South African Women Strive for Freedom from Debt

7 August 2013

Women’s day commemorates the national march of women, from varied demographics, who petitioned against legislation that implemented pass laws hindering Africans freedom of movement during Apartheid. Today, women still strive for their freedom, but for their freedom from debt.

According Ian Wason of DebtBusters, South Africa’s largest debt management company, “to date we have assisted over 20000 South African consumers, of which 54% are women and 46% are men.”

Women are taking the matter into their own hands and sorting out their debt situation with debt counselling. Debt counselling gets clients talking about their financial situation and provides financial education on money management and budgeting.

Ian Wason adds “when clients come to us they are spending 78% of their net monthly income on their debt repayments, when they need approximately 70% of their net income for living expenses. After we have assessed their finances and have been through the budget process, we reduce their debt repayments down to an average of 30%.”

Ian Wason goes on to state that, “although women are stereotyped as being reckless with money due to consumption, women are usually more responsible with their finances and have a higher intension to manage their funds and to pay off their loans. However, women are generally subjected to various burdens such as supporting dependents and unemployment that may leave them financially worse off.”

Many single mothers fall victim to the ‘sandwich generation’ where they are responsible for not only supporting their children, but their parents and/or other older dependents too. The key findings of the July 2013 Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor states that 21% of their research sample, fits into the ‘sandwich generation’ category.

Due to their maternal instinct, women are more likely to support their children in times of divorce and there is a high correlation between low-income households and single motherhood, generally meaning that single mothers are financially worse off. According to the South African Institute of Race Relations more than 39% of children in South Africa live with their mothers only.

In addition to this, older dependents are living longer and are still in debt once they have retired. According to the 2013 Sanlam Benchmark Survey, 33% of South Africans are still in debt after retirement and a total of 51% are unable to make ends meet once they have stopped working, therefore leaving them to rely on their children for financial support. Ian Wason states that “Women are more likely to find themselves ‘financially squeezed’ and balancing the needs of their parents and children on their own can become extremely difficult.”

Women are also faced with the burden of unemployment, rising cost of living and the effects of the recession, such as expense control and affordability pressure that results in poor money management. Of unemployed South Africans ranging between 15-64 years of age, 28.3% of are female and 23.4% are male. Of working South African women in particular, 53% are single mothers.

Debt is becoming an everyday dilemma across South Africa, for not only women, but men too. DebtBusters is South Africa’s largest debt management company offering South African consumers financial assistance and giving them a second chance to gain a brighter future. For help with your debt situation contact DebtBusters on 0869990606.

Comments are closed.