Money and Markets

SA's women are more stressed than men when it comes to money, new data shows

Business Insider SA
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
  • South Africans with financial worries are most concerned about running out of money before the end of the month, according to DebtBusters' Money-stress Tracker.
  • This is especially true for women, who indicated higher levels of financial stress than their male counterparts.
  • These higher levels of stress among women extend to work life, home life, and health.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Women in South Africa are more stressed about money than their male counterparts are, according to a recent survey gauging financial concerns amid rising inflation.

When it comes to financial worries, South Africans are most concerned about running out of money before the end of the month, according to DebtBusters' Money-stress Tracker. Unlike previous surveys compiled by South Africa's largest debt counselling service, the Money-stress Tracker, unveiled on Tuesday, relied on respondents who had visited the website but were not yet in active debt counselling.

Of the 14,000 responses recorded in June and early July, 70% indicated financial stress. Half of all respondents indicated that running out of money before the end of the month was a major concern, while 36% cited debt repayment struggles. Worryingly, 72% of all respondents need 30% or more of their take-home pay to repay debt, "indicating an unsustainable debt position".

Levels of financial stress are significantly higher among women, according to the data gleaned from DebtBusters' Money-stress Tracker.

Where 73% of women indicated that they felt anxious or stressed about finances, 65% of men indicated the same. Work-life stress among women was recorded at 44%, compared to 36% among men. Similar findings, indicating higher levels of stress among women, were recorded at home and for health.

"One of the rising challenges that women are facing is that they are becoming women-headed households, where they have to now care for the kids, care for the household expenses, and utilising extended family and friends to assist in any way they can," Nosiphiwo Nxawe, manager of payments at DebtBusters, told Business Insider SA during a report on the Money-stress Tracker's findings on Tuesday.

"This highlights the burden that comes with the critical role women play in South African society and is something to consider as we approach Women's Day."

Women respondents were 20% more likely than men to struggle to pay off monthly debt and 50% more likely to battle with school fee payments, according to the Money-stress Tracker. The highest levels of financial stress were also recorded among those under 25 years old and earning between R6,000 and R12,000 a month.

As one of the main financial worries cited by respondents, growing levels of debt, especially among older age groups, have become "highly unsustainable".

The most severe debt repayment pressure is being felt by those in the 35 to 44-year-old age group, where almost 80% of respondents spend 30% or more of their take-home pay for debt repayments. DebtBusters advises that consumers should not be spending more than 30% of their take-home pay on debt repayments, and at 50%, this becomes "highly unsustainable".

The biggest share of "highly unsustainable" debt belongs to those earning between R20,000 and R35,000 a month, described by the head of DebtBusters, Benay Sager, as the "backbone of what we consider the middle class in South Africa". A total of 46% of respondents in this category reported paying 50% or more of their take-home pay to settle debts.


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