WHY is it so harder for single women to live within their means than any other group?
Analysis of DebtBusters’s national client base shows that single women in debt counselling have accumulated more unsecured debt than single men in the same position.
Unsecured debt is the loan and credit agreements that do not have a collateral asset, such as a house or car, that waits as cover for any debt left unpaid.
Being single means a person who is either not married or married out-of-community of property.
Couples married in community of property must submit their applications for debt counselling alone.
Data show that out of all the debt that single females getting debt counselling, 71% of their debt is unsecured while only 55% of debt belonging to single males is unsecured.
Out of the 71% unsecured debt single women have, only 26% of the unsecured debt is owed to retail store accounts.
This flies in the face of the stereotype that women spend uncontrollably and can’t handle credit responsibly.
Instead, the majority of the unsecured debt belonging to single women is attributed to other types of unsecured debt such as personal loans, payday loans and credit card debt.
The data indicate single women use these types of loans because they run out of money before month end and are forced to use unsecured credit to make ends meet.
Explanations include women earning less than men for the same job as well as the fact that many single women are single mothers who have other mouths to feed and clothe.
Last year, South Africa was ranked 19 in a global index of gender inequality released by the World Economic Forum. The report found that the gender wage gap in South Africa has increased. According to the report, full gender equality is not expected until two centuries in the future.
It is important for women to be informed about their personal finances and what options are available for them.
Even offering people the basics, such as a little bit of budgeting advice, can help a lot.
Women need to be made aware that personal and payday loans are offered at higher interest rates, which being with them horrible interest-bearing headaches to women’s future finances.
For free financial advice visit www.debtbusters.co.za.