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What scares you about your finances?

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Halloween horrors are not only about witches and werewolves, ghosts and ghouls. Many people are anxious about their finances, either with real fears about their current situation, or imagining what could go wrong in the future.

If money matters keep you up at night or make you break out in a cold sweat, know that you are not alone.

Personal finance website JustMoney spoke to some of their readers about their financial fears. The information below may resonate with you, and help to address your own concerns.

Tip: Watch this video to see what JustMoney readers said about their financial fears.

Mohammad, 30 years old, says he’s worried about his future savings. He’s concerned that he might not have money available to support himself and his family as he gets older. 

Tip: According to John Manyike, head of financial education at Old Mutual, you can build financial security by being a saver and a planner instead of a spender. He says you need to do five things to achieve this goal: create a budget, pay yourself first, pay off your debt, pay in cash, invest correctly, and protect what you’ve built up.

“Instead of spending your bonus or a financial windfall, put it in a savings account where it can work for you,” says Manyike.

READ MORE: Which savings accounts offer the best interest rates?

Siphe, a 29-year-old mother of two, says she doesn’t want her children to inherit the fallout from any financial mistakes she might make. Her dream is to ensure that her children never experience any money problems that she and her partner might experience.

Tip: One way to ensure that your kids don’t experience your financial difficulties is to educate them about finances. Another way to ensure that they’re protected when you’re no longer here is by taking up life cover. Life cover ensures that your children’s education is paid for, and that they can still enjoy quality of life when you’re no longer around.

Another important thing to do for your family and children is to have a properly drafted will. This will help you ensure that your assets are distributed fairly to your kids.

“When it comes to getting your finances in order, everyone should start with a will. It is the building block for ensuring your financial legacy, but it is often neglected because we don’t want to think about our death,” says Zale Hechter, CEO of Cliqtech, the creators of SmartWill.

He says a will allows your wishes to be made known and followed after you pass on.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about wills

For 31-year-old Chad, not reaching his financial goals is what he dreads the most.

Tip: You can reach your financial goals with proper planning. According to Alex Cook, CEO at GCI, financial planning to achieve your goals starts with defining your purpose and planning to achieve it. This includes shorter-term objectives like holidays and sending your children to university, and long-term goals like making sure your money does not run out before you die, leaving you poor, and a burden to others.

Cook says you can achieve your dreams by reducing spending on luxuries or reassessing your spending patterns to increase savings and investments.

Sumare, a 26-year-old reader, says having to be responsible for all the household debt and expenses is frightening. Her husband is facing retrenchment and that situation might be too much for her to bear.

Tip: Retrenchment can be devastating for a family. However, you can protect yourself by taking out credit life insurance. This type of cover can help you pay off your debt while you look for another job. Do check with your current credit providers first, as this cover does come automatically with certain loans and credit.

“A lot of South African families spend years paying off their debt in these situations, unaware that they have insurance in place to cover what they’ve borrowed,” says Nkazi Sokhulu, founder of Yalu Credit Life Insurance.

He says every family should be aware of, and understand, credit life insurance.

READ MORE: You may be paying for credit life cover – and you’re entitled to use it.

For Denver, a 29-year-old man who is living with a health-compromised mother, being unable to give her money when emergency strikes is the scariest thing when he thinks about his finances. He says he’s the eldest of three children and the sole provider, as his mother is unemployed.

Tip: According to Madri Jacobs, a financial planner at Sanlam, when you’re taking care of your parents and siblings financially, you need to determine the needs of your dependants, then look at how you can finance them, but never forget your own needs. He recommends that you also talk to your siblings about how to share the financial responsibility of looking after your parents.

“Have frank, loving conversations with your parents too. Sometimes arrangements can be made where you assist your parents but set up an agreement for repayment, for example, out of their estate (supposing that funds are available). It is grim to think about it, but try to look at it objectively. Having said this, ensure that all family members’ wills are up to date,” says Jacobs.

Ameera, a 25-year-old woman, says that sometimes life can leave you with no option but to take up debt. She says she’s scared that debt might become too much of a burden for her to carry.

Tip: Debt is not necessarily a bad thing. It can help you achieve your dreams. Always remember if you’re going to profit from your debt, it’s good debt. If not, it’s best to think twice.

Once you’ve taken up debt you must learn to manage it well. If you skip payments, matters can get out of hand and lead to over-indebtedness. But don’t fret, if you struggle to pay it off,  there’s a programme called debt counselling that can help you ease the burden.

As an avid saver, Rick, a 30-year-old man, says when expenses go way over his budget, he becomes wary. He says the thought of having no money to save freaks him out.

Tip: According to Kenosi Magosha, head of client solutions savings at Sanlam, budgeting should include adopting frugal spending habits and avoiding impulsive spending (which can be stress-induced) to help stretch your funds and possibly free up money for any emergencies.

“Zone in on your bank statement and your shopping list to understand and manage your spending habits better,” says Magosha.

Kendra, a 24-year-old reader, says she fears she will always be anxious about her finances but there are ways to ensure a better financial future.

Speaking to a trusted financial adviser can help you take charge of your money matters. In the same way that a fitness trainer at the gym can help you to achieve your goals, a financial advisor can support you with the expertise and motivation to plan for the future. Here are ten tips on what to look for when choosing a reputable financial advisor.

JustMoney Commercial Manager Sarah Nicholson says, “While financial fears and anxieties are very real for most of us, there is plenty of help at hand so that you can make informed decisions and get on top of your money worries.

“If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by cash concerns, it’s a huge relief to put a plan into action, knowing that your financial fears shouldn’t come back to haunt you.”

You can access plenty of free information on the JustMoney website. It offers articles, budgeting tools, online calculators, guides and a full range of financial products and services from reputable providers. For advice you can bank on, access the website here.

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