Blame it on the Blues
Blame it on the ‘blues’, blame it on stress, blame it on poor health, blame it on debt. Yes it’s true, high levels of debt are often the cause for people’s poor health.
People who are over-indebted go through an emotional rollercoaster ride, commonly starting with denial. They will ignore phone calls from their credit providers, stash away unopened bills, totally underestimate the full extent of their debt and will apply for new credit cards when the old ones have maxed out already.
‘At the right levels, stress creates a heightened sense of awareness and may actually be helpful’
Stress is the body’s response to imminent danger. It’s a flight or fight response. At the right levels, stress creates a heightened sense of awareness and may actually be helpful. However, when people feel incapable of addressing a situation, particularly when they are drowning in too much debt, stress can impact a person’s health. According to the Mayo Clinic, too much stress can lead to ‘headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia, fatigue, stomach upsets, muscle tension and pain to name but a few of the symptoms. Chronic stress can lead to depression.’
The loss of financial control that over-indebted people experience often creates paralysing anxiety and fear. This tends to spill over into their personal life, affecting their performance at work and affecting their relationships with their families and friends. Hiding debt from your spouse and family can be disastrous, particularly in cases where people are married in community of property. If you are married in community of property then all your assets and debt are part of a joint estate. If your partner incurs debt without your knowledge, you are jointly responsible for this debt by law. The faster people acknowledge that they need help the easier it is to untangle the debt web.
The signs that you are heading into a financial spiral are numerous:
- Skipping credit obligations on a monthly basis
- Using one credit card to pay another
- Underestimating how much you owe
- Telling yourself that everyone is in a similar situation
- Having a “you only live once” attitude
- Rationalising impulse purchases
- Obtaining short-term, high interest, loans to pay for daily living expenses
- More than 70% of your salary goes towards servicing debt re-payments
- Numerous letters of demand from creditors clogging your mailbox
- Several Emolument Attachments and or Garnishee Orders
‘The ‘blues’ caused by too much debt can be beaten, but it is dependent on individuals and families making wise decisions and regaining control of their lives’
Taking the first steps towards financial control will immediately alleviate some stress. There are a number of avenues open to over-indebted individuals.
- Draw up a list of all your creditors and calculate how much you owe in total.
- Draw up a budget for the next 12 months and look at ways to reduce your expenses.
- Pay the minimum monthly amounts across all your creditors. If you plan on missing or short paying your creditors, call them in advance and notify them this may prevent legal action and they may agree to more favourable payment terms. Also, you will get fewer creditor phone calls and letters of demand.
- Look at ways to generate more money: sell items you no longer need, obtain an additional part-time job.
- Contact your credit card providers and see if you can negotiate a better interest rate. Even better avoid using your credit cards and if possible cancel them so that you are not tempted to use them.
- If you find that overall your expenses are way over your income it’s a wise idea to consider Debt Review.
The ‘blues’ caused by too much debt can be beaten, but it is dependent on individuals and families making wise decisions and regaining control of their lives. You owe it your health and the health of your family.
In a Nutshell, articles are kindly submitted by DCM NPDA