By Charnel Ernstzen, National Debt Advisors, Chief Executive Officer
As the first female CEO within the top category of debt counselling companies in South Africa, I have made it my personal mission to make a difference in South Africa. To begin this consumer-focused journey, I will first target the inherent need to educate our youth about debt.
Many of our youth learn their financial habits through observation, which results in the lack of intentional moulding of their financial behaviours. This in turn leads to generations that mimic the preferences of their guardians, whether these actions lead to financial stability or not. This, I believe, is the fundamental challenge that if properly addressed, could remedy the financial burden that is bad debt in today’s society.
Education is key. With my vision, and the resources of National Debt Advisors, we aim to educate the youth of today about a variety of fiscal portfolios that could better their financial future. Good debt versus bad debt, how debt is accumulated, and the importance of having a good credit profile are some of the key topics that we believe, if taught, will make an incredible difference in the lives and futures of our youth.
Luckily, habits can be untaught, and so it is therefore our mission to go one step further. Amidst our endeavours to educate the youth of South Africa, we will also embark on education initiatives for our employees, clients, and broader communities. Our goal is to retrain the way our minds think about finance, and empower all within our community to make good decisions that will enable stability within their financial realms.
To begin this journey, here are some tips that can be used to guide financial oversight, whether for yourself, or that of our youth:
- Education on what debt is, is key. Debt being referred to as something borrowed by a lender that must be paid back in a prescribed period.
- Learn how to create a budget, and then use it – This is done by subtracting your expenses from your net income. Should your expenses exceed your net income, this would be an indication that you are over indebted, and you may need to make some lifestyle changes.
- Education on the difference between good debt and bad debt will stand you in good stead to make informed decisions – Good debt is any form of debt that increases your net worth, or that increases in value, for example a mortgage. Bad debt is a debt that depreciates, or alternatively doesn’t add value to your net worth, example a credit card.
- Learn the importance of paying your debt on time – Every payment transaction is recorded with the credit bureau. When payments are paid on time and in full, this reflects positively on your credit report. If you pay late, this will reflect negatively on your credit report. The credit providers thereafter use this information to determine whether to give you further credit or not, thus showing you the importance of those decisions on future financial gain.
- Understand what a credit report is and the importance of maintaining a good credit profile – As mentioned above, credit providers use the information from your credit report to determine whether you will be a high or low risk client. This is determined by a scoring structure, which is established based on your repayment habits.
Join us today in educating our youth and each other, all to contribute towards a brighter and more financially stable future.