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Financial freedom: Women must put their own needs before those of others

By Time of article published Aug 31, 2021

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RANDS AND SENSE:

By Dr Dominique Stott

Your mental health is directly linked to the health of your finances, and vice versa. When we are in a sound frame of mind, we make healthier decisions and are able to better safeguard ourselves against bad financial decisions. In the same way, bad financial decisions can cause stress and hinder our mental state, making us unable to function in other constructs of our lives.

That's why “self-care” is no longer a buzzword for the wellness sector, it’s a vital part of Liberty’s financial advice philosophy.

There are many demands on women; keeping their jobs, children in school, paying bills and staying safe. The responsibility of being the sole provider can take its toll. At the same time, we need to empower women to plan financially. They make up a large proportion of single parent families in South Africa and are often caretakers in their families. According to the Human Sciences Research Council in 2020, 40% of mothers in SA are single parent families.

Mental self-care, she says, means ensuring that your own needs are met, so you can meet the needs of others. Taking the time to prioritise safeguarding one’s mental health is essential; for some, it may be seeking therapy, strengthening support structures, or even just taking time for yourself. For others it’s getting the help of a financial adviser to help you think things through when the pressure mounts.

Mental capacity and making time for recovery from life’s demands through self-care helps us plan our finances with a sound mind and keep our affairs in order. They’re inextricably linked, and we can’t ignore our frame of mind when budgeting, purchasing insurance or investing.

A financial plan should be the foundation for any woman seeking to be financially independent and it’s encouraged to plan finances in a healthy frame of mind as mental wellness allows us to understand where financial shortfalls in savings and insurance need to be addressed.

Working women take on so many tasks, trying to fit everything into a normal working day. Taking a breathing space for an hour at the end of a day can help enormously to balance the demands between the work and family fronts. For some it may be that after working a full day at the office, we go home, and 'work' starts all over again.

It is therefore important to prioritise self-care, take time out and take care of your personal growth when your mind has had a moment to recover from the hustle and bustle of work and family life.

Dr Dominique Stott is Chief Medical Officer at Liberty

PERSONAL FINANCE

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