stress and impaired financial wellness.What exactly is financial wellness?
Financial wellness is a continuous process of financial planning and management with the aim of reaching your goals and affording your expenses over your lifetime. To be financially well – and free from financial stress – one should have adequate savings for retirement, sufficient short- and long term insurance, enough money for living expenses and not too much debt. If these conditions are not met, financial stress develops and this negatively impacts a person’s health, which in turn, will have a further negative impact on a person’s finances.

The effects of financial stress
Research shows that on average, financial stress manifests itself in 44% of headaches, 39% of insomnia, 33% of hypertension, 27% of stomach ulcers, 51% of lumbago, 29% of anxiety and 23% of depression cases. Continuous financial stress can lead to conditions such as nausea, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, hives, insomnia, compulsive eating, fatigue, lower back pain, stiff neck and shoulders, chest pains and irritability.

Here are some tips to help you to maintain your financial wellness over the festive season
– Don’t borrow what you can’t afford – if will affect your health.
– You can treat yourself to some goodies, but stay active and don’t overindulge. It will save you          money and calories.
– Make a list of the gifts you want before you go shopping to avoid the holiday euphoria.
– Use cash when you pay and leave your credit card and store cards at home. It is more painful to use cash than cards, which should help curb overspending.
–        Shop earlier in the month when you are not pressed for time so that you can make better decisions.

It is possible to remain financially well and healthy throughout the festive season, you just need to be disciplined. By applying some of these techniques, you can create positive habits that can be carried through to 2018. Visit our financial wellness page to learn more about financial wellness and ways to be rewarded for participating in activities that contribute towards your financial wellness.